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Interview with author Cecil Taylor

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I’m happy to introduce award-winning author and speaker Cecil Taylor, founder of CecilTaylorMinistries.com. He has published several Christian Living and Bible study books and today we will learn about From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom.

Interview with author Cecil Taylor

Bio: With more than 30 years’ experience as an adult Sunday School teacher and as many in youth ministry, Cecil Taylor has impacted lives in local churches throughout his adult life. He founded Cecil Taylor Ministries to broaden that impact, teaching Christians to live a 7-day practical faith through books, video studies, and speaking engagements. His ministry is cross-denominational, focused on the common struggle Christians face in putting their faith into practice and applying scripture and faith principles to life situations.

Cecil’s books have been honored as follows:

  • The 2023 Living Water Award (runner-up, Nonfiction) from the Blue Lake Christian Writers’ Conference for his first book, The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life.
  • Finalist in the Christian Indie Awards (Christian Living category) for The Next Thing. Winners will be named in April 2024.
  • The 2023 Oasis Award (top prize, Nonfiction) from The Well Conference for Creatives for his second book, Live Like You’re Loved: Living in the Freedom and Immediacy of God’s Love.
  • And recently, the 2024 Living Water Award was presented to From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone for Nonfiction (third place) by the Blue Lake Christian Writer’s Conference.

Please tell us about your current release.
From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone is a challenging book for readers. We love our comfort zones and can convince ourselves that God really loves our comfort zones, too. But Jesus in the Gospels frequently pushes people out of their comfort zones and into His trust zones, where they take risks for His kingdom’s sake. The same happens today; the Holy Spirit is restless and is always beckoning us to take leaps of faith while trusting that we are always accompanied by God.
Readers are surprised that the book reveals comfort zones that they didn’t realize they had. Sometimes large-scale comfort zone to trust zone transitions involve new calls or even danger. But sometimes our comfort zones are subtle: the way we seek status, the way we judge others, the worldly areas where we seek comfort; even our privileges make us feel settled and comfortable. We begin to rely on those things rather than relying on Jesus.
I’ve lived a life of repeatedly leaping into trust zones. Once the Spirit knows you are willing, you just need to keep listening and trusting, and you will have opportunities. I would even say that if you think the Spirit is satisfied with your comfort zones, you may not be listening very well, although I acknowledge that there are fallow times and stable times where you may be doing well right where you are. The main idea is that we need to allow the Spirit to guide both our action and inaction.

What inspired you to write this book?
The theme of risk-taking has been strong in my other works, including in the last chapter of my prior book, Live Like You’re Loved. After that book, I thought about those couple of pages of risk-taking and started researching the Gospels more thoroughly for kingdom risktakers. Eventually I came up with the paradigm of comfort zones and trust zones.

Excerpt
The very first disciples, as described in the Gospel of John, are thought to be Andrew and John. They learned quickly about Jesus’ challenges to take risks. Scripture tells us they quit following John the Baptist to literally follow behind Jesus, who turned and asked them, “What are you looking for?”
They answered, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Their intent was to have a deeper conversation with Jesus, to build a deeper relationship. And Jesus replied, “Come and see!”
Come and see! Jesus made no promises of what their discipling lives would be like. He didn’t offer a salary or benefits or even a job description. He essentially said, “Dive in, and you’ll figure it out.”
Jesus still instructs us to dive in today. Jesus is looking for new, risk-taking disciples today to join him in his kingdom on earth. And he’s looking for his current disciples to also take risks and go deeper in their faith and trust.

What’s next for your book or future plans you’d like to share?
I’m about to release my first parenting book, Unison Parenting: The Comprehensive Guide to Navigating Christian Parenthood with One Voice. It’s a massive work, and the early reviews are fantastic. I expect to spend substantial time in 2024 and 2025 promoting the material by speaking nationwide in churches and other settings, so if your readers are interested in me visiting their churches, they can contact me for more info at Cecil@CecilTaylorMinistries.com.
I have several other projects I expect to work on simultaneously; the foremost effort is a book to pair with my existing video series, The Legacy Tree: A Christian Model for a Life of Significance. I also want to write video studies for Advent and Lent to give more tools to small groups and Sunday School classes that typically are eager for content in those seasons.

What’s one challenge you had to overcome or still work through to write?
It takes a lot of energy and focus to write. A lot of the writing process isn’t writing per se; it’s thinking, brainstorming, researching, planning, organizing, editing, and rewriting. But when I’m in pure writing mode, it takes more energy than you might think. You are pulling something out of yourself and pouring it onto the page. I have a lot of energy, but I can’t write all day with that kind of intensity.

Do you write full-time?
I would say that I operate a ministry full-time. My goal is to create content about 50% of the time, between blogs, devotionals, newsletters, podcast writing, books, and video studies. The remainder is for marketing, strategy, building relationships, and administration. However, in any given week, those percentages skew quite a bit depending on where I am in the cycle of a book or video study and what urgent things might pop up. An ideal day would be writing blogs and devotionals first thing, then performing marketing and administrative duties, and by 2:00, turning fully to writing and recording.

As a child, did you think you’d be a writer? Or what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I wrote a lot, mostly from a journalistic point of view. I would make up people and write their biographies. I would create family newsletters. I was such a sports nut, I would make up teams and write about their games in a sportspaper. Those fantasy teams were real to me! In high school, I was editor of the school newspaper and sports editor of the county newspaper.
Since my father was a pastor, I thought I was supposed to be one, too, so I studied what he did very carefully. However, I never felt the call to ordained ministry, despite several queries to God at key points in my life. But I did feel the call to teach youth and adults, and that passion and call has evolved into Cecil Taylor Ministries.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My favorite part about serving the Lord in this way is when I see that someone has been impacted by my ministry and content. We’re not guaranteed that we will see the impact and ripple effect of our service, so it’s special when such situations are revealed. I get such joy out of seeing a reviewer write, “I was touched in ways I didn’t expect,” or “I had fallen away from the Lord, but because of this book, I’m back.”

What’s something fun you like to do outside of writing?
I would say my two primary hobbies are playing fantasy football and gardening / landscaping. Besides the usual gardening activities, my spring projects are repairing a flower bed and adding an extensive new bed with a small walkway through it.

How can Readers connect with you?
Website: https://www.CecilTaylorMinistries.com
Free Content launch page: https://www.CecilTaylorMinistries.com/free-content
Book page: https://www.CecilTaylorMinistries.com/from-comfort-zone-to-trust-zone
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ceciltaylorministries/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHP_khu3r77ubl5jvHsf5-w

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