Honor Time, Authors & Acknowledgements
In the community groups at my church, we practice something we call “honor time.” This practice is rooted in Romans 12:10, which says:
“Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another” (NET).
This is way we encourage one another by sharing specific ways we see God at work in each other’s lives. It can also include how God has been using a person (or group of people) in our lives, as recognition of his God’s kindness to us. Honor time can be as simple as honoring a new person for coming to visit (which is an act of faith, even if they don’t see it as such). It might also be a more reserved group member sharing something with the group. Or, it might be something else entirely
This can be a really awkward time, but it’s a good one for everyone in the group. It’s a way we learn to receive words of encouragement. And since most of us are quick to deflect even a compliment, this is no small thing.
How authors practice honor time
Authors practice honor time too, in a couple of different ways. One of those is with a dedication at the beginning of a book. This is usually a sentence and addressed to a specific person or group; maybe a spouse, family members, or a close friend for whom there is usually a personal connection to the work. The other way authors do this with the acknowledgements.
What’s included in the acknowledgements?
The acknowledgements is a short section, typically at the end of a book, that thanks a larger group of people who played a role in the book you’ve just read being the book you’ve just read. Typically included are the following:
- Family members and friends (aka, your cheerleaders)
- Members of the editorial team
- Mentors and others who contributed in some way to the content of the book
Even if no one reads it, this aspect of a book matters, even if only to the author. We all know it takes a lot of people to make a book happen. And we all care about the people who played a part.
As I was reviewing a copy of I’m a Christian—Now What? the other day, I realized something: I didn’t actually include any official acknowledgements in the book. (Although, I have an easter egg-ish version in the final chapter.)
In reality, I know this is not a big deal. Yet, not including it has been eating at me. It feels like a disservice to all who played a part in making this book happen. So, if you’ll allow me the indulgence, I’d like to share the acknowledgements I meant to write.
The acknowledgements I meant to write
Despite the romantic ideal, no book is entirely written in isolation. Every book is a team effort, and this one is no exception.
First and foremost, my wife, Emily, deserves my unceasing gratitude for putting up with me in writer mode (which is really not that different than regular me mode, except she ends up shouldering a bit more of the home responsibilities), listening to me yammer and spiral, and for being the best partner I could ask for in the messiness of our early years as Christians and today.
She probably won’t read this book because she lived it, and that’s okay. I still think she’s neat. Same for our kids, who I’m glad I got to eat ice cream with as we celebrated every milestone along the way.
Dave Schroeder, I’m grateful for you. You’re a good agent, and a better friend. Many thanks to Whit Stiles, David McLemore, Trevin Wax, Darryl Dash, Michael Natelli, Andrew Hall, Jeremy Writebol, & Amy Bennett & many others for their feedback and encouragement. And also Jared Wilson for encouraging me to write what became this book in the first place.
Elliot Ritzema and the entire team and Lexham Press, you’ve been amazing to work with. I hope we get to do this again someday.
Rachel and Andrew, you know what you did (maybe). Regardless, thank you both for being you.
Emily and I both owe an enormous debt to Rick & Cheryl Boyes and Jeff & Jody Harrison for investing in us and to Adam, Larissa, John, Meghan, Matt, and Melissa for walking along with us in those messy years. We thank God for you.
Finally, to all who remain unnamed, the Lord knows the role you’ve played (even if you may not). Thank you.
Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash