I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word “blog.” It sounded like my friend burped. And the concept sounded about as stupid. That was years ago, and—well, it is self-evident that the concept caught on, not only for me but for millions of others. We live in a day when everybody and their brother has a blog. And like every other form of media or communication—blogging has its positives and negatives in contributing to daily life on earth.
Some people blog for business reasons. Some blog for family. Some blog for gossip and criticism. Some blog for platform or personal “branding.” For better or worse, blogging is here. And here’s why and how I jumped in:
Reasons I Blog:
1. To Glorify the Lord Jesus—I desire for every single opportunity for ministry and every single word of ministry to honor the Lord Jesus. To me, social networking and blogging are purely and simply ministry opportunities.
2. To Encourage Others—I remember sitting down to think of a name for this blog and immediately thought of “Encouraging Words.” I wanted something “cooler” but came up with nothing but blanks! I am encouraged by reading the blogs of friends, so perhaps I can return the favor. It’s that simple.
3. To Pass Along Helpful Information—A lot of my friends in ministry exchange ideas and questions back and forth. It occurred to me that a blog would be a reasonable place to post such questions/thoughts that might help others in similar situations.
4. To Inform Ministry Friends of Resources—I desired a way to inform friends when our ministry is introducing a new book, curriculum, or resource.
5. To Have a Place to Share Ministry Experiences—My ministry learning curve is still HUGE, I realize that. But I still enjoy posting some learning experiences here that might help someone in ministry who is younger than me.
6. To Protect My Name Online—This is perhaps the last of all reasons, but occasionally I am slandered online. Why should I give Google results to someone who is lying about me?
7. To Grow in Writing—Sitting down to write here, on my personal time, helps me grow, think, and stretch myself. Some people golf. Others boat. Some play the stock market. Everybody has some sort of hobby or interest that helps them disconnect and restore. One of mine is writing.
8. To Communicate with Friends/Family—This was especially helpful when I was battling cancer. Being able to update people easily was a blessing.
9. To Promote Biblical Living—I figure it this way. There are lots of negative, back-biting, mean-spirited Christians online. Why should we let them dominate? For a few minutes a week, I’d like to be an encouraging online voice for those who would like to read.
10. To Promote Biblical Ministry—God still blesses the principles of His Word in ministry, and I enjoy sharing how he’s doing that at our church.
11. To Leave a Life Message Behind–This might sound simplistic, but I don’t expect to live forever. In fact, after this year, I’m just glad to still be here right now. Perhaps the things posted here can outlast me in some way for a good purpose.
NOT Reasons I Blog:
1. I don’t blog to gain a following or readership—I really have no clear strategy for building readership. That’s in God’s hands, and if you show up here on some regular basis, I am grateful!
2. I don’t blog to earn money—lots of bloggers do so for side income. That’s fine. I don’t.
3. I don’t blog to appear to be someone or something I am not—Sometimes this is a matter of the reader’s perception. But just for clarity, I am nothing and Jesus is everything.
4. I don’t blog to pass myself off as an expert—Again, this is a perception thing. There is no area of my life in which I have “arrived” or in which it’s all under control. It’s only by God’s grace that I am ever allowed a voice of any kind. Personal experiences are shared here, not in arrogance or pride, but in a spirit of transparency. I’m just a growing Christian struggling as much as the next guy trying to serve the Lord—nothing more.
5. I don’t blog to strategize my online presence or brand—I hear these terms every now and then, and for some, I guess that’s fine. But I couldn’t care less about my personal “brand”—whatever that is.
6. I don’t blog to promote self or build my own platform—this is another term I hear or see sometimes. Platform might be a great goal for someone in secular work—someone trying to build a public speaking career. For ministry, I think the best platform is “He must increase and I must decrease.”
7. I don’t blog to impress anyone—Again—a perception thing. You could read a post and think, “Who does this guy think he is?” Or you could read it and think, “Well, I’m really glad he shared those thoughts.” It’s sort of up to you, but again for clarity—I am nothing and Jesus is everything. Be impressed with HIM.
How I Blog:
1. On personal time—This is not something I do during “work hours”—my daily efforts to serve the Lord in ministry at my church. It’s a personal hobby that refreshes me and brings some purpose to (and something productive from) my “disconnected” times.
2. As an overflow of my own spiritual growth—A long time ago, God just put on my heart to share stuff He teaches me. I guess that’s a call to preach or teach. I’m not sure. I just know God compels me to transfer His truth to others in a way that makes the light-bulb go on in my own head. Teaching or preaching is a part of that. Writing is too.
3. About subjects that I face in the trenches of ministry—Someone asked me years ago, “Do you ever see yourself writing full time?” I laughed and said, “What would I write about?” It goes this way—I want to wake up, love my family, serve God, and encourage people every day. From those experience in the trenches of life and ministry, if I learn something or come across something helpful, I want to pass it on to others.
4. In a spirit of friendship, encouragement, and humility—Learning from others goes both directions. I learn from people older and younger than me. I learn from people with more experience and from those with less. Everything shared in this blog is simply offered from a heart that desires to be helpful.
5. In collaboration with daily ministry, not competition with it—I think this one speaks for itself.
6. Typically only publishing a post after I’ve re-edited it multiple times over several days or weeks.
7 . With limited time investment—frankly, I just don’t have a lot of time to do this. My target is a few minutes a week and about one post per week. Sometimes I hit that, sometimes less or more (thanks to reposts!) This is really just an overflow of baseline ministry.
So there you have it—why and how I blog—for what it’s worth.
One day at the judgement seat of Christ, lots of Christians are going to be ashamed of how they gossiped and hurt others through online communication—blogs, tweets, posts, status updates, etc. Lots of people will be embarrassed by the silliness, carnality, and human emotions that they hastily and carelessly threw online. Others will be surprised to discover how carnal and unChristlike their spirit was.
Influence is a stewardship that we should take seriously for Christ. Online and off—determine to steward your influence wisely for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ and for the edification, equipping, and encouragement of anyone gracious enough to stop and read.