So, you want to have greater impact. You want to be an influencer in your community. You want to reach more people. And so you should. In the heart of every church leader there should be a desire to reach more people with inspiring, encouraging, informing, and transformational messages.
There is a high likelihood that you have a lot of people in your church who have some great things to share. Like the lamp on a hill in Matthew 5, you should elevate and promote the great resources and insights sparking flames of faith from within your church that will be seen outside your church. Don’t put it under a bowl!
With your growing to-do list you strive to maintain relationships with long-time parishioners, welcome those new to your church, and be present in the community. Finding time to make an impact can be challenging. One of the best, and most common,ways to share what you’ve got with others is through a blog. This is not a new concept. But blogs have stood the test of time as a consistent and well-consumed vehicle of information that can lead to transformation.
Blogging in your church can help you:
- Promote interaction: Blogging lets you connect with others. Since readers can comment on your blog posts, blogs naturally promote interaction, as you can reply to comments and have conversations with your readers. You never know –some of these interactions may spark ideas for teachings or for other blog posts. It also helps out-of-town church members and friends stay connected with you and your church. If your church is large, reading your blog may help those inside your church connect with you as well, especially if they are newer or more comfortable with electronic interaction. Asking questions is a great way to promote interactions on your blog, providing a forum for faith discussions even after services are over.
- Establish your church’s reputation online: Like a website or Facebook page, a blog is a great medium for establishing your church’s online reputation. If you link your blog to the church’s website, potential guests may visit the blog before visiting your church to learn more about you and your ministry style. Unlike social media, blog readers don’t have to be registered members of a site to read, comment, and enjoy your blog; it’s open to anyone with a web connection.
- Share your personality: Too often, church members and visitors know little about the pastor besides what they see on Sunday morning. Blogging lets pastors show their congregants and friends that they are real people with real joys and struggles. It gives readers a small glimpse into a pastor’s life and mind outside the pulpit. You may not have time to share a story on Sunday morning,but you can share it on your blog. Recommending books you’ve enjoyed may not fit into this week’s sermon topic, but you can recommend them on your blog. You can also use blog posts to expand upon your sermons if you think of something applicable after Sunday morning.
Blogs give you the space to tell a story with your messages that social media sound bites can’t. They are a great conduit for sharing more rich media, resources, and testimonies that have an impact. Blogs also serve as a repository for past information like sermon messages, worship services, and teachings. Pretty much, if you have ongoing content, your blog is the best place to display it.
But for every successful blog there are numerous failures. Many blogs start strong and then fizzle out when traction isn’t immediately seen. Other blogs don’t have a plan or system to support good content creation over the long haul. Other blogs just kind of miss the mark because the bloggers aren’t responding to feedback and their audience in a way that enables them to tweak their messages to meet a need. And sometimes, people and just get lazy and stop posting. That’s no way to become an influencer.
There a few things you need to understand about a blog:
- Posts are not just words. A post can be a video, image gallery, or even an event, depending on how your blog is setup.
- A blog can be integrated into your existing website, or a separate site with it’s own brand and purpose.
- It takes time to grow an audience, be patient!
- You don’t always have to be original. Of course, you need to share your view, but reposting content from other blogs, with your commentary (and appropriate credits), is a great way to cultivate valuable content.
- Not everybody wants to read long-form posts. Keep the content varied. Consider posts that use humor, resources, video, tips and tricks, and even quotes.
Six Steps To Starting AnEffective Church Blog:
Turn it on. Find out if your website platform has a blog function. If it does, there should be an easy way to “turn it on” by adding a link to your website navigation and start posting. If your site doesn’t have a blog function, you’ll need to choose a blog platform like WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogspot to get started.
Create Categories. Once you figure out how to get a post online, you’ll want to create categories for your blog so people can search and find what they are looking for. There are no rules here. Just keep it easy to understand. If it’s too complicated for you, it’s probably too complex for your audience.
Recruit contributors. Your pastor will likely be a main contributor to the blog. Also, sermon audio/video, lectures, and image galleries are all things you can recycle. But you’ll want fresh content from multiple sources to keep things relevant. Find leaders and insightful (and funny) people within your church to post regularly. They could be your next influencer.
Set a calendar. Most blogs fail due to lack of follow-through. Setting a good content calendar will keep your bloggers on track and let you see how your blog performs over time. Make sure you have due dates for first drafts, final drafts, and posting dates. Consider using a spreadsheet to plan out topics and types of posts for the next 3, 6, or even 12 months. And stay on top of it! A calendar won’t do you any good if you don’t have due dates and assignments that are regularly followed.
Get it out there! After you have a decent amount and variety of posts on your blog, publish it by creating a link on your website navigation to your blog. Then, share posts on social media, through your church ministry software, and from the stage. Constantly remind people of the value of the blog by pointing to specific posts and how they apply to daily life.
Stay consistent. Nothing turns readers off more than going to a blog and noticing the last post from last year. People want to know that you’re going to be a source of meaningful, valuable content that can really add something to their lives, that’s how you become an influencer.
The most important thing to remember is, the blog isn’t your platform to sound off. If you do that, people will just tune out. Your audience needs insights, resources, and encouragement that actually speak to them. The litmus test for your post should be answering this question: “Does this provide a benefit that my audience actually wants?”If you can answer “Yes” to that question, stay consistent, and get the word out, you’ll do just fine and become an influencer in your community. Be creative, test things out, follow God’s leading, find out what works, and run with it!