The publication date of the book was set for February 24th, 2015 – and that meant there was much to do in the delivery phase of this new book. I had intentionally chosen to wait several years to write this “Finding Your Way Back To God” until I felt like the book could get the kind of marketing horsepower behind it that an important topic like this deserved. When we got the news from the mother company, Random House in New York that they were excited about the project and would get behind it and support our publisher WaterBrook Multnomah we agreed it was time to write the book.
Jon and I both created new websites to create a platform for marketing this new book. Jimi Allen and Chris Rudd of Bureau Gravity led the way in this creative effort. In addition, they created this landing page that you see to your left. The landing page would serve as the first stop for anything someone wanted to know about the “Finding Your Way Back To God” book. It included links to free samples, endorsements, free church resources and more!
While we were working on websites our publisher was creating an “advance reader copy” (ARC) of the book for us to distribute to influencers and potential endorsers. For about five months whenever I spoke to a group of church leaders the ARC of “Finding Your Way Back To God” would accompany me as a handout. Here is my buddy, Ed Stetzer, who you see holding an ARC of “Finding Your Way Back To God” was kind enough to invite me to Church Planting Leadership Fellowship. This is a gathering of the most influential church planting leaders in the country. I got to talk about movement-making and tell the Community Christian Church and NewThing story. At the end of my talk Ed gave a plug for our new book designed to help people find their way back to God – which he explained as the motivation behind all that we do!
Another one of the groups that received our free ARC of “Finding Your Way Back To God” were leaders of our NewThing tribe. Here are Rob Wegner and Brian Phipps poking some fun at us by pretending like it was a shocking “tell all” book. I kept telling our team, “it doesn’t matter if you write a book if nobody reads it.” So, with that in mind, Jon, myself and WaterBrook Multnomah did all we could to prepare for the delivery of this new book.
While “helping people find their way back to God” has long been my personal mission statement and the mission of the church I lead; the writing of the book, “Finding Your Way Back To God” began here.
You may recognize the two guys on the outside (Jon-left, me-right) but the guy in the middle was a huge help and influence in the conception of Finding Your Way Back To God. David Kopp was our friend, mentor and editor through this process. Starting about seven years ago, David would call me once or twice a year and ask, “Are you ready to write Finding Your Way Back To God?” After one false start five years ago we agreed to do start the process in 2013. This picture is of Jon, David and myself in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago after Kopp flew in to spend a couple days with us to get this book started in the right direction.
We interviewed about twenty-five people who described their journey as “finding their way back to God” so we could hear their story and see if we could find a pattern. We finally settled on the “5 Awakenings” as the path for someone to find their way back to God. But early on we struggled with how many awakenings and what words we should use to describe them. This is one of the early back-of-a-napkin drawings that included six awakenings and wording that is quite different than the final product.
Some good friends of our parents loaned us their condo near the lakefront in Chicago for a week so we could get a lot of writing done. It worked! Jon and I hunkered down and worked five eighteen hour days, and made a lot of progress. This is one of about ten giant post-it sheets covered with little post-its outlining the book. This post-it shows the first three chapters of the book. If you look close and have read the book, you can see that some of our ideas made the final edit and others did not. This kind of brainstorming lots of ideas made sure that we also got the best ideas. I would use this process again.
It was after that week in the Chicago condo that Jon and I had a yellow notebook of more than 60,000 words titled “Finding Your Way Back To God.” This version of the book also had twenty-two chapters. We thought we were done. Wrong! After a few more edits to make this book as readable as possible we eliminated about 15,ooo words and seven chapters. It was tough saying good-bye to all those word, stories and idea, but the book was better off for it!
Look what came in the mail at my home?!? It was very kind of Carrie Freimuth, Vice President of Publishing at WaterBrook Multnomah to send me a personal copy of Finding Your Way Back To God with a the nice note. It has been a genuine pleasure to work with the good people at this publishing group. And I hope her encouragement, “May your message reach multitudes” comes true! That is my earnest prayer. After all, there is no more important message, than helping people find their way back to God.