What is a blog?

Sometimes I take for granted that everybody knows what a blog is because chances are you’ve read several of them over the past 24 hours. In fact, you’re reading one right now. But I was reminded last week when I sat down with a pastor and his media team to discuss the future of their website, that not everyone knows what a blog is.

So I figured the best place to start a series on Ministry Blogging is to begin with explaining what a blog is. After all, if the Apostle Paul saw value in blogging, shouldn’t you and I? I’m sure once you understand what a blog is and what it can do for your ministry, you’ll be fired up and want to start one right away.

First, here’s a straight definition: a blog is a section of a website that is regularly updated with fresh content.

That’s it. Simple, right?

Blogs started out as web diaries. People would write on their website about whatever was going on in their life. Remember when Captain Kirk would start or end most episodes with “Captain’s log, stardate…” That’s what a blog originally was. The word “blog” was shortened from “weblog” which was made up of two words: web and log. Eventually the “we-” was dropped leaving us with “blog.”

Today blogs have evolved to include news and media reporting, academic articles, and just about anything else that you could imagine include “vblogs” (for “video blogs” common on YouTube) and image blogs that you might find on Tumblr.

Anyone with an interest in any area could start a blog. The three main types of blogging today are:

1. Personal blogs

2. Business blogs

3. News blogs

And of course there is overlap with each.

The blog you’re reading right now, for example, is by and large a “business blog.” I write to help church leaders leverage the internet for their ministry. Yet there is no way I could deliver the level of content I need to deliver to truly help church leaders if it wasn’t monetized.  So it benefits the readers of this blog that I earn a little bit of revenue from the sidebar ads, affiliates, and paid courses I develop. Because it means I don’t need to work other jobs and I can focus and delivering my very best.

Your ministry’s blog would fall into the “business blog” category as well. When you blog for your ministry the “product” you’re selling (which is much more than a product!), is the life-giving and life-sustaining message of the power of the gospel. And by blogging not only are you speaking into people’s lives but you’re also introducing them to the digital front door of your church. Blogging is a powerful way to connect people online with a great deal of potential to eventually connect with them face to face. (Businesses know this, which is why many local businesses have taken to blogging regularly.)

Does your ministry have a message? Do you want to impact lives with that message? Do you want to grow the ministry that God has entrusted you with? Start a blog.

Think about the apostle Paul. He was a blogger extraordinaire!

On one occasion Paul wrote a series of sixteen blog articles. We might call the series “On The Righteousness of God.” He addressed it to his friends in Rome and sent the whole series in one codex. On another occasion he wrote a long and delightful article we might call “The Joy of the Lord.” That one was written for his friends in the town of Philippi. And Paul wrote many others, some of which we don’t even have today. Nobody knows exactly how many blog articles Paul wrote. But he was a proficient writer who used the “blog format of his day” to impact many lives for the gospel.

But in Paul’s day the ability to write was a luxury not enjoyed by many. Few knew how to write and even fewer had the skill and resources to be an author.

One of the best things about blogs is that they have made everyone with a message an author. You’re an author and there are authors in your church. Your ministry has a message. So go out and start a blog today.

QOTD: What’s keeping you from starting a blog right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

This post is a part of my series on “Ministry Blogging.” Throughout this series I’ll take you through everything you need to know to have a successful church or ministry blog?”

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  • Vicki Twiford

    I was in a Minister’s Cohort the other day and mentioned the Michael Hyatt theme in reference to updating ministry websites. The minister in charge said, “I’m familiar with Michael Hyatt and there’s no way ministers have time to keep up with that. You would have to hire someone to do it for you and most ministers can’t afford that.

    I wish I had thought to reply, “How much time do you currently have to personally touch base with that many people in your church? There’s no way you can afford the time it currently takes to visit each one and have a one-on-one weekly, meaningful conversation with each one. But with blogging, you can actually cut down on that time.”

    Any opinion?

    • I don’t think any pastor is too busy to connect with people in the way that people connect in today’s world.

      In my “Social Media and the Local Church” training course I teach that lead pastors should, for the most part, be hands off in terms of running their church’s social media ministry (they need a team of volunteers). BUT the one exception is blogging. One post a week is not going to break any minister’s timetable.

      Social media (including blogging) is not an option for churches today. It’s essential.

      Your encounter saddens me, but it also reminds me why I do what I do. Thanks for sharing!

  • I was at my writer’s group, yesterday. It’s a Christian group that wants to share a message, but their attitude about social media takes them back ten years or more. Laypeople have a similar mindset, but there are churches that understand the value of social media and blogging (correctly). We can touch people locally and around the world. Keep up the good work! You guys are an encouragement. 🙂