The Intentional Audience

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It seems to me that readers read to “get” and writers write to “give,” and if what is given meets the needs of the “getter,” then both sides win. 

This scenario echoes what Watchman Nee calls “ministry.” He says that with the help of the Holy Spirit we can identify the condition (of the reader, our audience) and then offer the message needed (through our writing).

My writing has become more intentional as I have considered my audience and what their needs might be. I have an audience that I don’t see, but I write to each of them as if I did. I am reaching people I have not met, and yet some of them will hear me. When the voice of the writer finds its way to the ears of the reader, something wonderful happens: the eyes are opened, the heart becomes engaged, memories are awakened, thoughts are ignited, and sometimes lives are changed. 

For this to happen, of course, the writing also needs to be good. Good writing creates images that can be instruments for bringing up memories from the deep places, for opening new possibilities, and for making connections previously overlooked. When I write, I take what I have been given (through creativity), and after looking it over carefully, present it as a gift to my readers. As writers (or speakers, for that matter), we may never know what our words—audible or scripted—have initiated in the hearts of our readers or hearers. It behooves us, then, to be mindful of the power of words and to treat them with the respect each one deserves. If elevating our readers/hearers is our goal as writers, then we would do well to take seriously our task and measure our words by that standard. Words that are unprofitable (without purpose) are wasted words. 

I have a renewed—or maybe just a new urgency to pass on to my audience/readers what I see occurring in the world around us. Each generation needs the connection with the previous one so that our Christian heritage, our national heritage, our very humanity does not go further astray.