An Unlikely Missionary and An Interview Encouraging You to Kick Apathy in the Pants

Dan King wrote a book called The Unlikely Missionary: From Pew-Warmer to Poverty-Fighter. It’s about Dan, but it’s also about little, ‘ol you and me using our average abilities to serve one, amazing God.

Dan is here with us today (insert loud whoot-whoots!) to share about his book, school us on microfinance, discuss his highs and lows of self-publishing, and encourage readers to give apathy a good kick in the pants. Here’s Dan.

1. Describe yourself in three words. redeemed. faithful. driven.

2.  Describe The Unlikely Missionary in three sentences. A big God changed my life, and gave me purpose and direction. This is my story about how I broke away from lukewarm Christianity, and stepped into that purpose and direction. It’s my prayer that my little story would spark something in other people too, helping them break away and step into a life worthy of the gift we’ve been given.

3.  In The Unlikely Missionary, you state you struggled with direction, purpose, and mediocrity when you first started blogging. Do you have advice for those who show up and pound out words in an attempt to encourage others and honor God, but still feel they fall short?
That’s a good question. What did it for me is finding something to be passionate about… I mean really passionate about. In the book I talk about how participating in a Blog Action Day discussion on poverty started driving things for me. Once I started writing about it, I knew that I couldn’t just stop. Then once I found that issue to be passionate about, I started telling the stories of others who were doing good work. Essentially, I became a blogger/advocate for a few folks. That in turn resulted in me taking a trip to Africa with one of those organizations. 

So as far as advice is concerned, I guess it would be to tell other people’s stories. Find the heroes in the fights that you’re concerned about. Talk about them. Give them time and space to share themselves a little bit. And more than anything else, don’t ever underestimate the power of the stories you’ll share… you’re not falling short. God doesn’t always call us to change the world, but to influence those we can influence. And if you touch one heart… one life… with your efforts, then it’s totally worth it!

4.  I believe microfinance has the potential to stomp all over extreme poverty. In your book, you discuss Five Talents International, a microfinance ministry. Will you give us a quick rundown on microfinance and tell us what makes Five Talents unique? Dude… microfinance is great, when it’s done right. The basic idea is that you can give someone a small loan, often to by a tool or piece of equipment, and you’ve just helped someone create a situation where they can earn money. Often the loans can go for as little as $50 or $100, and I’ve seen microfinance really change some lives in a big way. The thing I liked so much about Five Talents is that as a faith-based organization, they looked well beyond the loan itself. First, everything they do is based in the local church. They believe it’s important to feed the spirit first. And they also recognize the importance of feeding the mind. That’s how I ended up in Africa with them… I was a part of some Christian business skills classes that we taught to people in the loan programs. These basic business skills helped them be even more successful with the loans they received. 

5. always leaves me inspired. What is your goal with this website? What steps should writers who are interested in guest posting take to write for Whew… goals… ummm… mostly to just be real. My whole thing on the site (as it is in the book) is that I’m just a dude like any other dude (or dudette) sitting in the church with a desire to grow closer to God, and to live a life that pleases Him. I believe that there are three things that make someone a “bible dude” (not gender-specific), and that’s that we read, pray, and serve. So those are the conversations we try to have. And while the site started as a personal blog, I recognize that any good Christian is all about community. So we’re more of a multi-author site now. And that’s great! I love the variety of voices there being a part of this conversation! It’s way better than just forcing people to listen to me ramble on…

If anyone is interested in writing for us, then just let us know! I’m always open to new writers and new conversations. I have a page on the site that outlines how to submit your idea… 

I’m also starting another new project with The Unlikely Missionary. I want to hear other people’s “unlikely missionary” stories, whether they are related to local ministry, community outreach, or global missions. I want to share the stories of people who, like me, found themselves being used by a big God in ways they never expected. And some of these stories may find their way into my next book in the series. Here’s how people can share their story…

6.  The Unlikely Missionary is an book you put out yourself. Can you share a few highs and lows of development of this book? This is a fine question. I’ve learned a LOT about publishing from going through the process of self-publishing The Unlikely Missionary. Believe it or not, I actually turned down an offer from a publisher to print it for me. I just had some very specific plans for how I wanted to use it, and going with the publisher would have really slowed things down and prevented me from doing certain strategic stuff I wanted to do. But the even better news is that the publisher then offered me a contract to write another book with them! And since then, I’ve even secured a contract for a third book with a major publisher! So lots of good momentum came from putting this first project out there!

On the down-side, it hasn’t been exactly flying off the shelves. I’ve found that it’s much harder to sell a book than it is to write one. But the good news with that is that perseverance pays off! Now 10 months into it’s release, The Unlikely Missionary is having it’s best month of sales distribution yet! It’s still not close to being a New York Times best seller, but I definitely feel like it’s best days are still ahead.

7.  If people want to get their hot, little hands on your book, where can they find it?

The easiest way is to get it on Amazon (both in Kindle and print format). It’s also available on Nook. 

Finish these sentences:

I am always inspired by these blogs…

I’m a big fan of LOTS of blogs that I find through network. But one in particular that I really dig is my friend Jennifer Lee’s blog called Gettin’ Down With Jesus. I really think that her and I are long lost twins, because sometimes what she writes is exactly what’s on my heart.

The song that makes me want to get up and dance is...
That’s easy! Louder by Dominic Balli. 
When I feel stuck in writing I…
Crank up the tunes playing in my “HOT” playlist, rock out for a sec, praise Him for what He’s blessed me with, and things usually start flowing.
My advice for wanna-be world changers…
is to simply not accept apathy. It’s just not an option. Someone asked me once how I can handle doing what I do in places like Haiti. My response is that after seeing it, how can I not. And that concept doesn’t apply just to poverty in third-world countries. It can apply to the homeless guy hanging out at the park down the street, or the broken man/women at work who’s life is falling apart and needs someone to talk to. Whatever it is… just do it.
I think social media is…
an amazing tool to help us tell the stories of redemption that we encounter while we’re out there changing the world. That’s what book #2 is about! You’ll have to wait a little while before you can get more of my thoughts on that subject!
A cool organization working to make impact on the world…
is Help One Now. I’m actually leading a team of writers/bloggers with Help One Now down to Haiti in the Fall. We’ve got a really exciting crew with people like Jen Hatmaker, Kristen Howerton, and Mary DeMuth, just to name a few! But aside from that team, Help One Now is doing some incredible work, and I’m excited to be working more with them!

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Whew. Good stuff, right?

If you want to read more from Dan, be sure to check out his book, visit, or find him on Twitter.

If you are excited to hear more from world-changing, ebook authors, stay tuned. A line-up of fun guests is headed your way.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Always looking for great, thought-provoking books like this!! Thanks!

    Also, since you are in the know, any good family devotional-type books you can recommend. Would like to read one each Sunday and have a discussion with our family after reading one. Please e-mail me any suggestions you may have. I found one: Long Story Short.

  • Wow – this post is packed with amazing thoughts and advice. I’m going to head over and see more about this book and your blog — people who are passionate about God and what He has for them usually knock my socks off.

  • Thank you for sharing with us Dan King 🙂 I am inspired. I have always been intrigued by the whole microfinance concept. It seems like it could really change the world. I have some exploring to do now because I’ve visited maybe one or two of the sites you mentioned. Thanks for the information, and I look forward to checking out your book!

    Oh, and A.? I like the guest posting idea. I look forward to more 🙂

  • So much good stuff packed in this post! Love the idea of microfinance and Help One Now – hadn’t heard of them, but will be sure to check it out.

    I’ll admit, I’m guilty of being apathetic at times. Sometimes I wonder if the little bit of good I can do makes much difference? Thanks for the inspiration to do something!

  • Thanks for guest posting here, Dan!

    This post is packed with goodness, but I especially like your answer to question #3.

    Tell people’s stories. It’s all about the stories.

    I tend to go practical and sometimes forget about the stories. I want people to find their passion, and so I’m all about sharing new ideas or pointing others to organizations doing cool things, but often I forget about the stories. I need to remember that.

    Also, thanks for sharing about self-publishing. Good info from someone who has been there, and wow, exciting things are coming up. God is doing some pretty big things with a guy who calls himself average!

  • Thanks everyone! And especially thanks to Amy for inviting me to share! It’s always an honor to have opportunities like this!

    Lori and Jamie… The microfinance stuff is powerful. But it really needs to be done right in order to be effective. In my upcoming book (due out in 2013) with NavPress I’ll have a chapter that digs much deeper into this whole concept. Pretty cool stuff…

    LOVD and Jen… I’m glad I could spark something for you!

    Amy… Stories… that’s what book #2 (also due out in 2013) is all about… I’ll try to hook you up with a copy. Don’t let me forget!

  • Great interview.

  • Awesome, awesome. So many great links to click on. Great ideas here–thanks for the motivation to get up and do something more.

  • Amy, I’m so excited to meet Dan and read his book. Any guy who loves Getting Down With Jesus Jen is my kind of guy! I can’t wait to check out all these links he shared, too. Umm… when I send my kids back to school maybe!

    Hope you’re savoring summer! It’s always great to stop by here.

  • this post is F.U.L.L.!!!
    love it, for anything that encourages, inspires, and motivates me from a life of apathy. . . is well worth the read. so many resources in this one spot to draw from. i’m guessing i’ll have to come back or bookmark it or something! 🙂
    thanks, dan!

  • So many good things here.
    Loved this “God doesn’t always call us to change the world, but to influence those we can influence.” great reminder and one I need to hear often.
    I am excited to check out Five Talents.
    Thanks Dan!

  • I’m forwarding this on to lots of like-minded believers. Thanks Dan & Amy!

  • Anonymous

    Right now I feel like God has forgotten me. I have in the past felt a calling to go to Africa but, not now. Today I feel like I am sinking in a pit and no one cares. I know God cares but, he is putting too much pressure on me to go and do. I am living in Colorado and cannot find a place to live I have a job but, no place. In this other city I have a place to live but, no job. I like your story but, was wondering how in the world did you know for sure God was calling you to Africa?