Bob Sawvelle is the founder of Passion Church in Tucson, Arizona, where he routinely witnesses the power of healing ministry. Bob has a doctorate and masters degree in theology, focusing his dissertation on Christian healing. Now, Bob wrote Receive Your Miracle Now, to share his findings with other Christians—and anyone who questions the healing power of faith.
Getting Started: How to Begin Writing a Book About Healing
Charlotte: Why did you write Receive Your Miracle Now? Were you inspired in a certain moment or had you been planning to write this?
Bob: I had been planning to write this after completing my doctoral dissertation and program. There is a need in the Church today for a balanced understanding of divine healing that doesn’t reject medical care but embraces God’s healing power.
Charlotte: Did you have an outline set before you began writing? How did you decide how to order the chapters and sections? Was it a deliberate organization or did it come more naturally? What effect do you think the order has on the reader?
Bob: Yes, I had an outline. The main sections—biblical, historical, and theological—were derived from my dissertation. Then, within each section, I selected chapters pertinent to those topics and developed them.
The Process: Writing Receive Your Miracle Now
Charlotte: What did your writing process look like? What did it look like both day to day and in a long term process?
Bob: I set aside time each day, per Lisa Tener’s advice in her coaching, to write. That included research. Some days I was more inspired to write content, other days I did the mechanics of research and editing of the manuscript. I did take Saturdays and Sundays off of writing to prepare for weekend church services.
Charlotte: What did your research process look like while writing Receive Your Miracle Now? How did you find the exact info you wanted to use in your book and how long did you spend researching before writing? Once you had the research, how did you synthesize it into your writing?
Bob: A substantial portion of the research was done while working on my doctoral dissertation. I researched the internet for publications on Christian healing. Google scholar was helpful for older publications. I used EBSCO Information Services through the seminary for more current journal articles.
I used a spreadsheet to categorize my research—linking key topics to books and journals with corresponding page numbers.
Between the Pages: The Decisions and Changes
Charlotte: Who do you envision as the audience for Receive Your Miracle Now and how did you narrow it down, if there was a bit of process to making that decision. Did you make any specific decisions writing the book to engage that audience – such as using a certain tone, language, style, etc?
Bob: The audience is primarily the Christian community that has an interest in divine healing. I wrote the book for those who wanted something between popular writing on the subject and academic books on the subject. I interspersed my personal journey with anecdotal stories of healing to help balance the more in-depth sections of the book.
Charlotte: In your process of writing a book about healing, did you find yourself reaching for outside sources – for advice, influence, support, etc? Or did you find it a more personal self-guided experience?
Bob: In the doctoral program, I had a mentor—Dr. Jon Ruthven—professor emeritus Regent University in Theology. Jon helped in the initial stages of my research with direction and topic suggestions. When I completed the doctoral program and dissertation, the writing became more self-guided. Once I submitted the initial book manuscript to Whitaker House, an acquisition editor, Don Milam, gave excellent advice to enhance the manuscript. I incorporated his suggestions, and Whitaker House agreed to publish the book.
Charlotte: The book at times feels like a wellness book, but also includes context from theological, academic papers. What genre would you classify Receive Your Miracle Now as? What importance do you think genre has in connecting and engaging with the audience?
Bob: It’s both! I purposely wanted the book to be appealing to those who were looking for wellness or healing, and build faith in them for their healing. I also included in the appendix a practical healing model I have used and taught for years.
That said, it also has the depth of a more theological academic work on the subject with the hope that it could help those wanting to dig deeper on this subject as well as in churches or seminaries to train healing teams and ministers. Additionally, within the Christian community, many oppose divine healing. I wrote the book with an “apologetic flair” to convince people that this ministry is still active in our world and the Church.
Charlotte: You include a few different stories and examples of healing. How did you collect or recall all these stories? Did you reach out to people or did they come to you with their stories?
Bob: I chose some of my “choice” personal stories to place in the book. I also added stories from others of significant healings and miracles as I heard them from them. Then I asked their permission to include them in the book. I wanted the reader to see that it wasn’t just a “pastor” praying for others and seeing the healings occur, but ordinary followers of Jesus used in this important ministry of God’s love and compassion.
Charlotte: As a pastor, you have to speak frequently to wide and varied audiences. Did you find yourself writing similarly to how you would speak in church? If so, how are they similar? Did already having a “speaking voice” help you find your “writing voice” or hinder it?
Bob: Yes, I tend to write how I speak. That said, in some of the more in-depth sections of the book, I would not go that deep on a Sunday morning. I would reserve the deeper sections for training leaders in our church or at the seminary I help teach in.
Charlotte: How do you imagine readers can use Receive Your Miracle Now and healing ministry in their daily life? What lessons or insight did you want readers to take away from this book?
Bob: Primarily, that God still heals today—Jesus continues the ministry of healing through His Church. I would hope the book would convince the reader of the validity of healing and make the practice of healing prayer part of their Christian walk. For those who need healing, my prayer is that God would meet them at their need and experience healing grace.
The Last Steps: Publishing, Promoting, and Healing
Charlotte: Lisa Tener told me that you had self-published a version of this book before and that the publisher invited you to revise the book for them to publish. Can you say a bit about how that unfolded?
Bob: I first self-published a smaller version of the book with CreateSpace. It captured the essence of my dissertation, but lacked a better writing flow and sufficient stories to make it more interesting. Through a friend, who is in the publishing business, I met Don Milam of Whitaker House. I called Don, told him about my self-published version of the book, and how I had started a newer version that was written better. By the way, this was the summer after I first met Lisa and took one of her writing classes and book coaching sessions.
While I was talking to Don during that first conversation, I mentioned to him how my mom had passed away two years prior due to cancer and how God had given me a dream about my mother’s passing before she died. He was deeply touched. He then shared with me how he had lost his wife to cancer the previous year. When he heard about my “balanced” approach to healing and miracles (simply, not all are healed, but God still heals supernaturally and through the medical community) he then said, “Now I want to publish your book.”
Charlotte: What did you find was the hardest part about writing and publishing this book? How did you overcome those challenges?
Bob: Getting my writing voice. Learning how to bridge the academic writing in a voice that would appeal to a larger segment of the Christian community was challenging at first.
Charlotte: What did you enjoy most about writing a book about healing and publishing Receive Your Miracle Now?
Bob: Creating a book that could help many experience God’s healing presence. I realized through the writing and publishing of the book, that I gave a part of me to help others—my walk with God and this ministry has been a significant portion of my life.
Charlotte: How do you plan to promote Receive Your Miracle Now?
Bob: Whitaker House has a marketing team that has been promoting the book. The book’s official release date was April 11, 2017, but their marketing campaign began about six months ago.
Additionally, we are promoting the book through social media and my church, Passion Church in Tucson.
Charlotte: Did writing this book give you any particular insight into your practice of healing ministry or how you preach? If so, what changed?
Bob: It reinforced my belief in the present day healing ministry of Christ in His Church. The writing process also helped me see that people need both simple explanations, with stories, as well as more in-depth teaching. I balance this dynamic in my speaking with greater effect now.
Dr. Bob Sawvelle is the founding and senior pastor of Passion Church (www.passiontucson.org) in Tucson, Arizona. His doctoral dissertation delved deeply into Christian healing research. “Receive Your Miracle Now” was written to share his research with other Christians—and anyone who questions the healing power of faith. he can be reached at [email protected] or (520) 325-2045. read his blog or connect on Twitter or Facebook.
Readers, have a question for Bob? Or an insight about writing and healing? Share your comment and one lucky, random commentor will win a free signed copy of Receive Your Miracle Now.