Does Your Pastor Blog?
Every day more and more people are going online, That means, this is not only an incredible opportunity to introduce the gospel to the lost but it also presents us with an incredible way of staying connected within the church,
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I think as Christians in general and I'm also speaking for myself here, we have been guilty of not capitalizing on this medium. The world is changing and we need to change with it.
There are so many ways we can be using the web in our ministries
But in this post, I thought I'd point out some ideas on how we can start using blogs as an everyday part of the church.
I guess the first thing we should probably consider asking ourselves is
What are we going to blog about
It would easy to assume that all we had to do was just set up a blog site and start preaching the gospel but will anyone actually read it, I mean the purpose of having a blog is to create conversation and community, so I suggest we step back for a moment and find out what real people are looking for when they're going online.
The first step we could take is to find out what people are going to the internet for.
Their are a couple of ways you could look at this,
One; Get familiar with keyword research techniques- this means we find out what people are typing into the search engines when looking for information and
Two; find out what people are actually publishing on the net.
A great tool I use for doing keyword research and analysis is Google's keyword tool.
Its easy to use, all you do is type in any given search term or keyword, and the tool calculates what the average number of searches per month are for that search query. If you get a high number of people searching for a specific need you know that people are looking for information on that topic, which meansthere's is an opportunity to share with them what the bible says about their needs or wants. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
You can also find out what people are talking about on the web by using a function in your Google account called alerts.
What this will do is, every time someone posts something about your specific alert you will be notified via email, you can write your own blog post reviewing the information you received from your Google alerts.
As you begin to listen.
As you begin to listen in on the conversations going on around you, you will begin to see a whole new world of ministry begin to open up for you and some incredible opportunities to share gods word.
It's also a good idea to establish an objective for your blog
Some questions you could ask yourself when starting your blog could be
- How can I most effectively use my blog in my ministry?
- How can I use my blog site to strengthen the relationships within my church or community.
- Who am I really trying to reach through my blog site?
Maybe you could consider having a couple of blogs for the various ministries your church caters too, for example older mature Christians have different needs than the youth and young adults.
Taylor your blog to suite the needs of who your trying to reach. Understanding your overall objective of your blog is very important and not to be underestimated, getting this right will also help in the planning and mapping out of your site and is a key factor when starting your online ministry.
Create a blog that is a resource of valuable information.
Your blog needs to meet the needs of your readers, People are looking to you for guidance in their spiritual walk, they want you to help solve their problems, your blog is an extension of you and people will visit your site because they see you as a leader and respect your opinion, give them valuable content. not just a "I had bacon and eggs for breakfast"and "I took my wife out to dinner last night" type content.
Your church is a community
People also like to keep updated and know what's going on within the church, so use your blog as a resource for relative and updated church news, let people know exactly what is happening in the life of the church, because it's not just the people in your church reading your blog, your surrounding community is also watching and if your going to get them to come to church they need to see you as a worthy cause to be involved in.
It's important to remember that your blog is like an open window of your church. People looking for answers will probably visit your site numerous times before ever coming to a meeting, so it's important to remember that you are , even though you may not realize it , building relationships with people you haven't even met.
Show your personality within your blog...
It's also a good idea to remember that your blog is a personal reflection of YOU, be open and let people know who you are, let people see pictures of you and write your blog entries in a personal conversational manor. Churches are about relationships, with individual's and with Christ, your blog is about building relationships with people.
Do you have video?
Use it. Video is the most popular medium on the web at the moment, ask your Church members if they will share their testimonial in front of the camera and put it on your blog, You tube, Vimeo, Revvor, Vidler ect..
Set up pod-casts, if your not already, start recording your services and create podcasts, your blog site visitors can download your talks and audio messages.
By taking these extra steps you are showing the community that your church isn't just a building or a one day a week religion but you are real people who can share the hope and love of Christ,
Your image and how people perceive you is everything
The majority of church websites out there are lifeless and to be honest boring, I recently saw a church website promoting itself with photos of an empty, cold looking church hall, the impression it left on me was, If I we're to turn up on a Sunday, the only two people that would be there, would be me and the pastor, not good.
Set A High Standard
Set a high standard for your blog, but also allow for a personal touch, you don't have to create the perfect video, podcast and website, if you do you will never get started but keep in mind that image does matter.
Use your blog to minster at all levels
I think it is vital that we share the gospel and tell people what they must do to be saved, but at the same time their are some very real needs that you can meet on a less spiritual level (for want of a better word), for example if your church is helping a local charity tell people about it on your blog.
If you know of someone who can help the homeless, tell people about it on your blog. Just because you don't offer specific help or need to the community doesn't mean you can't refer people to someone who does.
I've also noticed with a lot church websites, they don't like linking to other church websites, for some reason there is a fear of loss mentality, they seem to think that they have a monopoly on someones salvation, personally I think this is stupid.
The great thing I like about my pastor is he realizes that not all people are suited to the same church, and he openly says "if you don't feel comfortable in this church tell me, and I will help you find a church where you will feel comfortable".
Your website should be the same.
If you see something that you know will help your readers then share it, send a link to it and write a review about what you have read and found to be useful.
Your readers will appreciate your ability to share highly relevant and useful content. and remember your sowing seed, you will likely start to see other sites linking to you, which will inevitable increase your readership and ultimately your ministry
Once you have established your site
It's important to make sure you keep your blog current and you continue to add content on a regular basis and at regular intervals.
As a pastor you should be adding a blog post at the absolute minimum once a week, even if you add your notes from your Sunday message it is still serving to minister to your church members and it's keeping your site active.
A good rule of thumb for adding content to your site is between 2-4 articles per week.
Should you make money from your blog?
That is something that you will need to seriously consider also, I know that churches need money to operate, pay the mortgage, pay staff, outreach and so on but I personally wouldn't want my church's website or my pastors blog plastered with ads all over it, I would consider it to be a major distraction, But at the end of the day it really is your call.
I guess this comes back to the objective and the purpose of having a blog, If you really saw a need and you felt you could make money from your site and still reach your objectives, one way you could monetize it, without having flashy ads all over the place is to set up a category where you could review products you have used and you may earn an affiliate commission from, if your readers happen to purchase through your link, or you may set up a book store online and sell books, dvd's, cd's etc
What is your comment policy?
Because your blog has the capacity to accept comments and interaction from your readers, you will need to determine from the outset what you will allow and what you would consider unacceptable from your readers,
Lets say for example that you had someone come to your site and all they wanted to do was argue about doctrine, we've all been there, it seems to be one of those things where everyone is right and no-one ever seems to back down, you could simply make the decision to delete the comment or you could see it as an opportunity to put your view forward of what the word of god says.
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