As a consultant, I often get asked by pastors, “Should I blog?” My go to answer is that blogging will increase your social media traffic by 55% on average. However, blogging makes sense for pastors far beyond just growing their following on twitter.
Church leaders often interact with people in a “touch and go” manner. Hospital visits, funerals, Sunday sermons, counseling sessions are all environments with a predetermined focus. While genuine connection does happen in these environments, it is connection born out of need. Think of the ER physician with a good bedside manner who connects well with patients.
Blogging allows church leaders to enter a voluntary conversation, which is a connection born out of choice. When people leave their comments they do so at their own discretion, and pastors are able to listen without the pressure of delivering an “expert” opinion. If pastor’s hope to have influence with current generations they have to be open to conversational engagement, not just preaching engagement. Lolly Daskal offers good advice when she tweets, “Stop using your leadership as a monologue and start engaging in a dialogue.”
Guiding the Narrative
Church leaders are keen on preparing fully developed remarks for a 30-40 minute sermon. But it’s more challenging to write a concise 400-700 word post. It’s hard work that needs to be done if leaders hope to guide the discipleship narrative. Thom Rainer puts it this way, “Heavy doses of communication are vital for any relationship…a blog is an incredible way to communicate regularly.”
I remember my grandparents always watching the same evening news on their favorite network. They never changed the channel to check out the other news networks because “their network” was credible, to them at least.
As Dorie Clark points out, “If you create high-quality content, you legitimately may become a source as powerful and trusted as the “legacy media.” That’s the kind of credibility church leaders need. Blogging allows church leaders to share their sources and offer links to helpful resources. That builds credibility beyond the traditional “trust me, I’m the preacher”.
Creating Not Just Tweeting
It’s easier to retweet some pithy 140 character tweet than it is to create a few substantive paragraphs. For this reason Dorie Clark argues, “It’s true that there will always be more readers and “retweeters” than there will be creators.” If pastors want to be taken seriously as content creators they have to communicate effectively outside of Sundays.
Blogging allows pastors to demonstrate their content creation beyond their microphone delivery, and that grows influence with an ever expanding content-hungry following on social media.