“Publish or Perish” is an expression often heard in the academic community to describe the pressure many scholars and researchers feel. They are expected to submit articles, research results, and more to appropriate academic publications as part of advancing in their careers, achieving tenure, or perhaps justifying receiving grants and funding. (see article on Wikipedia.)
However, I want to use this saying in a different way unrelated to the above. I realized early in my preaching and teaching ministry that the moment I stepped away from the pulpit or classroom podium, almost everything I had said was lost forever! I had entrusted my spoken message to the fallible memories of my audience, and the vast majority of what was said would no longer be remembered even one week later! Those who said, “Great lesson, preacher” on Sunday morning could seldom remember the main points by Sunday night.
These realizations have led me over the years to create outlines and handouts of many of my lessons to distribute in the classroom to “leave behind.” Since at least the early 1990s I have recorded audio of most of my sermons as well. This is not to say that all I have said is amazing or will endure through the ages. Rather it means that the study, research, prayer, organization and presentation of God’s message has in some form been preserved to hopefully continuing its work after my voice has fallen silent.
The result of this is manifold. This website for example is largely the publishing of my work in print, audio or video form. I also have a number of study guides I have created which others say have been of benefit to them. And when someone says they wish they had a copy of my message, I usually can provide them with one!
Now, truth to tell, I have far more of my notes, outlines, MP3s and videos that have NOT yet been published in some fashion than of those that have. But my goal is still to evaluate, edit, and put into print or upload to the internet all I have that I think truly adds to the spread of the Gospel and to strengthening faith. After all, if I don’t PUBLISH it, it will PERISH!
The image of metal movable type appearing above came from the Wikipedia article on the “Printing Press.”