I talk to Pastors and Church leaders all the time that feel some kind of weird guilt around not blogging regularly. They may not say it or communicate it as such, but you can sense this feeling of ‘I should be doing this’ when talking to them about blogging. The two biggest reasons I really encounter are low-tech pastors (which is cool, because PastorBlogs is built for you!) and consistency, which really just can come down to understanding the value a blog can provide to your readers, followers, congregation, etc.
Still, those first few steps can be intimidating and overwhelming! Here are 3 tips (I wanted to do 7 because it’s a more spiritual number, ya know) for getting started with a ministry blog!
Find Your Voice
When I started preaching I was 19 years old. Let’s be honest, at 19 you don’t really know ‘who you are.’ You probably haven’t found your ‘voice’ and the unique way God created you to communicate. So instead, you emulate your homiletic heroes, right!?
I spent years trying to preach like some hybrid of Damon Thompson and Mark Driscoll. It played a big part in shaping how I communicate today. The issue with young preachers is not so much learning and gleaning from the communication styles of people they look up too. The issue is never growing beyond that and leaning into the voice God was shaping in them all along.
The same is true for writing and blogging. I probably wound’t be amiss that many reading this blog feel confident in their preaching, speaking, teaching. But changing the medium from speaking to writing almost feels like driving on the other side of the road.
The same way God gave you a voice for speaking, he’s given you a voice that translates into writing as well. It’s fine to like and learn the writing styles of your blogging heroes. Trust me, I think Carey Nieuwhof is way better at this than me. But at some point I had to learn that just like I’m not Damon when I preach, I’m also not Carey when I write. I’m not as intellectual as the theology blogs I read. I’m not as witty as others. I’m may not have the leadership clout to write life changing blogs on church systems. But I do know that I’m Pastor Andrew, and God’s given me a unique voice to reach the people he’s designed me to reach. Which sets me up nicely for the next tip.
Find Your Audience
See what I did there? *insert cry laugh emoji* Being a manuscript preacher helps with the blogging gig a bit. 🙂 Also, I’m joking but hopefully you liked it!
Listen, Paul ‘being all things to all people’ doesn’t automatically extend to you being effective at reaching all people. If you look back over your ministry I’m sure you can see that there is a ‘type’ of person that God has just gifted you to connect with more than others.
Maybe you have a ‘life message’ that seems to work its way into more sermons than not? Maybe you have a life shaping moment that just seems to connect with a certain group? The fact is, God asks every Christ follower to carry the Gospel, but He’s also designed you to be most effective in your “niche.”
I find most PastorBlogs fall into one of three categories. Though this is kinda broad and not exhaustive, most blogs will align in some way with these:
- Pastors with content geared towards their specific context and congregation or ministry. Think the pastor that repurposes sermons into blog content or the evangelist whose content is shared with those that follow his or her ministry. My friend Bill Rose is an example of this. His platform is bigger than his church but the majority of his content focuses on his church, what they are walking through, and by extension what he is walking through personally.
- Pastors with content geared towards a sub-culture or stream in Christianity. For example, Mark Driscoll’s blog, while super broad, still seems to be really focused on clear Bible teaching with a slant towards reaching men. This category tends to be for pastors and leaders that serve in a local church but also put a lot of focus on a para-church or personal ministry as well. J.D. Greer is an example of this. His devotional and weekend wisdom content can feel ‘local’ while easily reaching the broader audience that follows his personal ministry.
- Pastors with content geared towards other pastors and church leaders. These can cover any number of ‘pastor niches’ but at the end of the day, their content is pretty much written for other pastors and leaders. For example, NewChurches.com has content exclusively for those in the ‘church planting’ niche. ChurchCommunications.com is focused on those in the church that serve in communications and creative roles. This category tends to be the most focused and niche specific.
Now, if you go through any number of resources you’re going to find overlap, but by and large content is focused around a general audience that will find your content most helpful.
If you focus all of your time on reaching everyone you won’t be effective in reaching anyone.
You need to find the space that will cause you to be most effective and that brings you joy. For my personal blog my audience started as people that began following my ministry when I travelled speaking. Now it’s evolved into people that appreciate and use the content I put out on Biblical perspectives of Charismatic theology and helping people understand it, cultivating community and teaching on discipleship, and leaning into our identity as sons and daughters of God. There is overlap into leadership and church stuff for sure, but most of my content has been focused on the audience I have.
It’s usually pretty easy to look at what’s in you and who’s around you to find the ‘niche’ God’s gifted you to reach. For many, maybe it’s not difficult to find your voice as you move from preaching to writing. But time…man, time. That’s a hard one to find.
Find Your Rhythm
This is the killer! Consistency for something we all aspire to, but it seems more often than not other things we view as more pressing steal our attention. These other things cascade and before long our writing and blogging platform is an afterthought that we feel kind of guilty (but not too much) about not maintaining.
Can I confess something? This is hard for me, and I fail often! When I travelled I was super consistent and wrote at least weekly because I understood the value of connecting with those that cared and followed my ministry. When I started pastoring, I became less consistent because the value I perceived declined. when I started business stuff on the side my consistency suffered even more because my side hustle provided monetary value that my blog couldn’t at the time.
But if I’m honest, perceived value was dictated by my needs and not actually how valuable my writing and teaching were to others. And if I’m even more honest my time management was more to blame than anything. I could have easily scheduled a two hour block of time every Thursday morning to knock out a blog. I could have easily taken the twenty seconds it takes to write down blog ideas in my phone when they came to mind.
Finding your rhythm in blogging comes down to intentionally making space. Consistency has less to do with ‘what am I gonna write about’ and more to do with ‘here’s my dedicated calendar event.’ Spur of the moment writing is just not something that will produce any kind of consistency when you’re getting started with blogging as a pastor. Here’s three super quick bullet points to help you find your rhythm.
- Set realistic goals. Maybe start with a goal of writing a blog every other week on Tuesday morning. Set goals to reach a certain number of visitors. Set goals to write a series of blogs on a given topic. Whatever you do, set some flipping goals. For example, right now my goal is to personally write one blog a month for PastorBlogs, one blog a month for my personal blog, and one blog a month for wpfor.church.
- Schedule it on your calendar. If it doesn’t get scheduled it won’t get done. Make a commitment and don’t miss it. Don’t schedule it in your mind. Block it off on your calendar and make it a ‘recurring appointment.’ I write on Friday mornings, I have it on my schedule.
- Always brainstorm. Usually good ideas come after writing down a ton of bad ones. 🙂 Ideating will mean you always have a well to draw from when you sit down to create content. I keep three notes on my iPhone for the three blogs I write for and drop ideas and such in them as they arise.
This process will eventually refuel you. There’s no need to worry about if you’ll have something to write about next month. You know when you’re writing a sermon and it just keeps flowing like a well? The more you write, the more ideas you have. Producing consistent content doesn’t deplete your well, it constantly replenishes it with fresh stuff!