5 Benefits of a Blogging Pastor

I was first introduced to the bold new concept of a blogging pastor by the book “The Blogging Church.” Much has transpired since that time, but one thing remains the same: Blogging can be an effective tool for pastors and churches if used wisely. I have a few years of blogging experience under my belt and have enjoyed reading the blogs that my Pastor and others have produced. More recently I took somewhat of a long blogging vacation (more than a year on this blog) and I noticed that I was still constantly referring people to my blog posts (not for vanity sake, but because I thought what I posted would be truly helpful them). I composed this list of five benefits of a blogging pastor not only as a reflection on how I use my blog and other bloggers have influenced me, but also as a reminder to keep blogging for the sake of those I shepherd as well as those whom I have never met.

To Help Your People Facing a Cultural Issue. Our culture is moving and changing at a rapid pace. Often times our folks have had a week at the water cooler to discuss issues before they ever walk in the door on Sunday (and that’s just your regular attendees). Many are struggling to figure out where to embrace and where to challenge culture. It’s easy to be right on an issue, but wrong on an approach. Having a blog can be a great outlet for pastors to address cultural issues from a biblical perspective. Not just being right on the issue, but also seeking to demonstrate a godly approach. I was deeply impressed and somewhat glad when my pastor posted his thoughts on issues pertaining to the Boy Scouts of America this past year. Though I don’t yet have a Boy Scout, I know his insights were helpful to those trying to form an intelligent opinion about the issues at stake.

Your Blog is Available When You Aren’t. Pastors are busy people. Much busier than most people would expect (but that’s another post). The more people that you have a charge over the harder it can be to have a conversation about important topics or issues. Having a blog is like having another preaching post. It helps put you in front of people (even when you can’t be… like at 3AM in the morning). It also provides a great place to send people who are dealing with issue. “I blogged about that last year, check out the article I wrote and then let’s sit down and talk about it over coffee.”

Share Resources with Your Congregation. Having a blog allows you to share resources with your congregation. Whether you are sharing about a good book, blogging on a cultural issue, or just sharing links to resources and posts by other authors, a blog can be a great place to house those referrals. For example if you are speaking on spiritual gifts, you can link to several other articles or spiritual gifts surveys or if you are challenging people to pray for the nations, you can link to several mission sights. Even if you write a blog post quoting from other sights and link to them, you are broadening the horizon of those who follow your blog and giving them resources they might not otherwise have had.

Deal With Issues or Questions that May be Under the Surface. Often times a pastor is aware of issues that lurk in the shadows but may have a difficult time finding the proper forum to address it. A blog allows a pastor to begin a dialogue that can lead to more personal discussion offline. I’ve found that many of my posts dealing with various issues from pornography to leading a family devotional time have allowed folks to talk more freely about issues or concerns they have offline.  Quite often I’ve heard the words, “I saw on your blog the other day…”

To Engage with A Variety of People. One of the neat things that hosting a blog has done for me is to allow me to see things from outside my box. What I mean is that I get the benefit of hearing from atheists, Muslims, people living in different cultures, places, etc. When they are generous enough to leave a comment or question on my blog I am better informed on how they perceive what I write. Opening up the conversation to those who are outside of my worldview not only tests the integrity of my worldview but also provides a unique opportunity to engage in a conversation over issues that are too often just left to insiders.

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive. What are some of the other benefits of a blogging pastor that you have noticed? If you’re a pastor and have a blog, I’d love to check it out. Please feel free to share a link in the comments (or if your pastor has a pretty great blog, share his blog address in the comments).

Here are some links to the pastor friends that I follow:

Chris Aiken

Gerald Kirby

My Goals for 2012

Last week I wrote a blog post sharing 5 keys to Making and Keeping your New Year Resolutions. This week it’s time to go public with my own resolutions.  I was inspired to really make progress towards getting physically fit this year by The Show Me Cajun. I don’t know that I’ll be posting my progress as much as he is, but I will be checking in on his blog every week for inspiration and encouragement.  So without further ado, here are my goals for 2012:

Targus Stylus and Pen (Amazon Affiliate Link)

1. Lose 75 Pounds (That’s about 1.5 lbs a week). I’ll be keeping up with my eating habits by tracking all of my calories through the lose it app on my iphone and working out at the gym 3 days a week and of course goal number two won’t hurt either. Of course I’m checking in with my Doctor and already have a check up scheduled for early January.

2. Walk/ Run 500 miles (that’s about 10 miles a week). Just four laps around my neighborhood is a 5k (3.2 miles). I plan on walking the neighborhood at least three times a week and plan to walk on the treadmill at the gym on the days that the weather prohibits me from walking outside. I also plan on using the from the couch to the 5k to get into running shape and be running the 5k each morning by May.

3. Write 200 pages on a book manuscript (that’s about than 4 pages a week.) I’ll be sharing my progress here in a similar fashion to what I did with my goal to read 100 books last year.  Though I won’t share the full manuscript initially, I will share excerpts and let you know where I am in the process.

4. Write 3 blog posts or more a week. My blogging has come in spurts. Some weeks I post every day, other times I’ve gone almost a full month between posts. I hope by setting a minimum number per week that I’ll have a goal and be more faithful.

How about you? What are your goals? Any advice on mine?

3 Things I’d Do Over If I Were Starting My Blog Today!

So I’ve been blogging here on wordpress for just around 3 years and I got to thinking… What would I do different if I were to start a blog today? In essence what have I learned? While I have learned many lessons from blogging, three stick out to me the most:

1. Write for a Broader Audience in Mind. Many of my posts are very specific in nature to an audience with a specific palate. While I think these posts relevant and good I think they would have been better had I written them with a larger audience in mind. For example the following posts are pretty theological in nature, but what would they look like had I been sensitive to people outside of my religious background? I wouldn’t water down the content, but perhaps clarify terms and be sensitive to “outsider” reading.

2. Use points and embolden text more often. Many people will skim the article to see if it has the content they are looking for. Points and emboldened text highlight the main message of your article and allow people to perceive you message. This also helps clarify my writing. When I know that I’m trying to pull out specifically meaningful content it changes the way I write and I’m told that I communicate better.

3. Interact more with other bloggers. My first few years of blogging I stayed minimally connected to a few other bloggers. I wish I had reached out more, commented on other sites and developed friendships with other bloggers earlier in my writing.

So what about you? If you were given a few do-overs what would you do different? Any Advice you would add?

An Open Letter Advocating the Rights of Arrogant People


I want to be honest with you.  Gut level honest.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of people throwing out words on the internet that lack substance.  Words that attack character instead of the issues.  Words that avoid the issues.  Words like “You’re arrogant,” “You’re full of Crap,” “You’re an idiot,” Etc.

1st. Those are empty words because they are an attack on character. I don’t log onto your blog and call you an idiot for your beliefs.  I will, however, debate your beliefs and point out how inconsistent it is to say “science” as if there were a collective authoritative body of work that always agrees and never disagrees with itself. That’s an issue.  Calling me arrogant is an attempt to move the argument from issue to my character.  You may feel like you don’t have to substantiate you position if I let you assassinate my character.

2nd. In most cases arrogance is a generalization.  I get called arrogant or full of crap just because I’m a Christian and I publish views that reflect my beliefs.  If you have called me arrogant, you probably don’t know me.  By generalizing me and others that are similar into a category of arrogance you are again are avoiding the issue.  You create a rule for yourself in which it is okay to treat me and my opinions as sub-par because you have placed me in a category of “full of crap.”  I dare you to argue the issues with me.

3rd. I know where this goes.  You are not the first one to level this kind argument (that isn’t an argument at all).  Its been used throughout history.  Perhaps the Nazi’s exploited this tactic best when creating propaganda against the Jews.  How do you discredit an entire race that for a large part enjoys culture and status with in your country?  You create a stigma about them and assassinate character. The saddest part of the story is that otherwise decent and moral people stood by while awful things were being said and done to their Jewish neighbors.

My only question then is how long?   How long until you deem that those that are “full of crap” don’t have a right to express their opinions on the internet?  How long until the “idiots” should stop using up earth’s precious resources?

To all my Christian brothers and sisters who feel the need to comment on someone else’s blog.  Arrogance is not an intelligent argument.  Nobody has ever been won over to a cause be being called arrogant or stupid.  Just because someone is an atheist, agnostic, etc. does not mean that they are arrogant or ignorant.  Politely argue the facts.

Just a commentary on the obvious here: arrogance is when someone believes that they are smarter or superior to you.  To claim that someone else is arrogant (to a 3rd party… like the audience of a blog) you are claiming to be smarter or superior to them.  In essence to claim the arrogance of someone else (to a 3rd party) is in a very real sense to present yourself as arrogant.  Satan is a perfect picture of this.  He argues to Adam and Eve that God is in a sense arrogant because he is keeping them from being like him.  The irony here is that Satan was kicked out of Heaven for trying to arrogantly usurp the throne of God.

The only one who has the right to judge arrogance is God.  He sees the heart clearly.

Time and space won’t allow for further comment so let me just make a few points of context.  There is a difference between being called arrogant and being called full of crap.  Perhaps as time permits I’ll handle the “crap” issue.  This blog post comes in response to several comments that I have received in the past and will receive in the future.  I do not publish all comments to this blog.  I hold back the really negative ones and don’t allow people to attack the character of the people who write comments on my blog.  There are a few instances where I have allowed personal attacks on myself (never on those supplying comment) that are mild in nature. I include a link to one here.  Most are deleted.

Tell Me About Your Blog

One of the reasons I started blogging was to interact with a wider audience.  I enjoy getting to know people.  At the same time I have some ideas that I hope are an encouragement and blessing to others.  That is the nature of blogging.

Today I have decided to expand my blog a little and include some links to other blogs.  Many of you who read and check by here have blogs of your own.  I would love to know about them, check them out, and possibly add them to a blog list on my site.

So Leave a Comment about your Blog

All I need from you is your URL and a little information about your blog.  Is it a blog about books? Nascar? a Family blog? etc.  Later in the week and as I have time to check out blogs I will create a page with the list of blogs. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing your blogs.

How to Get Free Books (Part 3)

I first learned about the Blogger Review Program from Nav Press by searching their website to see if they offered free books for review.  I eventually found the Blogger Review page.  I signed up immediately and with in a few weeks got my first book to review.

The Blogger Review program is a decent program.  It is a little difficult to work your way around the page at first, but eventually I caught on and was able to place an order.  You basically send an e-mail and then order the book using a special promo code that they give you. You write a review and post on your blog.

Strengths to the Program

You Get Free Books

You Get to choose which book you Review

They generally update books to choose from near the beginning of the Month

Weaknesses

The Selection is small (usually about 4 books)

Learning how to order can be a challenge at first

I highly recommend the Blogger Review Program program if you read about a book a month or are looking to suplament your other reading material.  So far I have received and written reviews for 1 book through Nav Press. Compared to the other programs I give it a 3 out of 5.

How To Get Free Books (Part 1)

How to Get Free Books (Part 2)

7 Benefits to Blogging

I started blogging a little over a year ago.  At first my attempt was just to develop a habit of keeping people informed.  God’s done some really cool things in my life and I thought that blogging would be a great way to share.  Since then I have discovered many other benefits to blogging.  Below is my list.

1. To share about what God has done and is doing in my life

2. To provide a place to share resources I have found along the way

3. To record my thoughts on a particular topic (like forgiveness)

4. To become better at reading and writing

5. To get free books and share my thoughts (like books from publishing companies)

6. To give away free books (because they were free for me)

7. To share my response to Movies and Cultural Events

That is me.  What about you?  If you have a blog, what benefits do you get (or hope to get) from blogging?  I would love to know.  Weigh in.  Leave a comment.