Over the past few years I’ve had people ask me if I think they should start a blog. While there’s no “right” answer to that question, I’ve come up with a few principles to determine whether or not you should start a blog.
1. If you love to write, blog.
One of the best ways to craft your skill as a writer is by blogging. Tell your stories, share your poems, express your passions and most of all, challenge yourself to be better at it. Writing is like a candle; meant to be seen, not tucked away in your sock drawer.
2. If you’re a church leader, blog.
Really, if you’re a leader in general. But definitely if you’re a church leader, pastor, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, worship leader. Wherever you’re gifting in church is, take your passion, knowledge and skill and begin a blog. As a pastor or youth leader your blog can enhance your message. As a worship leader you have great potential to write powerful worship-filled devotional thoughts. Those whom God has called you to servant-shepherd, who already trust you enough to let you lead them one day a week, will likely trust you and be encouraged by what you write too.
3. If you want to be a published author, blog.
I spoke to someone not long ago who’s writing a book of Christian apologetics. He’s a minister in a church here in town, but unknown in the grand scheme of things. My suggestion to him was to start a blog. It might seem redundant (why would someone publish me if I’m publishing myself on line?), but the truth of the matter is, in today’s competitive world, publishers are more willing to risk on someone who has established a platform to promote their own book, it cuts down on the risk. Off the top of my head I can think of a dozen published authors who were bloggers first (Trevin Wax, Pete Wilson, Adrian Warnock, Rachel Held Evans, to name a few). If you want to be a published author, be a blog author first.
4. If you have a message that needs to be heard, blog.
If you resonate with Jeremiah when he said Gods “word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.” If you have something important to say, start a blog.
5. If you have a skill, blog.
Some of the most successful people know the power of knowledge. It enables them to climb the “corporate ladder” and to leap-frog over the other guy by harbouring what you know and using your knowledge and skill against other people. That is the way of the world, but not the way of the Kingdom of God. If you have a skill, start a blog. Provide weekly tips on carpentry, on computers, on knitting, on cooking, on singing. Whatever your skill is, share it. Start a blog.
Keep in mind though that blogging is hard work. Many pastors I speak with say they don’t have time to blog. It’s demanding. I get that. So if you want to start a blog, but don’t have much time, here’s what I suggest. Write an article a minimum of once a week and a max of four to five times (unless you go full time, as some have done after they’ve successfully monetized their blog). Once a week is plenty for a pastor or leader and they already have the meat of what to say – their sermon. Just fill in some gaps, elaborate on some points, answer some questions (now there’s a great idea: have your parishioners or students submit questions about your lesson and then answer them midweek in a blog).
But blogging is not for everyone. So while I’m at it, here are a few principles to determine if you should not blog.
1. If you have an axe to grind, don’t blog.
The internet is filled with angry people ready to jump and hammer anyone who holds to a different opinion than they. Don’t be one of them. If you have an axe to grind, check your heart and give it some time. Make sure you go into blogging for the right reasons, and with the right attitude.
2. If you never see your family, don’t blog.
Blogging can be consuming. I know. Sometimes I would go several days without spending any real quality time with my wife. It’s terrible. Nothing in this world is more important than the people you see face to face every day. If you don’t have time for those people because “I have to write another article” or “I have to response to this person”, don’t blog.
3. If you are always on your blog even when your not on your blog, don’t blog.
There’s been times, my wife’s told me, when even when we’re out together somewhere I have one thing on my mind: my next article. That’s a bad thing. Never let the “cyber-world” rob you of real-world pleasures and people.
4. If you’re not a good communicator, don’t blog.
You’ll frustrate both yourself – because you can’t say what you want to say clear enough for your readers to understand what you want to say – and your reader – because they’ll think you don’t make any sense even if in your own mind you do.
5. If you’re looking to build your self-esteem, don’t blog.
Blogging can be depressing, especially at first. You hope that people will read and leave comments. But soon you’ll discover that you’ll have few readers (unless you’re an expert in your field or a phenomenally gifted writer) and even fewer who leave comments, and 80% of the those who do are only too anxious to tell you why your wrong and they’re right.
My Two-Cents. 😉
Addendum: Where Do I Begin?
Almost immediately after I published this article two people (one on Facebook) asked me how to get started. I was going to add “technical know-how” as a reason not to blog, but decided against it because I know some people who are very not technologically apt, and yet blog anyways (my own pastor comes to mind).
Here’s what you do. Go to WordPress.com (WordPress is a free blogging platform) and click on “sign up”; follow the instructions. Sure there are many technically things you will learn over time that will improve your blog, it’s look, how to tag and create categories, add pictures and links and so on. But for now, all you need to do is after you sign up, log in to your WordPress account and click on “new post”. Give your post a title, write something short in the space provided and click “publish”. Viola! You’re a blogger.