Author: Debbie DeCiantis Page 2 of 5

“A True Witness” – Write2Ignite 2019 Conference Theme

    Scripture makes many references to the concept or term “witness” in both Old and New Testaments. Christians know Jesus’s “Great Commission” words in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NKJV) In church lingo, this is usually referred to as “witnessing,” sharing the good news of the gospel.

During Creation, God gave witness to the nature of His own created works, calling each day’s creation “good” or “very good.”

Similarly, Bible references to the created world as a witness are frequent. In some cases, the Creation or created object serves as witness to God’s judgment on human sin and guilt (Dt 4:26, Joshua 24:27, Romans 1:18-25). In others, the Creation testifies to God’s glory (Psalm 19 and other psalms).

From Genesis forward, “witness” occurs often in references to covenant agreements between persons or between God and a person or group (see examples in Genesis 21:30, 31:44 – 52, and Judges 11:10). The tabernacle, also called the “tabernacle of witness,” was a perpetual visual reminder of the covenant relationship between God and the nation of Israel (Numbers 17:7-8).

Write2Ignite Conference formed as a group for “Christian Writers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature” to encourage and equip writers to inspire Christian worldview thinking in young readers – a type of witness. Through prayer and discussion, we’ve identified Witness as an organizing theme for the 2019 conference September 20-21. This doesn’t mean every article or book for kids should contain a direct gospel invitation, but as we draw upon biblical principles, our writing should reflect God’s character, standards, and role in every area of human life.

I John lays out foundational doctrines and supporting evidence for Christian faith: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – . . . we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you . . . that you also may have fellowship with us . . . .”

John further states his purpose in sharing this gospel of “eternal life . . . . that your joy may be full.” (1:1-4, NKJV) He then lays out various signs, behaviors, and spiritual principles that demonstrate the truth of his claims about God, Jesus Christ, faith, and fellowship.

The Bible describes [fallen] human condition as lostness – of fellowship with God due to sin, of the Garden paradise, of peace and health. Results include perpetual seeking as people try to earn favor with God or a god, through sacrifice or good works. The gospel message is one of finding and being found. As we see God pursue the lost sheep (parables in Luke 15), the witness of lostness is exchanged for the witness of foundness. Through Jesus Christ, we have an Advocate, Mediator, Savior, Father, restored fellowship with God and the community of faith.

#Write2Ignite2019 will help us explore various facets of witness in God’s Word. As we gain insights into their effects in our own spiritual walk, we will also examine ways in which our writing in any genre or platform can serve as witness, proclaiming God’s truth and equipping young audiences to follow and serve Christ.

∞  Deborah S. DeCiantis

(photo courtesy of Jolee G.


Debbie DeCiantis first connected with Write2Ignite Conference when she was called on to act as liaison between North Greenvile University and Write2Ignite in 2009. She accepted the role of acting director in 2016 and the role of director in 2017. Debbie currently does freelance editing and critique writing. She enjoys living in the country and spending time with her husband, four adult children, six grandchildren, and too many dogs.

This and future discussions of biblical witness will be found in Author Resources.




Kristi Butler’s 2019 Questions: Inspired or Just Tired?

A new year is upon us. Chatter of resolutions and goals echo in conversation, sermons, and on social media.

Have you chimed in? Have you made your list? Posted your plans?

Does the thought of 2019 and the clean slate before you cause you to feel pumped…or in a slump? Inspired…or just tired? Motivated…or debilitated?

If you find yourself on the left side of the ellipses, your invigoration probably propelled you to jot those goals into a brand spanking new journal or planner, perhaps even posting them ever so creatively on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

If you’re in the latter category, thoughts of facing that blank page, of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys), daring to breathe life into dreams…and the risk of setting yourself up for failure seems daunting and pointless.

In either place, you are not alone. There are others in the boat with you!

First of all, Emmanuel…God With Us, has come! Seek Him first. Allow Him to be the prompter of your plans. Let Him be all that He intends to be in your life. Helper. Encourager. Prince of Peace. Comforter. Equipper. Guide. Whether you’ve jumped on the resolution bandwagon or you’re straining along behind, seek Him first. (Matthew 6:33) Then all the things will be added.

Secondly, pursue your tribe…your sojourners. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reminds us that “two are better than one”. We need each other! As the tide of our year ebbs and flows, what a blessing to have fellow passengers cheering us on! Taking turns with us in the pumping and the slumping, the inspired and the tired, the motivated and the debilitated. We’re stronger together!

Here at Write2Ignite Conference, we want to wish you a blessed new year! We desire to join with you on your writing journey…inspiring you, encouraging you, challenging you, and equipping you as you seek to follow God’s plan! It is our prayer that you will see His faithfulness as you take each step of faith!

How can we cheer you on today?

Kristi Butler is passionate about her faith in Jesus Christ, her family (including husband, daughters/sons-in-law, and grandchildren), and educating children. As a writer, she continues to pursue “putting pen to paper” and sharing the adventures of Gracie and Grover Groundhog. Two of her books, Groundhog Day in Amazing Grace Acres and Christmas in Amazing Grace Acres, have been illustrated by Samantha S. Bell and published by Guardian Angel Publishing. Samantha’has also illustrated Kristi’s first nonfiction rhyming alphabet book, G Is for Groundhog! They’re also collaborating on Gracie and Grover Go to the Beach. Please visit Kristi’s site for all things groundhog:

Write2Ignite Conference Publishes “Too Big for a Band-Aid”

  a service project of Write2Ignite Conference  devotional book with covers

In September 2017, the Write2Ignite Team was meeting to plan the 2018 Conference and explore other possible programs. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, shortly followed by Maria, were fresh on everyone’s minds. The subject of a service project came up, and we wondered, what can we do?

Because other, much larger organizations were in place to deliver money and supplies to affected areas, we focused on what writers have to work with – writing and books. The idea of a devotional focusing on kids going through hard times like storms, fires, injury, school shootings, and other traumatic events began to take shape, and the W2I kids’ devotional was born.

The project proved a lot more complex than we expected. First, it turns out that writing a devotional (which most of us hadn’t been doing) is a lot harder than we expected! We chose a format similar to that used on the Keys for Kids website [ ] and set our first deadline.


We tried another deadline.


We prayed and recommitted to the project, and gradually, met later deadlines for turning in the stories. Two of our Team members, Brenda Covert and Grace Geide, edited these.

Then, we complicated the project further by deciding it would be a good idea to (1) add a plan of salvation and (2) make this collection bilingual. Fortunately, several Team members knew people who are fluent in Spanish. They agreed to donate their time and expertise to translate different portions of the devotional. Translations are the work of retired North Greenville University Instructor Rebecca Deal, former missionary Ellen Garcia, and artist Annel Lilly, all busy women involved in multiple ministries.

Team member Robyn Grage, who was already up to her elbows in work on the #Write2Ignite2018 Resource Manual, graciously accepted the challenge of working up a layout and cover for the devotional book. Over time, this project had morphed from what we thought would be a stapled booklet of 10 to 12 pages to a book of over 50 pages, with a heavy stock cover and perfect binding. Did we mention that adding (and obtaining translations of) credits, translator bios, and Bible copyright statements added still more time and pages?

Down to the wire, as the September 21-22, 2018 Conference approached, we aimed for devotional completion so that we could give the finished books to presenters and participants.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of Gary Southern and Timm Artus of the Print Hub at North Greenville University, we received not only completed Resource Manuals on September 20, but also completed devotional books September 21!

Here it is! Too Big for a Band-Aid has a first printing of 500 copies. They are currently being given to churches, mission groups, and individuals.

Our plan has always been to distribute it free, primarily as a pdf file to be shared and downloaded as widely as possible to individuals and groups. The book’s purpose is to benefit kids who need encouragement and reminders of God’s love as they navigate the tough events that they, their families, and communities, encounter.

Please enjoy this collection, share the file widely, and watch for additional links where the pdf may be displayed in coming months. To God Be the Glory! His inspiration led us to the idea and helped us plan and carry out the book’s content, to produce a digital and print book that we pray will bless many young people around the world.


The #Write2Ignite2018 Conference Team

Life After a Writers’ Conference

How can I capture in words what last year’s Write2Ignite conference meant to me? Attending my first-ever writers’ conference left me feeling (and probably looking) like a deer in headlights! I left with an overwhelming conviction of the need for Christian writers and with a vast amount of information gleaned from each workshop. God lit a fire in me to pursue writing as I never had before.

At Write2Ignite, I had a conversation with Brenda Covert about poetry and Union Gospel Press. That conversation led me to apply to write for Union Gospel Press after the conference. Months passed, and I received an acceptance to write for the press’s Sunday school curriculum. What a small but positive step in the large world of writing and publishing!

Another opportunity opened when I created a writers’ club with friends at my church. This August, our team will celebrate its first-year anniversary as Women of the Word: Overcomers Writing Group.

You know, I still have my folder of notes from last year’s conference; and every now and then, I glance through the pages of inspiration that first ignited a drive in me to truly go for it! The 2017 conference still speaks life into my writing.

I think it’s safe to say that God will surely amaze us with all He wants to accomplish in the many creative people He’ll bring to this year’s conference. I hope to meet you there so we can see what God does!


Want to know more about Diane and her writing? Connect with her on Facebook.

Contest: Teen Track Comments Wanted!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Jenna Turner, the winner of our teen contest!

Keynote presenters, workshop choices, editor and agent appointments, professional critiques, and contests—these benefits are available to both students and adults who attend the Write2Ignite Conference on September 21–22, 2018!

Carol Baldwin, who’s returning as a presenter, chose students’ potential as her “success story” focus: “When I taught the teens several years ago, I was impressed with their enthusiasm and maturity. Whenever I attend W2I, I’m excited that there are so many fellow Christians who want to serve the Lord with their writing talents.”

Teen Track participants: It’s your turn! Submit your comments about your experience at a previous W2I conference OR your hopes and goals for attending W2I 2018!

Submit comments by

Each week, we’ll draw from the Teen Track comments submitted. The winner of each week’s drawing will receive a free book!

CONTESTS and CRITIQUES reminders and announcements:

  1. Don’t forget to check the guidelines for entering the “Faith and Freedom” writing contest that EA Books Publishing and W2I are co-sponsoring. Winners will be announced at the W2I Conference on September 22! (This contest is open to both adults and students attending W2I on September 21–22. The deadline for submissions is August 20!)
  2. Watch for another “FLASH” contest announcement coming soon! That contest will be open to middle and high school students only.
  3. Teen Track participants are eligible for PRE-conference two-for-one critiques and conference critiques. If you have a manuscript, check out our Critiques tab for details!

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