A blogger with a “why” beats one with only a “how”
Blogging can be a waste of a leader’s time if he doesn’t know what he’s doing or why he’s doing it. (Especially why.)
I would never suggest a leader start blogging (or podcasting) unless they’ve already been reading some choice blogs and are starting to get some idea of what value a blog can bring to a ministry or to one’s life. Rushing into blogging without first experiencing it is like convincing someone to preach who’s never heard a sermon in their life. Sure, it might be comical or even refreshing — once.
A few blogging bennies…
For some, blogging can be a kind of spiritual discipline, helping hone thoughts and to dig past the sometimes surface thoughts of hurried Saturday-night sermon prep. It provides a database of sermon themes related to your deeper concerns. It aids writing — requiring clarity and concision. It keeps you in touch with other influential people, and exposes you to criticism and commentary, sometimes kudos. Leaders need all of that.
Too few leaders have opportunities for strangers or even friends to comment and speak into their lives or provide feedback. Blogs with comments enabled are a great way to help provide that. It brings the leader out of the ivory tower. Blogging can be truly incarnational. Leaders need this, too, but it’s frightening because they’ve never had it.
I like to think of Paul the Apostle as the original proto-blogger. His missives dealt with current events, addressed failings in the Church, provided solutions, commented on trends and dangerous ideas. He “blogged” from prison, he blogged on the road, he blogged with the help of a peripheral writing device: an amanuensis.
And his words have become a significant part of our thought-life today many, many years later. Talk about the “long tail!”
If you are a leader and you are intentionally not blogging, you are ignoring one of the most influential media currently available to you.
Banking your thoughts
Blogging, in some ways, is like an interest-bearing savings account. As long as your ideas are only spoken, they’re being spent as soon as you generate them — just like spending your entire paycheck the very week you get it. But if you can “bank” some of those thoughts, they’ll go to work for you on your behalf, influencing more than just the handful within earshot. And like money in the bank, your blog-published ideas compound their influence week after week after week.
Do you have what it takes?
On the other hand, maybe not every leader should blog. After all, it does require a specific set of skills that many of our leaders simply don’t have: the ability to write clearly, the ability to engage an audience, the ability to be consistent, to provide something worthwhile and interesting with regularity, the ability to take criticism and respond irenically, the ability to respond to current events in the real-world, the ability to be transparent, and the ability to turn on a computer and use it.
But some of those guys aren’t leading. They just happen to be standing where the crowd’s facing.
If you’re a ministry leader and you’ve intentionally ignored using Internet technology to augment your message and vision, please ask yourself why. You may have very good reasons. And it may not reflect poorly on you at all. For example, I really don’t see Billy Graham picking up the keyboard to blog nowadays, and he’s not diminished one whit by not blogging. And maybe guys like Dallas Willard, Tim Stafford, and Jack Hayford don’t need to blog: publishing houses are already happily killing trees to extend their reach through the printed page. (But I’d sign up for their blogs so fast my keyboard would melt!)
But it’s easier than falling off a pulpit
But if you’re checking out of the “blogging craze” because it’s the domain of teens and Gen-Xers, or overwhelmingly nerdy, or seemingly too difficult to master, I invite you to give it another thought. Sign up for an account at WordPress.com and start flailing away. Really, it isn’t hard, and you can start doing it in about five minutes.
Ride the long tail and prosper!
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