Why blog? The simple answer is that it's a cheap, quick way to communicate with your church outside of the Sunday morning platform. Blogging can become a tool for spreading information to your community, retelling of the gospel, or simply a fun journal to build relationships.
Each church will use their online space in the way that's most comfortable to them; but if you don't have an army of coders and computer experts, the low cost of starting a blog (free!) and the ease of use (just like using typical word processing programs) allows for any church to effectively use a blog.
One of the biggest keys to blogging is consistent updates. My suggestion would be to take the team blog approach, with multiple contributors taking on different roles. But what do you blog about? When blogging, here are three easy approaches to take to help your focus.
The expert blog
Who is the expert in your church? The pastor, of course. If the community is interested in engaging and thinking about the message series throughout the week, the pastor could/should post ideas and thoughts that continue (or set up) Sunday's message. The pastor is the expert; the work he puts into Sunday morning can reach dozens (or thousands) more by posting on a church blog.
Most pastors will ingest and wrestle with many more resources and ideas than ever make it into the Sunday morning sermon. Perhaps the blog can be used for a deeper dive to get more out of the pastor's personal research and insights.
The personal blog
Who are the other leaders in your church? Perhaps small group leaders can use a public church blog to toss information and thoughts around to their attendees. Sometimes people ﬁnd it hard to plug in to small groups because they don't know what's being taught, who's attending, or even when they meet.
By using a public space, a small group can open up to any curious visitor to your church's Web site. If a small group leader or Sunday School teacher is sharing on the blog about their preparations for a missions trip to East Asia, the reader gets a glimpse into the people - not just the programs - of your church.
The information blog
One of the most important roles of a church website is the availability of information about, for example, upcoming events, prayer needs, or updates on church member issues (Mr. and Mrs. Holmes had a baby! Congrats on the new job, Mike). This information would provide a great opportunity for church members to feel loved and want to interact with the site.
Blogging about the events would help to keep information current with constant updates, while also - by virtue of the previous posts still being accessible - creating a chronicle of past events. And the blog would be a great place to talk about events after they're over - to tell the stories that happened and the ministry that occurred.
The deacon blog
Deacons often find their meetings too short to cover the personal stories and inspiring testimonies that come from their personal visits and family ministry assignments. Often, deacons want to share ideas or seek input from members. The deacon chairman could be the point person for making sure the site is updated; however, any deacon could blog or participate in on-going conversations.
Keep in mind the confidentiality of your ministry. Get permission from anyone whose name is used. If members make suggestions, be sure to take them seriously and address the issues in some type of forum.
Starting up a blog can literally happen in just a few short minutes with a number of different providers. If you don't need the blog to be an integrated part of your existing site, you can go to any number of free blog providers. They will supply you with a URL, a few template designs to choose from, and all the back end tools you need to get up and running.
All you really need to do is visit any of these free service providers, create a profile, and you're off and running. Free blog providers include blogspot.com, wordpress.com, and tumblr.com.
If you want to get fancy, you can purchase a domain name from any of the numerous domain name services out there as well. After purchasing the domain name, you can use their online tools to forward the domain to the URL given to you by the blog provider. Print the URL in your church bulletin, and your community will have an easy, memorable way to find your site! Domain name services include godaddy.com, networksolutions.com, and domain.com.
What should your first post be?
To start off, just say a simple hello. My first blog post on aaronlinne.com in 2003, was this incredibly deep, resonating nugget of golden wisdom: "Yeah, my first post on my nifty new website. Exciting, isn't it?" Its title? "First Post."
This article originally appeared in Deacon Magazine.
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