By Kathy Ide
In 2004, when God gave me the vision for an organization of Christian editors, my initial response was “What a great idea!” My second response was “But Lord, You know I don’t have time to start one, right?” I had a successful editing business, a family, writers’ conferences to speak at. And bills to pay. I needed to focus my work hours on paying jobs.
God said, “Just start an e-mail loop and tell the editors you know about it.” I had no clue how to start an e-mail loop. But I figured it out. Then I contacted the half dozen editors I knew.
My husband thought I was nuts. “You’re gonna take time away from your own editing business to help other people build theirs?” Well, yeah. Lots of people had helped me learn how to write. But when I decided to start an editing business, I figured out how to do that pretty much on my own, through trial and error. I really wanted to help others by sharing what I’d discovered.
“But,” my hubby said, “if you train other people to do what you do and help them become successful, won’t you lose clients for yourself? You’re risking the editing business you’ve worked so hard to establish. Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
My husband is a wonderful, supportive, encouraging man. But he’s also very practical. (Two engineering degrees … and being a male … will do that.) And since he’s not a Christian, he just didn’t understand my perspective of helping other people with no thought of “what’s in it for me”—other than whatever God may deign to bless me with.
After I set up that e-mail loop, the people I told about it spread the word. And pretty soon, someone asked if she could design a logo for the group. Someone else asked if she could build a website. Others asked if they could start an e-newsletter. Hey, I thought, this was God’s idea in the first place. Please, go for it!
So began The Christian PEN. As we’ve grown, more people have come forward, offering to do all kinds of awesome things for the PEN. As a result, we’ve been able to offer a diverse variety of benefits for aspiring and established freelance editors.
And the really cool thing is … for the most part, the people who’ve made the PEN what it is today have all contributed their time and talents as volunteers. These people give of their time and talents because they believe in the PEN’s goals and because God put a passion in their hearts to help the PEN achieve those purposes.
A few days ago I was talking to my husband about The Christian PEN’s coordinators who run our online courses, the newsletter, the website, PENCON, membership, etc. … and all the people who help the coordinators make those things happen. He shook his head in wonder. “I don’t understand how you find so many people willing to volunteer to put so much into your organization.”
I smiled and shrugged. “That’s how the Christian world works.”
What a testimony!
When God gave me the idea for this group, I got an inkling of all the things the PEN could do for Christian editors and, by extension, for Christian writers. But it never occurred to me that our organization could be a witness to unbelievers.
If you serve as a volunteer for The Christian PEN, or any other Christian organization, be assured that God sees your offering and will bless you—and others—abundantly as a result. Your heart of service is powerful!
Kathy Ide is a published author/ghostwriter, editor/mentor, and writers’ conference speaker. In addition to being the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, she is the editor/compiler for the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. Kathy is the founder and director of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network and the Christian Editor Connection. To find out more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com.