Previewing "The Next Thing"
An interview with Cecil Taylor
Our web team interviewed Cecil Taylor in advance of the release of his book and video series, The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life.
QUESTION: What inspired you to develop this book and video series?
CECIL’S ANSWER: It was my desire to share my learnings from various crises in my own life. Although, like everybody, I’ve experienced crises throughout my life, I noticed a couple of years ago that I was facing crisis after crisis, but I was handling them better than before. So it was really noticing what I was doing, and the entire work just emerged from that analysis.
I offer a four-part model for dealing with crisis. Interestingly, the four shook out very naturally. I never considered any other components than the four I present in The Next Thing.
As always, I take a practical faith perspective. That means that I show practical ideas that are paired with the scriptural underpinning. All four components are based on what I call "core passages," Biblical examples and other scripture passages.
QUESTION: Why is it called The Next Thing?
CECIL’S ANSWER: The term came from the worst day of my life, roughly 20 years ago. I start the book by telling this story. There was a moment that day when my wife Sara and I were sitting in a car, about to enter a very foreign environment to us, with no real knowledge of how to proceed. Sara asked me, “What are we going to do?” And I said, “We’re going to do the next thing. And then we’ll do the next thing after that, and the next thing after that.”
As it turns out, that is an excellent way to handle a crisis. Sometimes all you can think about, all you can focus on, all you can cope with, is the next thing in front of you. I outline a model for how to approach the next things that arrive in a crisis.
QUESTION: This is the first time you have written a book to pair with a video series. Why?
CECIL’S ANSWER: Well, we should start with why I haven’t done it before! I felt like my main focus was on providing video lessons to small groups and churches, and a book wasn’t as necessary. In addition, there are more barriers to entry in publishing than in creating videos.
However, through my experience with “The Legacy Tree” and “Live Like You’re Loved” video series, I realized that a video lesson can drift out of your memory. I wanted something that participants could take away to remember the lessons again and again. I want to make an impact in people’s lives, and I feel that’s easier to do by providing the material in multiple formats.
The video lessons are more streamlined and focused, geared toward fostering great discussions within a group of people. A book allows you more time and space to develop ideas, tell more stories.
I have to admit that I have also realized that there is a different market and a different need and a different experience for individual learners who may never see the videos.
QUESTION: What has been the early reaction to The Next Thing?
CECIL’S ANSWER: Great! Better than expected! I knew that crisis was a universal topic. What’s really been encouraging is that, in addition to churchgoers, I’m getting positive reaction from non-churchgoers and even non-Christians. People are looking for help on how to approach a crisis, and they seem willing to hear the “Christian stuff” as long as they are getting practical information. As with all of my material, which emphasizes a 7-day practical faith, I believe that my concepts work best in a Christian context, but because Christianity is practical, since Jesus was practical, the concepts can apply to anybody.
QUESTION: Do you have any favorite stories that have emerged so far?
CECIL’S ANSWER: I have two that stand out. First, I asked a fellow church member, Pat Warren, to review my book before I sent it to the publisher. Pat had recently lost her special needs daughter, and I knew she had endured numerous crises in her life. I wanted her to cry “foul” if I was spouting theoretical stuff that wasn’t practical in a crisis.
Instead, I was so relieved when Pat told me, “Your analogy of the next thing is perfect! Absolutely perfect.” Later, Pat wrote an eloquent testimonial for me, part of which appears on the book’s back cover. When I received her glowing testimonial, tears came to my eyes. I turned to Sara and said, “What have I done?”
My other favorite story was when Sara and I returned from a European vacation, and I sat next to a middle-aged California widow who had just scattered her husband’s ashes in the French Alps. She told me about losing her husband to pancreatic cancer, then facing breast cancer herself. She felt that she had been stuck in grief for the two years since he passed.
It seemed like a God-appointment. I started sharing my own recent experience of losing my mother and how I applied the principles that I had developed for The Next Thing. I shared some key concepts from The Next Thing that applied well to her specific situation. Later, she promised to buy a copy and had me “sign” it in advance by writing a note on her boarding pass that she will insert in the book!
But even better, she came away feeling she would be able to press the reset button on her life when she returned home. She felt like she had a strategy for resolving her grief and moving on.
I have such passion for this project! I told Sara afterward, “I don’t know how successful The Next Thing will be. But I do know it will be powerful.”