Here’s another installment of “7 Questions With an Author…” and today’s featured writer is a personal friend of mine, Rob Sheperd.
Rob is the lead pastor of Next Level Church in Newport News, Virginia. He has a Master of Divinity degree and a bachelor’s in youth ministry. He writes six times a week on his blog robshep.com, which averages more than 8,500 unique views a month.
Rob and his wife, Monica, have a set of awesome twins and he just finished his first book titled Even if You Were Perfect, Someone Would Crucify You.
Here are 7 Questions With author Rob Shepherd:
1. Tell us about your book?
I’m a people pleaser. I didn’t realize how much my identity was in the opinions of others until I received an anonymous letter about a sermon I delivered.
The letter bashed me. It bashed everything about me. I found myself ignoring the compliments that I did receive from others and focusing on this one person’s negative words.
On the fourth reading of the letter I heard a still small voice say, “Even if you preached a perfect sermon someone would crucify it.” That saying gave me freedom. I threw the letter away and have adopted a version of that saying to every day areas of my life.
I’m not perfect. I never will be, so as a Christian I need to learn to care more about what Jesus thinks than what other people do. The book is about doing just that. Learning how to find your identity in Jesus.
2. What led you to write it?
I’ve wanted to write a book for years. I blog six days a week and I really enjoy writing. A book was on my bucket list, but I just never made time. Last year I planted a church and through the process I ended up offending some people.
I tried to do everything the best way that I knew how but some people were still upset. They were creating ways to be upset. It was as if I couldn’t win.
I was going through People Pleasing 101 and I was learning a lot. I kept thinking that I can’t be the only one to go through this. I tend to get inspired when I’m emotional and there were a lot of emotions surrounding me. That situation fueled my desire to write.
3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
Donald Miller is one writer that inspires me. I love how he writes conversationally. I love that he uses humor. I love that he’s a Christian but doesn’t act churchy.
I also really enjoy how he introduces something and you don’t have a fat clue where he’s going but then he wraps it up with an amazing point that blows my mind.
4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
All the marketing and extra stuff that comes with writing a book. Once I was done writing I was done mentally. I just wanted to hand it off and let someone else deal with all the extra stuff.
I didn’t have that someone so I had to buck up and take care of it. In the end it was a great process all the way around but it stretched me for sure.
5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Write! Don’t aspire to write. Just write. Write a blog. Write in a journal. Write an article. Writing is a discipline that must be flexed. This is why I don’t take long breaks on my blog. I am not a perfect writer but there are people out there that appreciate imperfect writers who love to write…and have bad grammar.
My wife corrects my mistakes on my blog on a daily basis. Writing isn’t always easy but I love the deadline of having to write something every day on my blog.
It forces me to be creative. To think. To do more than just check Facebook ever five minutes hoping that someone posts something interesting. If you write consistently you will find an audience.
It may not be a HUGE audience but people will come when you are consistent. I’ve found this with my blog. The point is whether it’s a blog or other outlet if you want to write you need to just write.
Even if it’s not something amazing it’s better to write then not. Don’t wait for it to be perfect because it never will be. Write. Write some more. Write even more. That’s my advice. I should of just said that instead of rambling on for so long. My bad.
6. Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from a desire to make people laugh and think. That’s a core premise of my blog. So when I’m sitting down to write I want it to make people laugh or think or both. If it doesn’t do one or the other then I keep it as a draft until I can make it fit.
So if I see something funny I immediately start thinking about how I could make that into a post. I look at everything as a potential blog post. So a person throwing up not once but twice in the seat near me at the movie theater during the beginning of the movie Iron Man 3 is not just an experience for me. It’s something that I want to share.
So I start thinking about if this illustrate anything in life that could make people think or is it just funny. For that example I went with just sharing it. No life lesson. Just puke. And yes that did happen near me. Two seats down. It was gag nasty.
7. Anything that you’d like readers to know that I haven’t asked?
I love Chipotle, the Lakers, movies, and Needtobreathe. I think nature is trying to kill us at all times with it’s sun burning our skin, plants causing allergies, and weather.
Because of that I value staying inside where it’s safe and air conditioned. My hair is confused and has stopped growing out of my hair and it has started growing out of my ears. I’ve tried to reason with it but it won’t listen.
If I ever win the lottery I’m buying my church a building. We rent out space currently. I don’t play the lottery. My favorite movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark. My shoe size is 10 1/2. I wear plaid on an almost daily basis. I love Jesus because He first loved me.
My wife is Monica and she’s wicked awesome. My twins are Reese and Hayden and they are two. I love them. If I ever become President I will make it mandatory that everyone take a nap every day. Wait. What was the question?