In a world of fast-paced schedules and priorities, conversations about what makes for a life well lived are a rarity and a luxury. But what if the daily pace of life held in itself the way to make choices more significant? What if the daily to-do lists gave a glimpse into how people might change their future? What if the daily grind, as arduous as it might seem, held the key to a life full of meaning and potential? What if everyday, simple steps, instead of some complex list of seemingly unattainable principles, showed how to make life matter?
Making Life Matter answers these questions and shows that the steps for making life matter are found in rather ordinary decisions, attitudes, and patterns found in normal routines. This book is about our story and our journey, and what we do and feel along the way.
Thank you for this interview, Shane. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I am the Senior Pastor of ChristChurch, Memphis—an 8,000 member United Methodist Congregation. I am married to my highschool sweetheart and we are the parents of three children. I have been writing professionally for about seven years.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Making Life Matter is a guidebook of everyday wisdom that will assist with practical decisions and issues of everyday life. There are seven principles that range from “If I Break It, I Buy It” to “I am How I Pray”. Each principle is outlined with practical implications and with illustrations that focus the principle for everyday use.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
As a pastor, I am constantly in conversations with people about their spiritual journey. Also, since part of my job is to take Biblical principles and apply them to everyday life, these conversations often turn to very workable forms such as the written word. But, whether I am preaching, writing a book, or sitting here with you, my goal is to have a conversation that leads others to thinking deeply about the love of God and about life can mean something more.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I usually write in my study at home. It is the ‘place’ my wife has created for me… I say she has created it because she took it upon herself to give this space back to me as a gift… it was very sweet and kind. So, I may put thoughts down in other settings, but the majority of my writing happens here.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
I have a very full time job as a senior pastor of a large church. And with trying to do well in that setting, sometimes the schedule doesn’t work out the way you would hope. And, during the writing of this book in particular, we had some situations that needed my attention. So, it seemed as though there was always something else that was needing my attention ‘apart’ from the book. But, I had a great editor who was very patient.
Are you a disciplined writer?
I am for the most part. I try to write a little bit each day. However, just as I mentioned above, things can get very busy in my life that affects the schedule. Also, nothing is more important than family and if they need me, I certainly go that direction.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I have had the blessing of being published by traditional houses—seven with Abingdon Press, one each with Zondervan and Regal.
Was it the right choice for you?
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I have been doing interviews like this and then trying to be in settings that gets the word out about the book. Most success in selling books is about ‘word of mouth’ it seems, so I am trying to find platforms that allows for that to take place.
How is that going for you?
I don’t know… we will have to see the royalty statements.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I am the Senior Pastor of Christ UMC in Memphis, TN.
Have you ever gotten an inspirational book-related moment at work and had to go run and write and it down?
All the time. That is why I keep a notebook in my pocket that allows for me to write down my thoughts and ideas.
Do your co-workers know they have a star among them? What has their reactions been?
I don’t think they see it that way. They are very supportive though and very helpful in making this part of my life possible.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
“Believe in your book”… and remember that no one will promote your book as well as you will. Be your first cheerleader.
What’s next for you?
I am going to keep writing and doing what each day requires.
Thank you again for this interview, Shane. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
A couple of places– www.shanestanford.com, www.makinglifematter.org, and www.cumcmemphis.or.