Simple Tips for Church Writing: Part 1
Is it soul winning or soul-winning?
Because the term soul winning is not a widely used expression outside the Lord’s work, you might be hard pressed to find a definite guide for its formation, as it relates to writing. You might hear an explanation that makes sense one day, and then tomorrow you read another with as much logic as the previous but with a completely different standpoint! Which one do you follow? Is it soul winning or soul-winning?
Apart from the fact that the most important part of soul winning is actually doing it, how to go about writing it can be quite simple:
Write soul winning as two separate words when the term is functioning as a noun (to be a bit more specific, a gerund—but let’s save that for a rainy day).
Examples for soul winning:
• His personal time of soul winning has priority on his schedule.
• Each month, the church family participates in a Super Saturday of Soul Winning.
• “Soul winning is not a method; it is a command.” Dr. Jack Hyles
Write soul-winning as a hyphenated word when the term is functioning as an adjective.
Examples for soul-winning:
• Our Bible college students come from soul-winning churches.
• A great soul-winning resource is Winning Souls and Getting Them Down the Aisle by Dr. Curtis Hutson.
• “When is your soul-winning time?” he asked.
Notice how the formation of the term is based on how it is used in the sentence. Whereas, in the first section (noun), it is emphasized as the activity, the second section (adjective) has the term modifying or adding to something else—“soul-winning churches,” “a soul-winning resource,” “your soul-winning time.”
If, as mentioned at the beginning, you read something tomorrow that makes more sense but proposes a differing view, by all means, decide what you think is best. I think, sometimes, we pigeonhole ourselves into keeping to something that may or may not be as concrete as we would like it to be. After all, our very language is steeped in exceptions and modifications—but, again, we’ll save that for another day.
As long as you know what you’re basing your usage on—assuming that it comes from a veritable source, a good standard—and are consistent with that usage, you’ll be fine.