Growing Yourself – Blogs

In our weekly MCM pastor’s meetings at Panera we are currently discussing different growth barriers that keep our churches from reaching their full potential. The barrier we working through right now is ‘Growing Yourself’.

One good way to grow yourself is by following different blogs, especially those that deal with weaknesses you have. Below I’ve listed different suggested blogs with their topics – dive on in!!

Are there additional blogs you would recommend?

Looking For Help With Your Blog?

Scott Magdalein, of Church Marketing Sucks (that’s really their name!), is proposing a pretty amazing service for church leaders.  He is offering to help pastors and church leaders create a WordPress blog for use in their ministry…for FREE!  Now it is only for those that will be using it for ministry purposes, but you can check out all the details at the Church Marketing Sucks blog.  With the new blog craze and the opportunity to use this incredible tool for ministry, I would encourage any pastors that don’t have a blog to check this out!

Who blogs? (Part 3)

Continuing my series on blogging, this post answers the question:  Who blogs?  If you missed the first two posts in this series you can read them here and here.

The simple answer to the question is, yes anyone can blog.  Blogging is not really restricted to any type of person or for any specific reason.  Now with that said, should everyone blog?  Definitely not.  I have seen some blogs where I’ve thought to myself – this person really needs to get a hobby.  If you’re thinking of starting a blog, ask yourself this question:  Do I have something of value I want to share with all the good people in the blogosphere?  If the answer is no or if you’re just wanting to journal your most personal feelings, set-up a private blog, or just journal on Google documents.  Sorry to be so blunt, but the world doesn’t need to know why your boyfriend broke up with you.

Those that should blog are those that really have some kind of information to share with the world.  Sometimes that information is wisdom or insight, sometimes that information is simply keeping friends and loved ones informed.  For example, a missionary oversees blogging about their ministry would be very helpful for his/her supporters to stay in touch.

Understanding who should blog, many of you may not be aware of a very useful tool in reading blogs – a blog reader.  Basically what a blog reader does is consolidate a number of blog feeds in one place so you don’t have to jump from site to site.  Two of the best blog readers are Bloglines and Google Reader.  I’ve used both, I personally like Google Reader because it integrates easily with my iGoogle home page, but check them out and see what works best for you.

Well, that’s the end of the series.  I know the posts were long (really long), but I hope you’re now a little better informed about blogs.  Now get out there and dive on into the vast expanse that is the blogosphere! 

Where Can I Blog? (Part 2)

Continuing my (too exciting!) series on blogging, today I’m going to discuss some different options a person has when blogging. Believe it or not there are a bunch of different blogging options for someone wanting to start a new blog. They each have different things they do and don’t do, so let’s dive in.

Blogger is by far the most popular of all blogging options. This is for a number of reasons: They are owned by Google (enough said.). It has a very simple programming interface. Here are the pro’s and con’s of Blogger:


  • Very simple to use. Not a lot of fancy add-ons.
  • It’s free! (always a plus!)
  • As I mentioned earlier, it’s owned by Google so it works well with things like Google Reader.
  • Although you can’t personalize your site too much, you can upload a custom header image.


  • It can be, at times, too simple.
  • You can’t upload files to post on your site.
  • Not a lot of template options for your blog layout.
  • Although it is free, there are no upgrading options.
  • You have very little control over your text (changing text colors, etc.).

For the most part, blogger isn’t a bad choice. If you’re looking to start blogging and don’t want to put too much into it right off the bat – this would be a good option, not the best, but a good one.

Although, LiveJournal is a valid option for blogging I don’t really have any experience working with it, so I can’t say how good or bad it is. Feel free to check it out though.

TypePad is a great place to blog. Many of the “Big Time” bloggers will use this site. Users must pay a monthly/annual fee to use TypePad, but you definitely get what you pay for. Here’s the pro’s and con’s of Typepad:


  • You have a lot more control over your text (color & size) and what your site looks like – especially compared to Blogger.
  • You can have multiple blogs with some actually being hidden/password protected. (Always nice for you FBI agents out there!)
  • You can upload files for your posts. (.jpg, .pdf, .doc, etc.)
  • You can upgrade your site to even further improve the add-ons and options.


  • It costs money. I know – you do get what you pay for, but nonetheless it does cost money.
  • Although you do have the ability to customize your site, it is limited. You can’t really change the html coding.
  • Although you can have multiple blogs, you can’t add multiple pages aside from you ‘About’ page.

Over all, TypePad is a great place to blog as can be seen by the fact that many of the high-traffic blogs use TypePad. Although it doesn’t offer everything, what does?

In case you don’t know this, this blog is a WordPress blog. In my personal opinion, WordPress is the best blogging option. Now, that is probably biased, but it has the best options and very few downsides. Here’s the pro’s and con’s:


  • It’s free!!
  • You can upload files for your posts.
  • You have the ability to upgrade to different options.
  • You have the capability to edit the html on your site.
  • It is very easy to set-up & pay for a domain (ex:
  • It’s farely easy to set-up and edit widgets.
  • And my favorite option: You can have multiple pages on your site!


  • You don’t have control over your text color or size like with TypePad.
  • WordPress isn’t as well known (can be good & bad).
  • Some add-on widgets aren’t WordPress compatible.

As you can probably tell, I’m pretty sold on WordPress.  It has a lot of cool options and is very user-friendly.

Those are the most widely used blogging options and some thoughts for each.  If there’s one you don’t see, feel free to leave a comment with the info.  Although I have my preference, check them out and see what works best for you.  If you are considering starting a blog, though, start it for the right reason.  Don’t just jump on the bandwagon.  Doing things just because they’re the ‘in’ thing to do is really pretty dumb.  If you’re going to blog, blog with a purpose.

Why Blog? (Part 1)

Why do people blog?  Is it to make their most personal thoughts public to the world?  Is it to just rant and rave?  Is it to simply be cool?

Well, for some those might be the reasons why they blog, but for many of the most popular blogs on the web, blogging is done for completely different reasons.  Below I’ve explained a few of the things that drive the web’s biggest bloggers, most specifically those in ministry.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but represents many of the popular answers to the question, “Why blog?

First, some people blog today to share wisdom they’ve acquired or lessons they’ve learned.  This is true for those in many different professions, but especially those in ministry.  The benefit of being able to read the thoughts of a church planter in the middle of planting or of a pastor who has taken a church to the level you want to see your church is invaluable.  And not only is it invaluable information, it’s free!  Those who have blogs for this reason are often very kingdom minded and simply desire to share thoughts that will benefit others in similar situations.  Examples of this type of blog are’s blog, Swerve, Steven Furtick’s blog or in marketing circles, Seth Godin.

Secondly, some people blog to create buzz for a new book or to continue dialogue following a book.  This can be valuable for a number of reasons.  You can often see thoughts unpackaged more in a blog.  It also allows for two-way interaction with an author and his readers as apposed to the one-way communication of a book.  An example of this would be Alan Hirsch.  His blog is actually named for his book The Forgotten Ways.

A third reason some blog is to communicate information specific to their church.  This includes upcoming events or focuses, sharing real experiences from their life, as well as sharing follow-up thoughts to a message or teaching.  This allows people within the church to not only get specific information regarding upcoming events, but also allows people to get to know their pastor in a more personal way and see his/her humanity in midst of ministry.  Regarding sharing follow-up thoughts, one pastor has actually said his blog used to compliment his weekend messages but now he wonders if his weekend messages actually compliment his blog!  Very few who blog for this reason, blog simply for this reason, but some good examples are Pastor Jeff’s blog and Perry Noble’s blog.

A final popular reason for blogging is allow a forum for discussion.  This type of blog often has multiple authors and will, at times, have better information in the comments section than the actual post.  The purpose of this blog is to bring people together around a topic or upcoming event for the purpose of discussing issues pertaining to that topic or event.  These types of blogs usually have a peak in readership, but rarely maintain a steady following.  An example of this type of blog is the FutureAG blog.  It was created to foster discussion for the Assemblies of God General Council this past August.

These are some of the more popular reasons for blogging, but as I said earlier, this is by no means exhaustive.  Blogging is a creative practice and therefore is done for many creative reasons.  Although I’ve listed many different reasons individuals blog, rarely will a person blog for just one of these reasons.  More often than not, their blogging will have multiple purposes.

In the days ahead, I will continue this series discussing, “Where can I blog?” and “Who blogs?”.  If there’s something you’ve always wondered about blogs or blogging, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.

Welcome to the Blogosphere

With this post I’m going to be starting a series on blogging.  It’s become the ‘In’ thing to do these days, but I think there is a real benefit to blogging besides just ‘looking cool.’  I really knew blogging had arrived when my friend Ben started thinking about starting a blog (maybe some day!).

But over the next few posts, I’ll discuss “Why Blog?”, “Where can I blog?”, and “Who blogs?”.  With that said, if there’s something you’re wondering about blogging, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.

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