You Don’t Create Your Own Breaks
10th in a series: Read Part Nine or Go to Beginning
My fortuitous trip to California for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference landed the first contract for a book I had coauthored that was released by a traditional publisher. While that felt good, a couple of months prior to this trip, I experienced a separate breakthrough with Charisma, one of the nation’s largest Christian magazines.
Now, I had been published a few times there. Among the stories was the one of the first ever published on Promise Keepers, the men’s ministry launched by then- Colorado football coach Bill McCartney.
However, trying to sell other articles to the publication, which I read every month, proved fruitless.
Once I got the green light, only to see the story later rejected. Another article made it through the review process before failing.
About a month after we moved to Louisville, I received a letter from Editor Lee Grady, forwarded from my old address in West Virginia.
Lee said they needed an article about someone based in West Virginia, but not who. So I called to find out more. When I connected with his office, his assistant asked what it was about.
“I don’t know; he didn’t say,” I replied.
“I’ll let him know,” she said.
I waited a week and called again. Same result.
Finally, I decided to try one more time. If I got the same results, I would figure they weren’t interested and go on.
This time, Lee came on the phone, apologizing for ignoring my previous calls. “Ken, I’m so sorry,” he said. “There was another guy who had a story about surviving a lightning strike. He thought it was a great story, but we just weren’t interested. I thought you were him.”
Turns out he wanted someone to visit T.D. Jakes’ church in a suburb of Charleston and profile the bishop.
This was a couple years prior to Jakes’ move to Dallas, where he began to make a bigger name for himself. Still, the preacher was getting noticed via weekly TV appearances and his seminal Woman Thou Art Loosed teaching, which he originally had to self-publish.
We had been thinking about a quick trip to West Virginia so my wife could visit her parents before seminary classes went into overdrive. Now, we decided to go.
In preparation, I called the church to interview a couple staff members and ask about arranging an interview that Sunday. They said no; Jakes would be taking a red-eye flight back to Charleston the night before.
Breakthrough: Job Offer Extended
As it turned out, Jakes did have time. I hadn’t prepared a list of interview questions, thinking I would have to do one by telephone later.
Then, as I talked with a few people after the service, a tall, deep-voiced usher approached to say, “The bishop will see you now.”
Back in my office, I decided to get the article done and turn it in a week early in case I needed to make any revisions.
Soon, Lee Grady called.
“Where have you been?” he asked. “This is great.”
He asked if I would be interested in filling an editorial slot they were looking to fill.
“Thanks,” I said, “but I feel like God called us to Louisville. To turn around and leave a few months later would be disobedient.”
“Well, we’d like to send you regular assignments if that’s okay.”
Naturally, I said yes. Which is how I wound up writing regularly for Charisma for more than 20 years. God created the break, not me.