Former guild president steps up to fill the void with new nonprofit to train writers following CWG closure
The Christian Writers Guild (CWG) dissolved in November after 50 years in business. Author Jerry B. Jenkins has owned and operated CWG for 14 years, and in 2013, launched a custom publishing house bearing the guild’s name, Christian Writers Guild Publishing.
Aiming to “train tomorrow’s Christian professional writers,” CWG had more than 1,000 members worldwide, according to its Facebook page. The guild ran an email correspondence course and assigned each student a seasoned professional to mentor them throughout the program. CWG also operated the Writing for the Soul conference.
Several months prior to the dissolution, Jenkins and Sheets began exploring the idea that the educational model of the guild was better suited to nonprofit environment, considering the economy.
“I’m a bit melancholy, but I have a heart full of wonderful memories too,” Jenkins said in a posting to CWG’s site after the closure decision was made. “It’s been a great ride. I’ve been blessed to be able to give back to an industry that has been so good to me, and it’s been a privilege to help train thousands of writers and try to restock the pool of Christian authors.”
With a belief in “finishing well,” Jenkins promised CWG members that they would receive all of the benefits that came with membership.
Dave Sheets, former CWG president, and Rebeca Seitz, CEO of Spirit of Naples, a nonprofit developer of Christian content creators, formed the nonprofit BelieversTrust to “fill the void” left after CWG’s closure.
Believers Trust is part of TheBelieversGroup, which also includes BelieversMedia, which will provide publishing services. Seitz will run BelieversTrust from Naples, Florida, and Sheets will run BelieversMedia from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Julie Boynton, former marketing coordinator for CWG, also joined the staff of BelieversTrust.
Believers Trust also formed a strategic alliance with Word Weavers International, an 18-year-old writers organization founded and led by author Eva Marie Everson.
All critiques offered by BelieversTrust will be provided by Word Weavers-trained teachers. The Word Weavers critique method, co-created by Everson, is known for its effectiveness and clarity.
Everson also wrote the BelieversTrust “How to Write a Novel” course and will teach its first class this month. —Johnson