Writing for Life & Ministry – Brandon J. O’Brien

Brandon J. O’Brien, Writing for Life & Ministry (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2020), 127 pp.

Pastors and Christian leaders must write – whether they like it or not. Ministry involves the communication, dissemination, and proclamation of truth. Writing is one of the important vehicles that God uses to advance his kingdom purposes.

Brandon J. O’Brien offers a timely guide to help Christian leaders strengthen their writing ministries. His book Writing for Life & Ministry is a short, readable guide that instructs, encourages, and equips a new generation of leaders.

Part 1: The Writer and the Reader

The author establishes the crucial boundaries of writing in part 1. Christian leaders must understand that “writing is fundamentally about two human beings in a relationship: the writer and reader.” He encourages Christian leaders to dig deep and evaluate their motives for writing and the ultimate aim they seek for their readers.

O’Brien challenges ministry leaders to write for themselves. Far from being an egotistical exercise, this admonition is grounded deeply in the gospel with the goal of glorifying God through the vehicle of writing. “Truly great writing,” says the author, “usually emerges from your passion, knowledge, and experience.” With this in mind, writing because of vital aspect of ministry.

Finally, ministry leaders are encouraged to figure out who their audience is. In the end, writing must serve and benefit the reader. Writing must not intentionally offend. It must take into account who the readers are and account for their unique needs. Tones of grace and mercy are essential.

Part 2: The Process

The second half of the book contains the “nuts and bolts” for aspiring writers. The author presents a planning model that includes brainstorming, researching, and outlining. Chapters are included with a wealth of information for each of these areas. Writers are challenged to move through a step-by-step process that fosters organization, creativity, and effectiveness.

Revising is a key part of the writing process. This step is vitally important, according to O’Brien. He cites William Zinsser who adds, “Rewriting is the essence of writing.”


Writing for Life & Ministry is different than other books on this subject. This book has heart and soul. It not only educates; it inspires. Several exercises are included to help writers put the suggested content to good use.

O’Brien includes several recommended resources that are within his grasp and help his writing process. Writing for Life & Ministry will be one of the books that will always have within an arms reach as I continue my writing endeavors.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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