W2I 2019 Conference
Introduction by Deborah S. DeCiantis
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. http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/witness-concept-background-photo-p262938)
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.
Asheville Christian Writers Conference—February 22, 23, and 24, 2019
Carolina Christian Writers Conference—2019 dates TBA
Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference May 19-23, 2019
An online manuscript submission service for authors, agents, and publishers in the Christian publishing industry
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The Write Conversation by Edie Melson
Writer to Writer by Cecil Murphey
Between the Lines by the agents of Books and Such
The Write Editing—Editing answers by industry professionals
Institute of Children’s Literature—Online writing courses
SCBWI: The Blog—Official blog of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
PiBoIdMo—Website and blog of author Tara Lazar and home of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo)
The Blueboards—SCBWI forum for writers and illustrators, originally created by author Verla Kay
Educational Markets for Children’s Writers by Evelyn Christensen
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Illustration Friday—A weekly creative outlet for artists and illustrators of all levels and abilities. A new theme is announced every Friday. No pressure—just fun!
The Purple Crayon Blog—Questions about children’s publishing answered by a children’s book editor: Harold Underdown. Also includes current children’s publishing links.
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“What to Include in a Portfolio” by Cheryl Klein
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The Drawing Board for Illustrators—Lots of great articles
“How to Illustrate a Children’s Book” by Heather Castle
Yellapalooza—Tutorials for children’s writers and illustrators
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators—A professional organization open to anyone interested in writing or illustrating for children
Marks and Splashes—An online class taught by illustrator Mark Mitchell, author of the blog How to Be a Children’s Book Illustrator