Pieter K. Van Waarde is the Senior Pastor at Woodcrest Chapel (since 1994). Under Pieter’s direction Woodcrest has twice received “Small Business of the Year” Award in the non-profit sector from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce – the only church ever to receive this award.
Pieter is the Executive Director and Senior consultant for Team Building Resources LLC. He taught at the University of Missouri Graduate School of Business on team- building and leadership development. Pieter also served as an instructor for Mid-Missouri Training institute and consulted large firms on the topic of leadership. Pieter has recently published his second book Unsettled.
Can you tell us about your background and experiences that prepared you to write the book Unsettled?
I have served in pastoral ministry for 30 years. I have worked hard at trying to help people walk the path of faith – much of this on a very personal level. I have often said that my greatest joy is walking the path of life with people. One of the most personally meaningful compliments I received about this book was from Sarah Sumner (dean of Tozer Seminary) who said, “If you’re feeling unsettled spiritually or frustrated with yourself, then read this book. In it, I believe you’ll find a friend. Piet Van Waarde is a gentle companion, someone you can be real with, who can help you get meaningfully connected with God.” She put words to my intentions for the book.
Many people may view this as a “self-help” book. What makes it different than the typical self help book?
The person who picks up this book will more than likely have been there and done that. This reader is longing for something more. They have tried various solutions, but nothing has worked (very well). They are not ready to give up, but they are worn-down. They believe something better is out there. Their “unsettledness” is driving them to it. They also have enough self-awareness to know that whatever solution they lean into will require the engagement of their will (the heart of self-help) – but they are experienced enough to know that they really do need “help” from beyond themselves too. I am hoping people will resonate with the title of the book and have enough curiosity regarding a spiritual solution where they will read the book with openness and be courageous enough to explore the soul evolution I propose in it.
The publishing process is a long and tiresome process. How long did it take you to get this idea for a book into an actual book that is now sold in stores? What were the biggest challenges along the way?
It has been a four-year process from concept to where we are today – and we are still working on getting it into the “bookstore pipeline”. Presently it is available through the Woodcrest bookstore, the publisher www.bridgelogos.com, my website www.pietervanwaarde.com and Amazon.
The biggest challenge was getting someone to actually consider publishing the manuscript. I was told time and again that my “platform” wasn’t big enough to merit consideration by the larger publishers. I have served in the same church for 17 years (haven’t moved around a lot). The church I serve qualifies as a “mega church” by numerical standards, but I am from a smaller city in mid-Missouri (hardly author haven). I don’t speak at large conferences (no national name recognition). Therefore, it took me over a year (after I completed the manuscript) to secure a publisher.
In addition, the world of publishing has gone through substantial transition over the last 10 years, and publishers are much more hesitant to take a risk on an “unknown” author. I heard many times that the quality of the manuscript is not the most significant variable in getting published. The more fundamental question is will enough people recognize the name on the cover. Piet Kok Van Waarde is not (yet) one of those names.
I am grateful that Bridge Logos was willing to take a risk on me, and I hope now that the book is “out there” the message will resonate with enough people that it will gain momentum through good-old-fashioned word-of-mouth.
What is your goal for your readers? What do you want them to take away from the book?
I hope the readers of the book “Unsettled” come away with experience three things in reading this book:
They will feel understood. In processing spiritual truth many people conclude that those who are talking about spiritual reality just don’t “get it”. They don’t understand or address the questions and concerns that average people process. This book goes there.
They will gain new vocabulary. Part of what makes navigating spiritual truth complicated is the fact that it is so hard to find the right words to describe what is really happening inside. If we don’t have the words it is hard to know what the real issues are – and what to do next. This book introduces images, ideas, and stories that are easily understood and readily identifiable for the average spiritual explorer as well as the devoted follower.
They will find encouragement. Living in a spiritually authentic way is hard work. In fact, the adage that this gets easier over time is actually an illusion. Not many people talk about that. This book does. More importantly, it outlines a way to work-through the various seasons of the spiritual journey without being judgmental, condescending or simplistic.
Why was it important for you to write Unsettled?
The book, “Unsettled”, was actually a product of my own unsettledness.
Sadly, I think Christianity (as typically practiced in modern day America) has lost its way. I think we have on many levels lost sight of what really matters. I think we can articulate and defend particular theological statements, but we have lost our moorings in terms of living out the faith.
Many modern Christians know how to argue about any number of theological/social issues – and I am not really interested in starting another argument – I just want to do my best job at getting our eyes back “on the ball”. I’m sure that sounds awfully presumptuous, who do I think I am that I can “set the record straight” for all of Christendom?
I want to be humble enough to say, I don’t know everything about what Christianity is supposed to be about, and I am still very much “in process” myself. However, I do think I can declare with confidence a few matters that are very much at the heart of Jesus’ teachings.
I think it has something to do with awakening… and searching… and doubting… and risking… and declaring… and holding
AND it has something to do with connecting meaningfully to a community! Which has something to do with learning to trust… learning to love… learning to serve… learning to own… and learning to extend
These became the chapters of the book unsettled.
This is your second published book, can we expect more to come?
Yes, if this book becomes a best seller, I’d love to write a book, Unfreakingbelievable!
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