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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Blogging Speed Bumps... Keeping Things Positive

Speedbump Ahh.... this blogging experience has been... well... interesting.  What I had planned as just a way to connect pastors on different topics of ministry has been a bumpy road, to be sure.  But I've learned alot.

You see, alot of the passion (and compassion) that I bring to this blog has to do with my experiences while I was on a church staff.  There were times of great happiness and joy; and other times when you think you can't sink any lower.  Through the ChurchStaffing.com website, I've also talked and corresponded with many people who have had the same experiences.  Lows and highs.  But really, no where they felt comfortable connecting with other pastors and church leaders about the situations they were going through; or sharing their past experiences with people who might be going through similar things now.  So... a blog seemed like a great idea!

I soon realized (as I really knew before) that not all people are wired like me.  Personally, I love a good debate and discussion.  There's nothing better than a passionate discussion on ministry topics in my opinion.  One of my best friends and I get together for lunch occasionally just to chat about ministry stuff.  Sometimes we agree... sometimes we don't... but it's always a stimulating conversation.  How great would it be to have a discussion like this at a blog?  Well, it turns out... sometimes not so great.

We discussed all kinds of things here... some things that I knew were controversial (like homosexuality, video venues, etc.); but other things that I didn't think would be controversial at all.

I posted a story about a pastor's testimony.  Some called it fake and phony. (I was embarrassed to have this well-known pastor and author posting on MMIBlog defending himself).

I posted about a church who gave to a certain ministry.  Pastors wrote in that this church and pastor was crazy and unbiblical.  (Then, the pastor wrote in, feeling like he needed to defend himself and his church from all the criticism).

I posted a story about Rick Warren and the discussion quickly moved every Rick Warren opponent out of his shell.  (OK... I didn't hear from Rick Warren on this one; but was really disheartened at some of the responses).

I wrote about a person who was in the headlines and the person was quickly trashed in our comments section.  The person then found the post and felt the need to defend himself from the harsh and nasty words of our pastors and church leaders (Oh... and the person involved here was not a Christian).

I won't even mention when I brought megachurches, leadership issues, multi-site churches, tithing, staffing issues, and other topics.

As I said, I like a good debate as well as the next guy... as a matter of fact, many of my post subjects here are meant to be somewhat provacative and thought-provoking.  That's the kind of thing that interests me.  But what I don't like (and quite frankly, don't understand) is that there are some who post here who find the worst in everything; or come across so bluntly that they make everyone else feel uneasy.  Some of those people have changed the whole course of this blog from time to time.

A couple months ago, in an attempt to make things a little more friendly around here, I posted some rules for commenters.  You'll still find these posted under "Blogging Maturity and Ettiquette 101" at the top of this page.  These rules seemed to help for a while, but we still have the same problem...

It seems every post that I make (on virutally every topic I choose) gets back to the same few subjects:  humanism, pragmatism, money-grubbing megachurch pastors, and other such things.  I'm quite tired of talking about these things; and need to reign in the discussion so that everyone who wants to share ideas and insight can do so without being blasted or taken for a ride they really didn't mean to be on.  Plus, I'm tired of defending myself about everything I post here.

So... I've decided that from now on I will pre-screen all comments posted to the MMIBlog.com before they are posted.  That will help me control the direction of the conversation and comments even better.  Some will not agree with this decision.  Some will be angry.  Some will cheer.  That's ok... but I hope that everyone will respect this decision.  But I hope it will not deter you from commenting (95% of everyone has great comments... so keep them coming!).

I'll be posting more in the near future about what I envision this blog and website becoming in the future; and how you can be a part.  But as for this little bump in the road... (that's all it is... a bump) we'll just navigate through it together.

Can you still disagree with posts?  Absolutely.  But ultimately you will need to do so respectfully and not take us down the same rabbit trails we've been down the past few months over and over again.  :)  If you don't... it's simple... your comment just won't get published (at least here).

Sorry for the long post... just needed to vent a little and explain a little more about the decision I've made and the direction I'm moving. Hopefully, with God's help, we'll make this into a great support and discussion site for pastors and church leaders.  :)

Have a great day!

Todd

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July 21, 2005 in Blog Housekeeping | Permalink

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Comments

Great decision Todd, thank you. I think you are providing an awesome window into the church community with your blog. By allowing the conversations to go down new avenues (as much fun as the same old ruts are)I think we can all learn and grow. (Without destroying or being destroyed in the process!) Keep up the great job.

Posted by: Geoff Surratt | Jul 21, 2005 4:22:43 PM

Todd,

I could not agree more with this decision. I usually do not get caught up in the debates that take place here because the Bible instructs us to have nothing to do with foolish and stupid arguments.

What I have found is that people are very bold when they are able to hide behind a computer screen--and they do not mind taking pot shots at people who they would not dare say anything to if they were face to face.

In fact, I have been referred to as a "coward" for not allowing comments on my blog--but I made the decision not to allow them by asking some of the staff that I have around me...and they assisted me in the decision because they know how positive ministries have a knack for attracting negative people!

Love the blog--keep up the awesome work!

Posted by: Perry | Jul 21, 2005 4:47:37 PM

Great points here! The hiding behind the screen comment really makes sense.

Posted by: PapaCool | Jul 21, 2005 5:56:59 PM

I know that your workload for this blog just went up 100% Todd, but I think that it is a great decision. I really appreciate the work that you do, and hope that this site can continue to inspire good dialogue.

Keep it coming!

Posted by: Chris Surratt | Jul 21, 2005 6:25:55 PM

Hi Todd

I figure if it's your tool, you rule. :) And the fact is that a little policing keeps everybody from going so fast that people unnecessarily end up damaging one another. I know that I have been guilty of that before and I welcome the oversight as a safeguard and corrective discipline. From what I've seen, I believe that you will be fair and constructive while still allowing differences of viewpoint.

Thank you!

Posted by: Dean | Jul 21, 2005 7:04:00 PM

Here, here!! A benevolent monarchy...a good thing! I appreciate you putting the effort into this blog and think this next step is a good one. I've found some great resource connections and ideas from the things you put out there.

Posted by: matt | Jul 21, 2005 9:22:24 PM

I just find it incredible that a Christian website needs to censor its blog! I do agree with the decision. Must be some angry job seekers out there!

Posted by: Gerry | Jul 21, 2005 10:01:06 PM

Thanks for all the positive comments. Actually, I'm hoping that this will be a real time saver in allowing me to save time not having to defend myself all the time. :)

I do appreciate all the support. I think we've got a good think started here... and hope it can continue to grow and prosper.

Thanks all!

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Jul 21, 2005 11:03:45 PM

Thanks Todd, God will continue to bless you!

Posted by: Jerry | Jul 21, 2005 11:04:55 PM

Todd,

Thanks for all your efforts in this website. You have created a tool that has been very useful in linking churches and ideas to each other in the way technology should. I applaud your decision to monitor the discussion since it is YOUR board and if someone wants to promote their own agenda, well they can start their own board too right?

Thanks again and God bless your ministry.

Posted by: Jan | Jul 22, 2005 8:57:05 AM

Todd,

I applaud your decision. I thank you for helping make this a great place for us to learn from each other.

As for those who are going to complain about this rule, I guess we don't need to remind them that this is your website, you pay the bills, and if they want a place to post their trash they can always start their own blog.

Keep up the GREAT work!!!

Posted by: Jason Nelson | Jul 22, 2005 10:12:34 AM

Todd,
Good news. There comes a time in every blog where these issues need to be addressed. Trust me, sooner is better than later. This blog has been a true place of info and encouragement. Keep up the good work! God bless.

Posted by: WallyGator | Jul 22, 2005 10:25:41 AM

Good decision, Todd. We all need a little monitoring. When I read "unneeded negative comments" -- I wonder... "do these people just have too much time on their hands?" Keep up the great work!

Posted by: Jeff Freeman | Jul 22, 2005 11:13:35 AM

Yeah, Todd, good for you, it is your perogative to edit content on this site...

...but, as long as I take it with a grain of salt, I truly enjoy reading some of the strongly dissenting, even occasionally unreasonable (to some) voices that appear here. I hope that those individuals will figure out how to continue to post in a constructive and positive manner rather than just "going away" because of this new policy.

There's nothing worse for discussion and debate than for people of conviction to remain silent. I trust that you will continue to let their voices be heard as you always have, and I hope even more that they will not be discouraged to speak, but will learn to do it in love a little better maybe.

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Jul 22, 2005 12:18:40 PM

Hi Todd,

I've been out of town for the last week so I'm coming to this post a little late. I am very encouraged by your decision. I've enjoyed many of the discussions. They make me think outside "the box" that I'm often not even aware that I have. However, I've found the "negativism" that has plagued many of the discussions to be very discouraging. I deal with enough criticism in my church to have no interest in dealing with it on a bolg I go to for thought provoking discussion, even though it is not even directed at me.

So, keep up the good work.

Rich Viel

Posted by: Rich Viel | Jul 23, 2005 12:29:11 AM

Peter says:
"...but, as long as I take it with a grain of salt, I truly enjoy reading some of the strongly dissenting, even occasionally unreasonable (to some) voices that appear here. I hope that those individuals will figure out how to continue to post in a constructive and positive manner rather than just "going away" because of this new policy."

I'm going away because it's a waste of my time writing a blog entry and having it deleted without any notice. Why am I wasting my time writing this? Likely it will also get deleted... only positive comments allowed... Oh well, it's my last one anyway... Looks to me like you'll end up with a blog full of back-slappers, with mabe a token criticism here and there to appear balanced...

...Bernie

[MODERATOR COMMENT:

For the record, I failed to post just ONE of Bernie's comments, and that one was on the multi-site church topic after I had specifically requested the posts not to be so judgemental. Bernie decided to post again in the same way, not heeding my request. That posting by Bernie did not get published.

Sorry to see you go.

Todd

[END OF MODERATOR COMMENTS]

Posted by: bernie dehler | Jul 25, 2005 1:18:21 AM

I wish I had read this before trying to respond to a blog three times earlier.

To make sure I understand, no critical post that accuse someone of taking a humanistic view, dogging meg-churches, Rick Warren, or other nationally known pastors will be allowed. Right?

What about one asking questions such as

What is the Biblical role, requiremtns, or Pastors, elders etc.. ?

I hope that the restrictions do not bar the use of Biblical Standards even if they appear negative to some. That would be a sad day indeed.

While I do not care on way or the other about Rick Warren and Mega Churches, I do care about the authority of the Bible in how a church is run, and Christians behave toward God and others.

Posted by: Franklin | Aug 1, 2005 1:08:46 PM

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