Thinking Out Loud

October 17, 2011

To My Fellow Bloggers: Should Your Blog Exist?

Last night I was cleaning up some comment-following subscriptions that had been in place for up to nearly three years.  Before deleting the subscription, I again read the post and my own comment, and then clicked to see what the blogger had been up to — if anything — lately.

In the process, I came upon this piece by Tim Wilson; the item he used when signed off his blog for the last time in March, 2009.  For the most part, I think this is quite relevant today as well.


Part of being a Christian is having the humility to discern what we can do to best serve the glory of God. So I asked myself: should my blog exist?

It is a question you should ask too. In the light of all these tremendous blogs, should yours exist?

1. Is it unique?

Reformed guys, how many of you are blogging through the Institutes? Or talking about NT Wright? Or discussing Mark Driscoll’s interview with DL?

Be honest, is your blog doing anything I couldn’t find done elsewhere? Is it done in a simpler way or a more in depth way? Does it apply it to the Christian life or to non-Christians? What do you do that’s special?

2. Is it worthy of time?

As I’m reading your blog I could be just as easily listening to a Tim Keller sermon, reading John Owen or taking in some of Sam Storms meditations on scripture. Why should I read your blog?

Maybe some of us should say less. Are we really worth our readers pouring over our 500 words every day?

Also consider, is it worthy of your time? Are you just wasting time writing when you should be studying scripture or reading the giants of the faith?

3. Is it your gift?

Read a site like CopyBlogger or ProBlogger and find out what a good web writer consists of. Is this where your gift lies? If it isn’t, why should we be reading your blog?

4. Do you know what your talking about?

I decided in my early blog days to blog my thoughts on the trinity, despite knowing hardly anything about it. Richard pulled me up on that and I had to retract my comments. Ever since I’ve (tried) to only blog about what I know.

Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with thinking through your theology. But a blog isn’t a place. Go onto a forum discuss it with others there.

But when you type something as a blog, to those who aren’t familiar with the format it seems like you know what your talking about. On the last day all teachers will be judged. Are your posts worthy of praise or judgement?

5. Are you about the Lord’s work?

Now I’m not saying “If you’re a Christian with a sports site get it off now”. But are you using your genre to point to Jesus, even in just a small way (i.e. your bio)? Are you building friendships that will lead to souls being saved? If you’re not helping Christians or (more importantly) preaching the Gospel to non-Christians, is your site an opportunity like Jonah to escape from the truth?

6. Are people listening?

Check your stats. Check your incoming links. Check your comments. Are you just speaking into thin air or are people actually listening?

It might be you have a very small audience (hey we all start somewhere). But if it becomes apparent that no one is listening to what your saying then use your time better elsewhere.

7. What’s its point?

Why are you driven to blogging? Do you want to reach out to the lost? Do you want to hone your theological acumen? Do you want to promote good resources? Why are you blogging?

Some of us just blog because we blog. We keep sustained by the idea we might get another reader. Well, that’s just people pleasing and it is idolatry.

Sit down and write an aim statement for your blog, and then think:

8. Would you be more useful in alternatives to blogging?

Not everyone should blog. But there is an awful lot you can do. Here’s some things I’d suggest.

  • Guest posts/co-blog: You may not have enough posts in your veins to post weekly. Why not give your posts to other blogs? Or even ask to co-blog with another group of people, lessening the pressure on you. I’d love to have you post an article here. Drop me an email (whether you’re giving up blogging or not).
  • Comment: On the big blogs, rarely does the author engage with his commenters. You however can follow up on their comments. You may even be able to correct wrong thinking. Go to a liberal Christian blog and reveal their errors (in a LOVING way!!!!). Go to an atheist blog and discuss their stumbling blocks. This is a real ministry.
  • Forums: These are great places to ask your own questions and answer other peoples.
  • Internet Chat: Do you remember when chat rooms were cool? Or am I just really long in the tooth web-wise? There are still people there you can witness to and talk to, if you are more personally gifted.
  • Yahoo Answers: This is a net ministry I think would be great to be involved with. People ask personal questions and there is a theology section. Could you answer their questions?
  • Wikipedia/Knol/Theopedia: If you know something about something very particular, these 3 maybe good places to contribute.
  • Amazon Reviews: You know, most people who buy a book will read its Amazon review. However, few sound books have reviews (especially in the UK) and most of the dodgy books’ reviews are glowing. Could you make a difference there?
  • Stumble Upon/Digg: If you’re one of those people who links like crazy, have a look at sites like Stumble Upon. If you write a good review of a blog post or a site you can send lots of traffic that way. There are many good writers who simply don’t have the publicity.
  • Real life ministry: Old fashioned I know. But have you ever talked to your next door neighbour about Christ? Could you be preaching in a real pulpit rather than a virtual one? Does your church need a new Sunday School Leader? Is this for you?
  • Family: Your spouse and children are always your first ministry. Is your blog wasting valuable time you could spend with them?
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5 Comments »

  1. I was a Tim Wilson follower, and was sad to see him go. The irony is that I found his blog more useful than 90% of the stuff out there. Some blogs just slowly wane into obscurity as real life takes up the author’s time and energy. Tim made the conscience decision to quit and listed his reasons for doing so.

    In my own experience, I had been reading Internet Monk and following some of the links he posted. I made the occasional comment, and found some of them to be excessive for the comment thread. It was only after iMonk began podcasting that I decided I absoluetly must write a blog of my own. I get enough positive feedback from readers to continue. My justification for starting a blog was that the internet is filled with garbage and at the very least I could be better than spread lies, proliferate porn and yap about how there is no God.

    For the reacord Paul, your blog should exist. Just in case you were wondering. :-D

    Comment by Clark Bunch — October 17, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I actually have a similar story. My wife had been blogging for awhile but I had little interest. I enjoyed reading a handful of others and started leaving comments. I think my first blog attempt, which may still exist, was in a remote corner of the USAToday Religion page.

      One of the things I am going to have to “die to” is the desire to want to have a fresh post every day. Sometimes it’s really difficult, especially now that I have two of these things (this and Christianity 201) plus a book industry blog.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — October 17, 2011 @ 9:39 am

  2. Great – albeit terrifying, questions. I’m wondering if it’s helpful to get some (honest but kind) friends to answer them as well. This not only gives some good critical feedback, but also encouragement if you tend to be overly self-critical. It’s important to explore why we write, but sometimes other people can help us get a fuller picture. (That’s working on the hope that your friends are actually reading)

    Comment by Emma — October 17, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    • You’d have to look at the questions subjectively. For example, if nobody is reading, but you would have kept a journal anyway, then it wouldn’t really matter as much how many people are out there, you’re doing it for your own benefit and simply allowing “the cloud” to host it online for you.

      Personally, I found his final question most challenging. But I think people who aren’t out there doing things in “the real world” would eventually run out of subjects to write about!

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — October 17, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  3. A small part of me was hoping this blog would tell me I shouldn’t be blogging, but it didn’t. I’ve been thinking for a time that since I can’t possibly get here every day, and my time between actually posting blogs seems to be getting longer, maybe I should give up . . . but every time I think this, I seem to get quite a few hard hits to the contrary, so maybe I just need to be a bit more disciplined.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — October 17, 2011 @ 8:28 pm


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