I’ve had this blog for around five years and it has only been in the past two years that I have hammered down and posted at east three times a week. During this time I have learned some hard truths about youth ministry blogging and I’d like to share them with you in case you’ve though of starting your own.
1. Youth Ministry blogging is no different than any other kind of blogging.
Blogging is a narcissistic endeavor. Those of us who blog believe we have something to offer just like the small business man/woman or the politics policy wonk. I’m no different. After 25 years of serving the local church I came to the conclusion that I wanted to write about what I knew and hoped it helped someone else. I’ve read a lot about what makes a successful blog (obviously not enough) and my conclusion is this :
1. Work hard every day to serve your readers.
2. Be authentic and cut out everything that isn’t .
3. Be consistent in schedule and tone.
4. Value your readers time (write about what your readers care about) .
2. Youth Ministry blog readers are just like every other blog reader.
Let me first say that I appreciate you reading this post. If you are a regular reader of my blog I am super grateful for you but I thought the engagement would be higher, a.k.a comments, sharing, etc. Youth Pastors can be super generous people. They offer their ideas, facilities, forms, etc. and I thought that would reveal itself much earlier in the blogging process but I’ve had to pay my dues. I understand that just like every other blogger, I have to earn that comment or that share. It’s not until I took you, my readers more seriously that I started to see your generosity manifest. I will continue to earn that trust every day.
3. It’s hard to make money with any blog let along a youth ministry blog
Now, I didn’t start this blog to make money (and I still haven’t made any) but it’s funny how when you hear you can make money you can become distracted from why you started the blog in the first place . In spite of hearing about all these ways to profit from my blog I have never run an ad, put up a banner, or even did Amazon affiliates. This is not to say these things will never appear but first I have to improve on the four statements I shared in point one. If I never make a dime from this blog I’ll be slightly disappointed but in the end I’ll be content that I’ve helped a few youth workers who’ve stumbled across something I wrote and it challenged their thinking, inspired their hearts, or gave them a laugh.
4. Many Youth Ministry bloggers are slackers (just like other bloggers)
Yep, I said it. How do I know this. I’ve engaged on dozens of youth ministry blogs and I’m shocked by the disconnect many bloggers have from their readers. I expect a lot from myself so I expect a lot from others. I answer every comment in a reasonable amount of time (within a day). I also think that if you’re in ministry, the bar for connecting should be especially high. This is what we do in our every day lives so why is there such a problem when it comes to getting back to someone who was kind enough to leave you a comment (good or bad) about something you posted. Having an audience or anyone willing to spend a few minutes reading your thoughts is a privilege and not a right and I wish more youth ministry bloggers would do what my mother used to say to me, “Poop or get off the pot.” .
5. The Youth Ministry Blogging community is not a community
I have no problem admitting that I was a bit naive when I started this. I thought there was a secret club of youth ministry bloggers that when I posted my blog I would reeive a golden invitation or welcome letter from the community, Instead, I got silence. This is not sour grapes, this is the hard truth. They say high school never ends and it’s true. The best and the brightest of any blogging community band together, help and support one another, and welcome each others posts and input. This has not been my experience. It’s neither here nor there. If you are from a particular theological slant, denominational background or have an affiliation with a large church or curriculum company you may fair better than I but I have no pedigree or names to drop and I’m o.k with that.
These have been the hard truths about my experience writing content for youth workers. It’s suppose to make you see it how it is. It’s not meant to make you feel sorry for me because I’ll write and post until God directs me elsewhere, like podcasting, but, until then, I’ll continue to earn the right to be heard and I look forward to connecting with you.
Are you a youth ministry blogger? What has your experience been in the youth ministry blogo-sphere?
Are you a reader of youth ministry blogs, what has been your experience with connecting with the authors?