An “avatar” is a person, real or imagined, who represents an author’s primary audience for the message of their book. This applies to speakers, too. When crafting a talk, the communicator should always be thinking of “the one” with whom they hope to connect.
I didn't know a thing about avatars when I was writing The Covenant Story over a decade ago. But I did, very definitely, have an intended audience. I was writing for my future sons. “Future” meaning the adult versions of my growing boys, who were at the time in the neighborhood of t(w)eens. (Although I didn’t yet know it, I was also writing for my future adopted sons, who were yet a dream known only to God!) My greatest desire was to launch all of my guys into young adulthood with a deep understanding of the covenant love of their faithful God.
Fast forward. I am now at a point where the Avatar really and truly matters. I am being asked on a regular basis to identify my “intended audience.” To whom am I marketing? To whom am I speaking? Who is the one person in my imagination for whom this message matters?
Of course, I’d love to say God has given this message for everyone. Or at least a following as diverse as my Facebook Friends. (Which on second thought might be a bit of a wakeup call, since my most enthusiastic followers tend to be our moms and their friends.) But alas. This “everybody” mindset is the first thing to be squelched by the marketing experts. Nobody’s audience is everyone.
So. Who is it?
Well. I did indeed write this book for my “future” sons. The book will be dedicated to them. Young men now in their twenties. Somewhere in the overlap of Millennials to Gen Z. Young adults. And I believe this is the age demographic (if not the gender) of my avatar-audience.
The book God whispered into my thoughts and compelled me to write over a decade ago is a book that answers some important questions, especially relevant to this generation:
Is God good, and can I trust him?
Can I trust the Bible?
Does the God of the Bible actually make a difference in my here-and-now life?
This weekend I hung out with a dear young friend, who at times has been the female version of my avatar. I listened for these questions in our conversations, and I believe I heard them. And I had the opportunity to respond to some of her questions with bits and piece of my cherished covenant story…
If you are reading this post… The Covenant Story: Trusting the Love of a Faithful God is also for you. According to the book’s back cover:
The Covenant Story is a breathtaking picture of the covenant relationship we all can share with the faithful God who loves us, who never ceases to be for us, and who has promised to never abandon us. This is The Covenant Story—and it is the story we are invited to enter.
Yes, my book does have an intended audience, but the actual covenant story found within the grand narrative of scripture is literally for everyone. It is a story all of us are invited to enter. It is a story FOR YOU.
I was in my early 30’s—a young adult myself—when God first showed me this story. I had grown up devoted to God and loving Jesus, but something was missing. I was “caught up in my P’s”—people pleasing, pride, performance—attempting to live life through my own perfection. And it wasn’t working.
“For a long time, I lived like an old-covenant Christian… I believed in God. I even believed God. And yet the veil still covered my heart and my eyes, so I was completely unaware that I was living in the strength of my own flesh.”
But then something radical happened to me. A crisis and a miracle of such proportions, it changed me in ways I had to explain…
“Jesus knew who we would be—our struggles, our choices, our thoughts, our actions. He knew we could never enter the new covenant life by our own strength, in our own goodness. But he is for us. He offers us his Spirit. He offers to fill us to overflowing with his life. He wants to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. He wants to be our perfect covenant partner.”
This is the story ALL of us are invited to enter. And so I ask you again—
Are you ready to enter this story with me?
Quotes are from The Covenant Story: Trusting the Love of a Faithful God—available in print August 2022.