One of the speakers I'm jazzed about who will be at Innovate in a few weeks is Shawn Wood--the Experiences Pastor (great title!) from Seacoast Church in South Carolina. His first book is called 200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One, and I had a few minutes to catch up with him and ask a few questions...
Tim: One of the things that really struck me in reading the advance copy of the book was the stories. As I said here, you authentically share from your life through stories in a way that sucked me in from the beginning. What is it about the stories in the book that you think will add value to people as they seek after Christ?
Shawn: I think of my story, and the story of others around me, as just a small part of the Big Story of God. I believe that God loves hearing us laugh and so I try and tell funny things that happen along the way. I also believe that God cares when we hurt and that we can learn a great deal through pain. The best part of the book to me was that I was able to share five stories of very normal people who God has chosen to use in extraordinary ways. These people are friends and family and I rub shoulders with them almost every day. I am blessed to have seen them carve pomegranates to Jesus with their daily lives.
Tim: During this blog tour it seems like everyone has asked you about the pomegranate. I have to admit that I was a little leery about the title the first time I saw it...but now all of the sudden I see pomegranate juice everywhere. My friend Kem even saw a Pomegranate margarita the other day...what's up with that?
Shawn: Uh, Pop Goes the Church Tim. Using everyday items to make a point, right? I actually had never thought of pomegranates much until I started writing the book under the working title of "the artist mandate" and then it was like the Pomegranate Guild decided to rebrand themselves - which was very timely for the book.
Tim: As of today, the book has started shipping out and I imagine you are probably starting to receive some feedback. What have you been hearing?
Shawn: The best e-mails and comments so far have been from mom's. The book is written for everyone. I really did not have a central audience in mind when I was writing--I believe that God created us all to be great. But what I am hearing is that the basis for the book - You are an Artist - is really getting connecting with mom's. In fact I got an e-mail from a mother last week who had recently left a high profile ministry position to be a mom full-time. The book caught her at just the right moment and she said she was so encouraged to know that every diaper change, every lesson taught and every extra kiss and hug is a pomegranate carved toward an audience of One.
Tim: Ah, that is so sweet. I need a kleenex. Okay, I'm back. You said the stories were a fun part for you in the book, what was the hardest part?
Shawn: I think the hardest part has been that I really want people to read the book, but I do not want to come across as a self-promoting blow-hard. It's a tough balance. If you write a book you obviously want people to hear the message and bottom line, you want people to take a $16 gamble that you have something worth saying. At the end of the day I have tried my best to let people know about the book because I think ultimately it points them in the direction of Jesus. I also believe with all of my heart that if it is a good book people will spread the word about it...but the balance is hard. Hopefully I am not a blow-hard.
Tim: Now is your chance to pimp your book...
Shawn: Yes, at the risk of self-promotion over-kill, I will ask your great readers to please buy the book! If you will be at the Innovate Conference at Granger Community Church you can pick the book up there and I will even sign it (which immediately decreases the value). It's also available at many fine online retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even Target.com.
If you are a Pastor considering a series and using the book for your groups, I wrote questions at the end of each chapter as a leader with my small group in mind. Additional series elements will be available at www.200pomegranates.com on September 1, 2008 so that churches will have FREE resources to do an entire series on Huram and his 200 Pomegranates. Of course, I'll be glad give you a great discount (30%) if you want to order a bunch of books. Just drop me an email.
Tim: You really are a nice blow-hard. Thanks for stopping by.