(Kevin Ring is approximately 9 feet tall. I know this because once at a conference he raised his hand during a Q&A and asked me, “Why did God take the unicorns away?” Legit question, legit question. The reason was because we didn’t respect their beauty and/or their stabbing horns. Seems pretty obvious when you think about it. Fortunately, Kevin does a lot more than just awesome questions. Now he writes awesome guest posts. Enjoy.)
If you’re like me then you started a Christian blog because deep down you think you can write better sermons than your pastor.
You know it’s true, even if you won’t admit it. You sit there every Sunday morning silently critiquing every word… “Really? Another verse from Ephesians? You do know that there are 65 other books in the Bible, right? Ugh.” Or “Only three steps this time? How come it’s easier to ‘Learn to Listen to God’ than it is to ‘Become a Friend Like Jesus’? Geez!”
If you’re like me, you always punctuate your mental rants with words like “Ugh” and “Geez”.
And that’s how it starts. Right there, sitting in the pew or the stacking chair or the love sac (btw if your church has love sacs and you’re near Grand Rapids, Michigan, please contact me) the Holy Spirit plants a seed in you. And if properly cultivated, that seed will grow into a beautiful tree full of, uh, leaves that, uh, grow… I’m sorry. I’m not very good with metaphors.
Let’s try that again: you’ve been bitten by this sort of pastor-vampire thingy (the good kind, like that Edward character everyone’s always drooling over). And once bitten, you are transformed. Your life will head down a path that leads you to become a full-time, pastor-vampire-thingy. (I should just stick with similes.)
Now it used to be that that path would first lead to seminary and then land you in a church where’d you serve for many years until the lead pastor stumbled/died/got called to a different church. But now, thanks to the Internet, there is another option for those who have been bitten by the Holy Spirit: starting a Christian blog.
Like it or not, Christian blogs are becoming part of the religious fabric. And it’s our duty to make sure that our brothers and sisters who receive the call to plant a Christian blog receive the best advice on available on how to start.
That is why I’ve spent countless hours reading every Christian blog in the world. All so that I can bring you the five best tips for planting a great Christian blog.
#1. Come up with a really good Blog name.
During my extensive travels across the Christian blogosphere, I’ve discovered that there really is no rhyme or reason to what people name their Christian blog. I think Christians are falling short in this area. The Bible teaches us that naming things is kind of a big deal. I’m pretty sure Jesus would want nothing short of a blog name that slaps potential readers in the face and screams “READ THIS BLOG!!”
I know coming up with a great name can be hard so I’ve put together a few sure-fire methods for coming up with the best name ever. To show how good these are, I’ve came up with four amazing blog names, using these methods. You can use, free of charge. It is my gift to you.
• Make your blog the “intersection” of two things – talking about how two seemingly unrelated things relate to each other is all the rage in Christian blogs. It makes sense for Christians because you just take “faith” and intersect it with some other thing and viola!, instant Christian blog.
(Suggestion: “Faith Aqueducts – Exploring the intersection of faith and engineered systems of water delivery.”)
• Reference an everyday object– nothing piques curiosity like drawing special attention to that which is normally overlooked.
(Suggestion: “The Coin Under The Cushion”)
• Make it really really really obvious – readers of Christian blogs don’t want to think, if they did they’d just go to church. Make it really easy for them to get what the blog is about.
(Suggestion: “Pictures of Dogs Dressed as Bible Characters)
• Reference the act of thinking – using fancy words like “muse”, “ponder”, “brood”, “cogitate”, ”excogitate”, and “perpend” tells people that you’re thinking thoughts that are worth reading.
(Suggestion: “Jesus Noodles”)
#2. Allow comments
This is a no-brainer. Imagine how great Sunday morning would be if after the benediction, someone yelled “First comment!!” And if this was followed by an onslaught of praise for the sermon: “My youth pastor growing up named their child Zurishaddai! Hilarious!!”; or people trying to one-up the pastor: “Actually, Spurgeon’s exposition on the Census of Israel that he did in 1891 makes the point that it was only those who lacked faith in God who were killed by God’s wrath.”
Of course, every so often someone would burst into the sanctuary wearing a mask (so as to remain anonymous) and yell, “That sermon would make baby-CS Lewis cry!”
On the surface this might not seem like a good thing. But in the blog world it really helps bring communities together as everyone (lovingly) jumps to the defense of the author. Of course in real life, everyone would probably follow the commenter out to the parking lot and (lovingly) beat the living snot out of him. But your congregation would be stronger because of it.
#3. Ignore stats
Look, if you’re looking to have a real impact, you should probably go to seminary. If you’re the kind of Christian who’s into setting bars high, you should plant a real church. Don’t ruin blogging for the rest of us by spurring us to achieve any level of success or performance. Blogging, like any task that can be done in your underwear, is not meant to be measured.
#4. Don’t make waves
You’ve got a passion burning inside of you. You see how other Christians are falling short and you feel called to step in and be the voice that will change the world. I get this. But history shows us that the evolution of the church has been catalyzed by conflicts that have hurt a lot of people. Let’s not repeat the past.
If you feel like you need to show up your pastor, at least try and cushion the blow a little bit. I know a prominent Christian blogger who only posts “serious” stuff on Wednesday because that’s the day his pastor receives hyperbolic chamber treatments to stave off the effects of aging.
#5. Always leave them wanting…
What other advice would you give to someone who is planting a Christian blog?
(For more great stuff from Kevin, check out his blog.)