I went to college at 18. I entered the blogosphere at 18. It started with my own personal blog with a horrific blogspot account. The writing was horrible. Yet, for some reason people started reading it. Mainly thanks to a Southern Baptist blog names SBC Voices. It had an aggregate of blogs that I was on and I picked up most of my first readers from that.
Soon I started a group blog called Evangelical Village (I know, the creativity is overwhelming). This blog started getting 300+ hits a day. This is primarily do to the constant posts on “hot topics.” It could also be described as us milking controversy for all the hits we could get. It worked, but proved not worth it… more on that later.
I got an email not too long after I started Evangelical Village from the founder of the blog that got me started, SBC Voices, asking me if I would be the Chief Editor. I agreed to do it. When I took over SBC Voices it had about 500 hits a day with about 4 writers. When I finished it was at about 1,500 hits a day with 8-12 writers. We were posting something new 5 days a week. During this time I was interviewed by Christianity Today twice and found myself in the thick of a whole lot of controversy.
I led SBC voices for 2 years. After 2 years I decided to call it quits. Below are the reasons why:
- Life. When I called it quits I was 22 years old, been married for 2 1/2 years, had a 1 year old son, was working full time, and going to school full time online. I did all of that for a year while I ran SBC Voices and was publishing 3-4 posts a week. It just became too much.
- Things Got Crazy. I kept finding myself in controversy and it kept getting really heated. As someone who hadn’t had a lot of life experience I was pretty thin skinned at this point. It wasn’t a good mix. One of my writers at SBC Voices is the guy that broke the story about Ergun Caner lying, err “misstatements,” about his own personal history and testimony. Most of the articles revealing the shadiness were getting published on SBC Voices and that also brought a ton of angry, aggressive SBC pastors that weren’t happy we were calling out Caner. Ergun emailed me a few times during that fiasco declaring his innocence, but he would never answer my questions and the evidence was overwhelming. So we kept publishing. This wasn’t the only controversy I was heavily involved in, but it was the most heated and it was the one that showed me I was ready to be done.
- Lost my way. Admittedly, I lost my way a little bit. I started out wanting to be a better writer and the blogosphere was helpful in letting me talk out a lot of things I was processing. Then, for some reason, I started gaining popularity (as moderate as it was) and my college-self very much liked this. I started talking about whatever would get hits and I thought it was cool when several other people would write a bunch of blog posts to counter mine. I thought, “Glad they think I am worth the time.” At some point though, they stopped dealing with my words and it turned to attacking me personally. I wasn’t ready for it. On that note, I also dealt it back. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t healthy. It was sinful. I started writing less and less about theology, ministry, and Jesus. I started writing more and more about the SBC and its politics.
- Real value. I think blogging is great. Welcome to my blog! But after 4 years of extensive blogging I realized I had blogged more than I had discipled. I had blogged more than I had led. I knew that I needed to refocus my time and energy in pursuing my calling as pastor. I needed to have start having real impact. To do this I had to go offline and actually do something. 2 1/2 years ago I was called to be a pastor at my current church. For the last two and a half years I have been pouring myself out for my family and church. Now, with a refocused, Spirit-directed motivation I believe I can blog with real value. Value that is an extension of my calling as pastor.
I am confident this go around with blogging is going to go much better. It might not go better in terms of “site hits.” It will definitely go better in real value. It will go better in motivations, content, style, and productivity. It took me a year to make sure I was ready to jump back in, but that year is over and I am glad to get it going… again.