Is writing a business or ministry?

‘Dear Vanessa,

I have been reading your articles, they have really been helping me with a profession I want to go into, and that’s writing. I have a question that hopefully you will be able to answer. People around me keep saying that writing is my ministry, but I view it as my business, shall I view writing as a business or a ministry. Your help will be appreciated, thanks.’

This is a really good question I received recently. One I have often been asked, and can confuse some aspiring writers, which is why I have decided to address this issue, as to whether writers should see their God given talent as a ministry or business.

To answer this question, let’s look at the definition of a ministry and business. Taken from Google online dictionary a ministry is, ‘the spiritual work or service of a Christian or a group of Christians, especially evangelism.

“A ministry of Christian healing”

synonyms: teaching, preaching, evangelism

“the life and ministry of Jesus”

The definition of a business is, ‘A person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade.

“experts who typically conduct their business over the Internet”

synonyms: work, line of work, line, occupation, profession, career, employment, job, day job, position, pursuit, vocation, calling, field, sphere, walk of life, trade, craft;

Very often I see a lot of Christian’s dispute whether ministries should be making money, as if you are in ministry, based on the definition above and the life of Jesus, a minister should not be making a profit. The only acceptable thing would be to receive an offering/tithe to help pay for the church building or when someone comes to speak, for example, to give a love offering. However when you are in a running a ministry as well as staff, buildings, or events that need to be paid for, the Minister or Pastor also sees this as a profession, which is the definition of a business. This is why many of them write books or use their other talents like music to make profits. That’s why a lot of the time ministry and business do co-exist.

If you want to write professionally and you view your God-given writing gift as a profession then you need to operate this as a business and not a ministry, as it will be your living. Very often I would tell people that The Authors Care Services Ltd; is not a ministry, it is a business, it is even set up as business. Yes I go by Biblical principles, yes I am passionate about my God given talent, but this is my career.

If you view this as a business then you need to get your entrepreneurial skills on and run your writing as a business, as well as producing manuscripts that people want to read.

As an aspiring writer if you want to write and not make any profit from it, then you need to see this as a ministry. It would be better for you to self publish your books, as publishers and literary agents, Christian or not are in this industry as a business and they are looking to make profits.

I have read a lot of aspiring authors, write in their query to me, they are not looking to make money; this is something God gave them to do. Agents and publishers don’t want to read this, it would be better not to approach them with a query like this. This is why many aspiring authors can also get turned down. The truth is this industry wants the business, entrepreneurial authors, and not the author that doesn’t want to make profits and see this as their career path.

To conclude it is down to you how far you want to take your writing gift, I pray that the definition and distinguishing as whether to view writing as a ministry or a business is clear and will help you make an informed decision if this is a career part you want to go down or not.

Happy writing.

With love Vanessa.

One thought on “Is writing a business or ministry?

  • 6th February 2018 at 11:46 pm
    Permalink

    Hello Vanessa,
    Great response to this interesting question. I appreciate your efforts in explaining to writers so that they can make an informed decision.

    Reply

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