Your Pastor Needs A Blog

7 comments | Posted: 27 September 06 in General, by Justin Thorp

While I was in college, one of the most important decisions I made was to find a strong local church. When I went to church, I quickly tried to get a sense of what the church was all about. I paid attention to the music, the theology, the people, and the pastor. I wanted to have a pastor I could relate to. I needed a man who was genuine and real.

How much time have you spent with your pastor lately? Have you had the time to form a solid and genuine relationship? Pastors these days have to do more then just preach. They are teachers, managers, executives, and some times even politicians. Their time is precious. They need to have a way to communicate with the whole church congregation in a real, open, and genuine manner.

Blogging is a tool that can help facilitate this type of communication. In their recent book Naked Conversations, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel define a blog as “a personal web site with content displayed in reverse chronological order. New posts are placed at the top of the page instead of the bottom, making it easy to see what has changed.”

Your pastor needs a blog. But what could he blog about? He could blog about himself. He tells his story and allows the members of the congregation to get to know him on a human level. They get to see him as a real person and not just a man in robes, who stands at a pulpit on Sundays. Writing out life reflections will also be beneficial for the pastor. Writing a blog entry about an experience will help to provide him clarity of thought regarding that experience.

He could write about issues that happen during the week. Sometimes important things happen at church that people need to know right away, things which the Sunday bulletin simply cannot convey soon enough. Pastors can use a blog to quickly address issues. The words used are more authoritative because they wrote it themselves. Addressing an issue right away will also help to control the potential gossip that could happen during the week.

Pastors could also use their blog to help flesh out sermon ideas. The best sermons that I have heard are ones that address real issues that are being faced by the pastor or the members of the congregation. The pastor needs to have a concrete way of having a conversation with the members of the congregation. The pastor could use a blog to write out a sermon idea during the week. He could get feedback during the week and then change the sermon so that when he gave it on Sunday it could be addressing issues more directly faced by the congregation.

Blogging is a substantial tool for your pastor to communicate about what is happening with himself and the church. What tools could he be using to blog? There are many out there. If you are looking for something that is free and simple, you could check out WordPress.com or Google’s Blogger. I am sure there are many others. If you have a good favorite blogging tool, drop a comment on this post with the name and URL.

A pastor is such an important person in your spiritual journey. He is a shepherd that will provide you with spiritual guidance. Would you really want to trust someone with this role that you did not have a relationship with, that you didn’t know?

Blogs are going to help your pastor better communicate who he is and the issues are that he is facing. It is one way that the church can use the Web to better spread the gospel. Today, people today are looking to the Web to get initial impressions about everything. Churches need to take the Web seriously as a way to communicate with people new and old.

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Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 Lauren Hager

    Justin,
    Best wishes in DC. We’re excited for you in this next step in your life. I am passing this blog about pastors to my pastor. I’m praying that you will find the right Bible-believing church to meet your spiritual needs.

    Lauren

     
  2. 2 Nate Klaiber

    This is a great article, and one I will forward to our pastor/youth pastor. I agree – they should have a blog, even if it is something simple that they write in every few days. I think it would help our congregation communicate, and even understand the pastor.

    The only barrier I see is that they have to be convinced of the need to do it. I have tried to convince them of the need to get a real website, but they think what they have now is professional and great (because they don’t know any different). So – how do you convince a pastor he needs to do this, and maybe even educate him on how to do it?

     
  3. 3 Pastor Roy Olsen

    Very true, Justin. As a pastor who is working through the process of a blog and how to use it, I do see the value of it. I have a long way to go, but I have some great mentors. That is a key, I think. Get a mentor. Just becuase you are the pastor doesn’t mean that you know it all. I know I don’t. By seeking these people out you are giving them a place to serve in the calling God has given them.

    It is also about opening yourself up. That is difficuly sometimes, but people do see that I am a real person, not just a guy in a robe that works only once a week. The other piece of the puzzle is to get your congregation or the church to embrace the idea of blogging and value it on the other side as a tool for the minstry and Gospel. It is another way of connecting together, especially in this fast paced world. It takes time and patience, one thing I am constantly praying for myself, but the benefits are out of this world.

     
  4. 4 Brian Bailey

    I recently wrote a book on this topic – The Blogging Church. It will published in January by Jossey-Bass and The Leadership Network and may be a good source of ideas and perspective for the blogging pastor. It talks a lot about the why and how of blogging and is filled with advice, questions, and even warnings, along with contributions by many great bloggers and blogging pastors. You can learn more at leaveitbehind.com, bloggingchurch.com or on Amazon.

    By the way, Naked Conversations is a fantastic book – highly recommended!

     
  5. 5 Carl Camera

    I’m not as certain about this article’s advice as the other commenters. A blog is not a conversation between a pastor and a congregation. It is a soapbox from which a pastor addresses the entire internet community. Blogging about issues in your church can be easily misinterpreted by nonbelievers and seekers. Why are these folks so concerned about the order of the church service, the sermon’s main points, or arrangement of the songs? Why aren’t they concerned about helping the poor and homeless?

    There is a big downside and many risks—both to the pastor and the local church—to an open online presence. Not every congregant is online every day—some never. I really don’t see how blogging about a controversial issue is going to cut down on gossip. I would think the exact opposite would occur; more people would become aware of the issue and take sides faster. And then seekers could re-live the entire frakas and read all the accusations (and accusors’ names!) in real time or months later by reviewing the blog. What does that communicate?

    Furthermore, blog quotes can be taken out of context months or even years later. Finally, by opening up to the entire internet community, you must deal with comments and issues brought up by anyone outside your congregation, denomination, faith.

    It seems to me that you can accomplish 95% of the blogging communication goodness and eliminate 95% of the blogging downside with a good old-fashioned congregational email. But that is just one man’s opinion.

     
  6. 6 Rich

    Why are these folks so concerned about the order of the church service, the sermon’s main points, or arrangement of the songs? Why aren’t they concerned about helping the poor and homeless?

    If that’s where a congregation’s priorities are, better for someone to find that out early (on the blog) before they waste their time visiting the church.

    But you make a great point. A pastor needs to be careful when blogging. Because it really does give people an idea of who you are and what your church is like. So be sure (1) that you really want people to get an honest look at who you are and (2) that you don’t let others set the agenda for your blog. Post about the things you want to have conversations about, not the petty things 2 or 3 in your congregation might want to gripe about.

    BTW, thanks for the post, Justin. I have yet to start blogging, but I imagine I will at some point. Right now I tend to communicate with people in online forums, via email, and face-to-face. But a blog would definitely help people get to know me (and our church) better…

     
  7. 7 Kenny Chee

    I wholeheartedly affirm that pastors can bridge the divide between pulpit and pew just by honest blogging once a week. Humility is letting people know you as you are. Junk the image business. The pew will appreciate authenticity.

     

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