Church blogs give ‘the why behind the what’

Alban Institute columnist Lynne M. Babb says for clergy and congregations, blogs fill a niche:

A blog entry can convey “the why behind the what” by telling the personal hopes of the leaders or a story that lies behind the dream. A blog post could give a personal testimony about last year’s version of the same ministry or a similar ministry in another congregation. The vision for the ministry can be addressed in a personal and honest way.

A congregation’s blog entries can be viewed as a series of building blocks, each one communicating a piece of what the congregation considers to be valuable and essential for faith. In many ways, this lightens the pressure on the person writing the blog entry. Each blog post needs to tell only a part of the whole story, to vividly and faithfully represent something about this congregation’s identity and values, but it doesn’t have to say everything. An ideal blog post is only two- to three-hundred words, which is only a few paragraphs. A blog post is like a short sermon in that it can really only make one point. No one sermon can say everything about the life of faith. A person who preaches regularly hopes and prays that, over time, all those sermons will serve as building blocks to communicate the big picture of God’s goodness and the faith journey God invites us into. In the same way, blog posts don’t have to say everything about the congregation, just one thing told in a compelling way, one piece of the big picture of the congregation’s life. In that way, blogs are different from congregational websites, which need to represent in a more systematic way the life of the congregation.

Blogs have a distinctive voice: conversational, personal, and informal. They speak the language of our culture and time. Congregations and congregational leaders can use blogs wisely and strategically to communicate the heart and soul of a congregation. Websites, digital photos, blogs, sermon downloads, social networking websites, and other new communication options offer a congregation a wonderful opportunity to consider the implications of all the ways it can express who it is and what it values.

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