(HT: Spare Change )
Online journals, or weblogs (“blogs”), are a dynamically growing phenomenon on the Internet. Individuals, businesses, and even churches are daily starting blogs to communicate with family, friends, partners, or a targeted audience.
Many pastors have recognized that a blog is not just a digital journal, but a useful tool for the ministry of leading the local church. Here are some reasons a pastor should consider starting his own weblog:
- To Communicate Sermons. A few days after a sermon is preached, a pastor can post the text on his blog for homebound church members, or for folks who weren’t able to be a part of worship. This also provides a text archive for messages that can be a useful resource for both the pastor and the congregation later.
- To Share Vision. As the Lord reveals his plan for the church, the pastor can communicate that vision through a blog. Details on plans for growth, new classes or new opportunities can be detailed in a series of entries.
- To Develop Community. Many blogging formats allow for comments, where readers can provide feedback to the content posted. This feature creates a system of discussion where biblical conversations can occur and relationships are built.
- To Teach Doctrine or Theology. One good way to impart Baptist (Presbyterian! editor's note ) and biblical distinctives is by offering a series of posts on relevant doctrines. Some blogging software offers “plug-ins” (free software additions to automate otherwise-difficult Internet code) that inserts links to biblical verses that support doctrinal positions. This makes a Bible study interactive and engaging.
- To Offer Social Commentary. Every day, events near and far allow for opportunities for the pastor to provide commentary and filtered understanding which promotes a biblical worldview. A basic understanding of how to link up with online news sources can allow a pastor to connect his congregation with the world’s events and God’s timeless truth. This helps people understand that God’s Word is relevant for every life circumstance.
- To Inform the Congregation about Events. Using a blog to comment about upcoming scheduled events, including information about what is needed for the event, will help increase the awareness about the opportunities and activities on the church calendar, and will communicate a pastor’s personal interest in the activity.
- To Break Down “The Fourth Wall.” For many people, they view the pastor the same way they’d watch a television program. The pastor is a “larger than life” personality with whom they only interact with a handshake on the way out of a sanctuary. A pastor who blogs about his family, or about the real challenges and humor of every day life demonstrates himself to be approachable, likable, and even pleasant.
I think blogging has revealed itself to be an emergent form of intepersonal communication where a sense of community can be further developed. While for a small number the blog has become the message, for the majority it has proven to be a merely another media for it. Rather than pining for a blog to be something more or other than what it is, a smart pastor is one who recognizes that a blog has the capacity to be an effective tool that communicates apologetics, polemics, doctrine, vision, theology, conversation, and perhaps most important, approachability.