In a world where everyone shares everything, blogs are nothing new. The adage "write about what you know" has, in fact, never been more apropos. So, if your church hasn't jumped on the blogging bandwagon, here are a few reasons why it should.
Extends the life of the sermon
Sermons take a lot of time and effort. They should have a shelf life that lasts past one Sunday. Sermons can continue to preach all week through use as the basis for a post on a blog. Since most bloggers keep their pieces short (about 600 words), one sermon may actually be used to write a series.
If you don't feel comfortable using a sermon word-for-word, build interest by writing a teaser blog post on the same subject. You can also present a summary after the sermon outlining the gist of what was said.
A blog can include text prepared for the sermon that didn't make the final cut. Links to other resources such as commentaries, videos or music can enhance a reader's biblical knowledge and encourage further study. Of course, blogs are also a great evangelical tool that allows you to share the gospel with people who might otherwise not attend church or read the Bible.
Connects your congregation
Blogs are different from traditional articles because they contain more of a personal element. They aren't usually a diary or a journal (although some people use them as such), and they aren't strictly a journalistic piece; they are a combination. Their readers have a chance to get to know the author in a whole new way. Likewise, the author has the opportunity to get to know the readers.
During most Sunday services, a congregation can't "talk back" or participate in a group discussion around the topic at hand. But that's the beauty of a blog. Conversation is encouraged; in fact, it's the goal. Blogs give readers a way to interact with the author and other readers about sermon subjects, questions of faith and other spiritual topics. By encouraging comments and interacting with the readers, you can discover what's on the hearts and minds of your congregation and help guide them in a whole new way.
Helps your church draw (and keep) visitors
Visitors to your church website may not want to take the time to listen to a podcast or watch a sermon. Websites may include pastor and staff bios, but they don't help newbies discover the culture of your church.
Blogs are perfect for introducing your church to the world. Short worship clips, staff interviews and guest authors can add variety to your blog and give a broader picture of your church dynamics. Posts can also address popular visitor questions and events to encourage engagement.
Promotes community goodwill
Most churches do a lot for their communities. But many in the community don't realize how much. The church often needs marketing. Blogs can help the public know what your church is accomplishing.
You can use your blog to highlight different ways that the church serves your community. In this way, the blog can serve two purposes. It can help your congregation see ways they can become more involved. It can also help the public better understand how your church contributes to the life of your community. Including lots of pictures and action items can garner even greater results.
Because of their more personal nature, blogs are also a great way to minister to the community (and your congregation) during particularly difficult events. A blog should never substitute for personal pastoral care. But it can provide the opportunity to send loving and encouraging messages, especially to large groups of people who may be reeling from tragedies.
Getting started with a blog
Blogs are a versatile, cheap and relatively easy way to capitalize on the benefits of social media. Sites such as Wordpress, SquareSpace and Site123 are among the many that offer user-friendly (and sometimes free) interfaces that make the set-up pain-free.
Some website applications already have the option of including a blog, or you may be able to add one to your site without much difficulty. It's not that hard to learn how to start a blog. Once the blog is up and running, the most important (and difficult) task is simply to write — often and with consistency. Writing can be a one-person job or something that you parcel out to various team members to lighten the load.
If you're needing inspiration, visit blogs that you personally enjoy or that others have recommended to you. Take note of what impresses you or draws you in and think through how you might accomplish that with your content.
So, why wait? Church blogs are as common today as church bulletins. Don't miss this valuable opportunity to reach your congregation, community and even strangers.
Tricia K. Brown is a writer, editor, keynote speaker and Bible teacher. In addition to being a wife and mother of four sons, she is the sole proprietor of The Girls Get Together, where she and her team provide women's event programs for churches and other organizations.