Developing faith by looking back

May 10, 2017 | by Ken Walker

Last year marked my third consecutive year of increased business, a most welcome development after the bleak years of the Great Recession. However, until I stopped long enough to take a closer look, I didn’t appreciate the full significance of 2016.

When I reviewed my annual revenue summary more closely, I was surprised to realize that on Jan. 1, 2016, none of what became my top five accounts for the year existed. That means that I had no idea that 57 percent of my income for the next 12 months would originate with business not then on my radar screen.

My top-paying account showed up via e-mail while I was at a conference in May. An author wanted me to edit out more than 75 percent of the material in his book to create an abridged edition.

This didn’t come from the editor’s network that has referred several projects to me in the past, including a book proposal now being reviewed by two major publishers. This author just found my name on the Internet.

Unexpected business

Another top account surfaced in mid-October, a short-term project that kept me constantly busy the rest of the year.

A book editing project that turned into as much ghostwriting as editing came out of the blue in early March.

Another gig started in June after a co-author I had helped with three small books asked me to edit his blogs and website material.

Inspired by this unexpected discovery, I decided to take a glance back at five-year intervals, stretching back to 2001. Here’s what I discovered:

* Of my top five income-producing accounts in 2001, only one exists today. Among those that vanished is a newspaper that hit tough sledding in the recession. Another is a news service that slashed its freelance budget after the 2008 real estate debacle.

* The magazine that occupied the #1 position in 2006 has since stopped sending me work because of a serious decline in advertising and a change in format. The ministry that occupied the #2 slot in both 2001 and 2006 eliminated my contract position after 2010.

* Only one of my top five accounts in 2011 is still sending me work. Last year I earned one-fifth of what I invoiced that ministry five years earlier.

Faith for survival

No matter what kind of business or ministry you are involved in, repeat business is important. A trio of continuing accounts I landed last year helped give me a better cushion and boosted my cash flow.

Still, in the midst of all the planning, marketing and strategizing that are part of any sound business or ministry plan, we have to leave room for faith.

What I have discovered in more than 35 years as a follower of Christ is that just when I think I have things figured out, God surprises me. He never does things the way I think they should be done, and He always comes through in ways I never expect.

Looking for evidence

While you’re looking ahead and trying to figure out how you’re going to survive 2017, remember faith is a tangible element of survival.

As you look at what God has done the past year or two, what evidence is there of His work in your life? How has He come through when things looked hopeless? What miracles have you observed?

Like me, you may not realize the full extent of this divine intervention until you stop look enough to evaluate what happened. It may be there is a sermon, article, or even a book about your experience that is worth sharing with others.

Topics: Commentary, Leadership, Ministry, Preaching, Teaching Resources, Vision

Ken Walker

An experienced freelance writer, co-author and book editor, Ken Walker edits blogs for several contributors to Church Central and has coached various bloggers for the site. A member of the Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), he has co-authored, edited or contributed to more than 50 books. You can see samples of his work or ask about his services as a writing coach by going to or by e-mailing


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