Recently Neil Cole reminded me of an important principle of mine: the danger of writing beyond your experience. I believe we should only write about something after it’s been proven in more than one context. It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves when we have a great idea. We think, “This is working!” and we write about it, only to find that the idea only works within a very specific context.

Now there’s nothing wrong with trying to form a theoretical framework to move a conversation forward. That’s thought leadership. But we need to stop long enough to test our theory before we broadcast this new framework. If we write beyond our experience, we run the risk of leading people into dead ends.

So here’s the process I’d recommend:

  • start with scripture
  • find the principles
  • get out there and try it
  • have others try it
  • refine the principles and make any necessary changes
  • package it together, being sure to ask the questions that allow people to apply it