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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Is Blogging Dying?

BackGary Lamb had a good observation a couple days ago on his blog... it seems to him (and to me) that bloggers I like are dropping like flies.  There are just a few great blogs on church leadership and it seems that those are posting less and less.

Take for example, Terry Storch.  Man, I miss Terry's blog.  Terry's a great guy with some super insight into church leadership issues; but has taken a couple months off of blogging (actually, he just dropped his blog like a hot potato!).  I miss you, man.

Gary Lamb (the one that wrote the post about bloggers not blogging) has a great blog from a church planter's mind.  He has been taking a self imposed hiatus as well, except for a couple of recent postings.  According to Gary, the reasons he's stopped are:

1.  It takes a lot of time

2.  Everything you say is public

3.  The written word sometimes comes across differently than you intended

4.  Criticism.  Gary writes, "I can take it as much as the next guy but a lot of guys figure why I should I post when every thing I write gets negative reponses"

Truth be told, I think that #4 is a main reason.  Perry Noble's blog is another blog I really enjoy.  He shares alot of quality church leadership stuff at his blog.  He said that this week he got an email from someone disagreeing with him and they actually called him fat!  (Perry doesn't take comments on his blog... someone actually emailed him with their insult!)

I'm in a little different situation, in that I'm not tied to a local church; so I can maybe write my mind more than some pastors can.  But #4 -- the Criticism -- really is a big negative for blogs, especially Christian ones.

I've been called a lot of names and been talked to nastily as well.  One person even said that he hoped God had mercy on my soul.

I've spent a lot of time arguing with people over silly things.  And they are arguements that are truly a waste of time because they are unwinnable over the internet.

It constantly amazes me how many people criticize on blogs; and how poor some people are in their rationality and communications skills.  This year has sure been a learning experience for me.  Next year will be as well, as we take the blog in some new directions.

So anyway... what are your plans for blogs for 2006?  Have you thought about starting one?  Do you have one now?  If so, do you plan to continue?  What do you like or dislike about this blog?  How would you change it?  What would you like to see in the new year?

Todd

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December 14, 2005 in Blog Housekeeping | Permalink

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Hey Todd,

I've tried blogging a couple times, and I hope to do it more. But with my current bi-vo workload, it's not practical.

Also, I'll be done with ordination studies in the next couple months, as well as finishing all my lesson/curriculum development for the classes I teach at the local Christian high school.

Bottom-line, I hope to do more blogging. The software we use for our web-site (Front Page) lets us put in a discussion forum, so I may go that route.

Anyway Todd, I hope YOU stick around, although I can see why anyone would want to take a breather once in a while just to get away from all the negative.

Brian

Posted by: Brian La Croix | Dec 14, 2005 2:46:11 PM

I believe I myself will have to give up blogging. Part of the problem is the time spent ends up being more than I allotted, causing me to not do all I need to do in another area.

And since it is hard to commuincate, by word, the full thought body posture, etc.. many times it comes out differently that what is meant, leading to problems.

So I belive that I have only a few more post before I stop altogether.

Posted by: Franklin Reeves | Dec 14, 2005 2:49:12 PM

I think blogging is theraputic. Criticism is part of ministry. I enjoy reading MMI!

KB

Posted by: Kevin | Dec 14, 2005 2:54:16 PM

I agree that blogging can be very theraputic and I will continue to blog. I don't get as much criticism on my blog as you do, though, but mostly because my blog is more about my personal life with a few random church things thrown in.

I enjoy reading your blog and hope that you don't give up! Very insightful.

Posted by: Mountaingirl | Dec 14, 2005 3:05:13 PM

This is all pretty ironic for me, since I just recently last week renewed my interest in blogging. I just revamped my own blog and I'm hoping it takes off with my local church folk/community (and elsewhere).

I also just recently discovered Perry's blog along with some of the others mentioned. I'm enjoying them very much and have learned from them. I don't agree with every statement, but whatever. . .it's a blog with someone's thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and opinions hanging out there.

I like reading MMI each week. Stick with it. The only problem I have is with the critics themselves. Especially here on this blog. Let's get over ourselves, sheesh!!

Posted by: Jeff M. Miller | Dec 14, 2005 3:09:42 PM

First of all, I really enjoy reading your blog daily - so thanks! I began blogging over this past summer and have grown to really enjoy it. I try to include a variety of stuff, sermon notes, journaling, conversation starters, sports musings and even a little fictional series. I've been pretty happy with the page views and conversations that have sprung up as a result of it. So far it has not been a burden to keep it up, but a joy. I hope to do more with it in 2006.

Posted by: Darin | Dec 14, 2005 3:15:05 PM

Hi Todd-

Anyone can start a blog, but good luck trying to get someone to read it and post remarks.

If you are a pastor, you have a ready-made audience. Problems is, you have to watch what you say, just as if you spoke it in church. Even more so, since it can be cut/pasted, and sent around at light-speed.

Then there's people like you that have a business, and the blog can help you move product. This is not bad or sarcastic, but true and good, I think. For example, a person can write a book, then use a blog to talk about certain parts of it and market their book.

The problems with blogs, is that there are so many, and growing. One has to seperate the wheat from the chaff, which will probably be really done (promoted) through word of mouth. "Have you seen so-and-so's blog?"

I've recently been made aware of how EASY it is to self-publish a book, and even get it listed on Amazon.com (it only costs about $700). See iUniverse.com for details. With today's technology, they can print just one, on demand when needed. In this way, books will be like blogs... all over the place, with a huge variation in quality.

In fact, this is a new direction for my ministry. I'm looking into writing a book, and promoting it in a blog just as I outlined above. The thing I like about htis is persistance. I can put a lot of work into a book, and it can be around forever (until the Lord returns). Plus, I love writing and researching. But there's still a place for the audio/video I'm doing. Sure, some will never read a book.

...Bernie

Posted by: Bernie Dehler | Dec 14, 2005 3:44:25 PM

Todd, I enjoy this blog and helps keep me thinking. I like the topics you have given that help us in ministry. Such as, handling conflict situation. Senior Pastor Staff relations etc. Those type are my favorite. Once in awhile you use to do the ask Ken thing. I liked that as well.
Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Jade | Dec 14, 2005 3:48:23 PM

I usually just read and appreciate without saying anything... I enjoy your posts so much that I have set Monday Morning Insight as my homepage. Feel the love!

Posted by: Christopher Coggins | Dec 14, 2005 4:29:09 PM

I am another mostly silent reader who enjoys your blog very much. I hope you do not get discouraged and quit. I like most of the topics you choose to post on; I do not like nit picking. But its also easy to avoid the nit picking. It doesn't take but one or two lines into a post to see the direction its going...and then I scroll quickly to the next entry.

Posted by: Julie | Dec 14, 2005 4:45:57 PM

To me, Blogging is a great outlet for conversation that is hard to have when it's so specific to what church ministry is all about.

I, too, get weary of people who troll blogs for the sole purpose of taking an opposite stance on nealry everything on the blog. But I know that there's a lot of good discussion that takes place and plenty of insight to keep me coming back.

Posted by: Anthony D. Coppedge | Dec 14, 2005 4:47:38 PM

Todd-
I am just getting started with my own blog, myself. I love reading your blog & check it daily. It sounds like many,many other people do as well. You are doing a great ministry & are very insightful as well. I especially appreciate how you handle the negative comments & those who post them.
Keep up the excellent work!

Posted by: chris | Dec 14, 2005 5:26:34 PM

I would like to say that it is hard to find blogs that are straight Christian. I started my blog on Yahoo 360 and have found few people in that blog site that profess the love of God. Although, I am not a leader I am very active in my local church and I voice my opinion very outwardly. I be very happy when I find a fellow Christian who is truly a servant of God and not someone that if you were to visit their blog it leaves you wondering well are they Chrisitians or not. I'm glad I found this feed on my site.

Posted by: keyna | Dec 14, 2005 5:35:34 PM

Todd,

I have SERIOUSLY considered starting a blog, but only if Bernie is a regular commentator! (I really mean that!) That said, I LOVE yours. I frequent a handful of them, but yours is by far the most interesting, the most enriching, and the most fun!

Keep it up! We love it! (and God have mercy on your soul... just kidding!)

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Dec 14, 2005 5:49:39 PM

"and how poor some people are in their rationality and communications skills"

Was that criticism?

Posted by: Abbott | Dec 14, 2005 5:55:29 PM

Peter,

That probably could be arranged. :)

Abbott... yep. :)

Todd

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Dec 14, 2005 6:03:51 PM

I have three…pastorphill.typepad.com…links to all three can be found there…

But I use mine for training in my ministry and only have about 2 to 300 that read it any given week.

I use it to train our small group leaders…coaches…and one personal one that I post things I like to talk about…

I hardly ever get comments on the site…but everyone loves the blog…

We are starting pod casting soon…this will be different because we are going like Terry does at his pod casting but with a more radio style teaching environment for leaders…

Posted by: phill | Dec 14, 2005 6:20:07 PM

interesting you should blog about this today. i just read gary's right before i landed on your post about gary. it does seem like there's a lot of us dropping off. i've wondered about it myself. but i think it all gets down to seeing blogging as a communication tool. if you need this tool, or can make it work to help you do what you're here on earth to do, then blog away. but if it steals from you like a nasty addiction, then drop it. or start using it the right way for you. i think it can be a great tool to help pastors communicate with congregations in an informal medium, and for others to share ideas about what's working or isn't working for them in a certain field of work. it is great for friends and family - it can take the place of a personal newsletter. but then again, there's the gossip, arguments, complaining, etc. that i think for some of us has an addictive draw and we either have to control that or get away from it. and for some it is just a time waster and should be dropped. it's like the internet itself - it can be used for good - even great - things for the kingdom, but it can also have a tragically addictive element to it if not used for the purpose God has us here for.

so, as long as it's a tool that helps me do what i do, i'll keep blogging, and guarding against getting consumed in vain arguing as i am prone to do.

so i'll shut up now so i can adhere to my principles.

thanks for blogging, todd.

Posted by: dan ohlerking | Dec 14, 2005 6:21:40 PM

I'd say blogging could be undergoing a weeding out. This will ultimately be a good thing I think. The quality will rise to the top.

I used to think blogging was for anyone and everyone, so long as the individual talked about their passions or filled a unique niche. Now, I wonder if some people are just more cut out for it from the get-go.

With that said, I'm all for the guys and gals who quit blogging to spend that time with family or redeem their walk with God. If it's a stumbling block for you, just leave it. For me, it's more of a natural thing to be with my wife and spend solid time with God each day. I'm always striving to be a good steward of my time.

Todd: "I've spent a lot of time arguing with people over silly things. And they are arguements that are truly a waste of time because they are unwinnable over the internet."

Waste of time. Unwinnable. You nailed it, Todd.

Posted by: David Russell | Dec 14, 2005 6:26:03 PM

I agree that blogging is undergoing a weeding out process. Ultimately that will be good although some excellent bloggers with much potential will chose to give up on the medium.

Criticism is part of being in the public limelight. You have to sift out the chaff of the criticism and hang on to the wheat. There's an old saying, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

I don't get terribly upset when Christians disagree and sometimes make irresponsible statements. They are human too. What I do get burned by is when their Christianity is called into question. Most of us are in some stage of growth that differs from person to person. Try giving each other the benefit of the doubt first and you'd be surprised how less caustic some of the criticism comes across.

Personally Todd, I think your posts are by and large excellent. I think you err when you get involved in the discussion and trade tit for tat. Just let the criticism run off like water on the back of a duck. As long as you know your intentions, post what you want and edit and improve on future posts based on the lesson you've learned from your critics.

Posted by: pjlr | Dec 14, 2005 8:02:17 PM

I just recently got into blogging. I like the public forum aspect. Good to see other people's thoughts and ideas.

Good insight.

I am getting my own blog going, but it does take time and people.

Posted by: scottV | Dec 14, 2005 8:05:12 PM

Todd, thanks for the link. I took about a month break and it was good. You have to know why you are blogging and to me it is an outlet. I really don't have to watch what I say because my people know me and know I will say anything. :)

the problem for me was the time it took with all the comments. I am in the process of redoing my blog and will probably turn comments off come the first of the year so I can just blog and not think about it.

Posted by: Gary | Dec 14, 2005 8:23:19 PM

Todd,

Don't you dare quit! I have really enjoyed you and your blog, that is why I sent you the Christmas Card today.

If it was not for you inviting me to this several weeks ago I was going to quit ministring. But I have really enjoyed it and have made some new friends, like you, that wild and wooly Bernie, you just gotta to love him, Brian, Pastor Bill, Bill, BeHim, Peter and many more. I love you guys and all of you have touched me in more ways than you'll ever know. I have been reading my bible more and praying more.

I look up those scriptures everyone tells me and I have learned that I have been wrong on things. Pastor Bill and I had a wonderful time on email yesterday talking to one another. I have asked him to be my mentor. I look to Peter, Bernie, and Brian as mentors. Shoot I look to all of you like this.

Just the other day I began to think about how much bigger and sweeter heaven is going to be when all of us here get there.

As a matter of speaking man, I have been wanting to get my own internet ministry started and I was going to email you to see if you'd help me get started.

I am happier than a pig in mud tonight because now I have internet service at home and I can speak to you all. That is why I got services today, because I enjoy you guys.

If I have been trouble for you I am truly sorry to all of you. Merry Christmas to all of you. love you all in Christ. Jeff Ruble
My email address is j.ruble4him@fewpb.com

Posted by: Evangelist Jeff | Dec 14, 2005 8:39:45 PM

Todd,

Don't you dare quit! I have really enjoyed you and your blog, that is why I sent you the Christmas Card today.

If it was not for you inviting me to this several weeks ago I was going to quit ministring. But I have really enjoyed it and have made some new friends, like you, that wild and wooly Bernie, you just gotta to love him, Brian, Pastor Bill, Bill, BeHim, Peter and many more. I love you guys and all of you have touched me in more ways than you'll ever know. I have been reading my bible more and praying more.

I look up those scriptures everyone tells me and I have learned that I have been wrong on things. Pastor Bill and I had a wonderful time on email yesterday talking to one another. I have asked him to be my mentor. I look to Peter, Bernie, and Brian as mentors. Shoot I look to all of you like this.

Just the other day I began to think about how much bigger and sweeter heaven is going to be when all of us here get there.

As a matter of speaking man, I have been wanting to get my own internet ministry started and I was going to email you to see if you'd help me get started.

I am happier than a pig in mud tonight because now I have internet service at home and I can speak to you all. That is why I got services today, because I enjoy you guys.

If I have been trouble for you I am truly sorry to all of you. Merry Christmas to all of you. love you all in Christ. Jeff Ruble
My email address is j.ruble4him@fewpb.com

Posted by: Evangelist Jeff | Dec 14, 2005 8:45:46 PM

I ran into your site about 8 months ago and was going through a time of indecision in my ministry. I read and re-read some of those comments made by Bernie, Jeff, Al, and two handfuls of others give me my daily fix on the blog. Sometimes I spend too much time jotting comments, that are always kind and edifying, to the topic (unlike some who are obviously pastors on rabbit trails) [Oops] for the day. I don't always comment on paper but I do consider my esteemed bloggers and wish I would have thought of their answers first (oh, well). Todd and other blogger's... Keep up the great work. With over 200 readers you are blessing our ministries beyond what you could imagine. RevJay

Posted by: RevJay | Dec 14, 2005 9:40:33 PM

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