Yesterday the Victoria Advocate ran an article on “Blogging Pastors” of which I was one of the interviewees. It was a good article, however because of space limitations much of the interview did not make it into print. Here are some excerpts that did not make the paper.
Advocate: Do people of faith feel they better connect with spiritual leaders who blog?”
Bard: I think blogging is a great channel to communicate with church members, especially in a large church. In a large church people can feel disconnected from the pastor and the staff but a blog can help bridge that gap. Blogging, if done correctly, can give people a look into your everyday life. If you blog about your wife, your kids, your everyday experiences, your struggles and triumphs and how you are working to apply the lesions you teach on Sunday to your life Monday thru Saturday people will see that you are just like them and feel like they know you…even if they have never met you face to face. That is important because one of the reasons many people give for leaving a church is that they do not feel connected to the pastor.
Advocate: How does blogging relate to your spiritual life?
Bard: If you are a Christ follower everything you do in life is spiritual so for me blogging is just another aspect of it. Like most pastors I read and study for insight and application for my personal life and then share what God is teaching me with the people at church. Blogging has helped me focus even more on scripture application and teaching it to others. Blogging forces you to take the stories and situations in your mind and put them into print, and as you put them in print them become more real.
Advocate: How much time do you spend preparing and writing blogs in comparison to your sermons?
Bard: Being a former associate pastor at Parkway I only got to teach the main service a few times a year, so blogging became my creative outlet. Illustrations and life events that would usually be the basis of a sermon were turned into blog post. This keeps my mind sharp and focused between teaching opportunities.
Advocate: What's one of your best posts in your opinion?
Bard: The post that I get the biggest response on are not the ones I would expect. Sometimes you write something that you think is impactful and life changing and not a single person writes back or comments. Then you put something out there that is simple and off the cuff, like feeding your kids cookies and popcorn for lunch, and people tweet and Facebook about it for days.
My favorite post include “Getting a Mandle for Father’s Day” which is a Man-Candle that smelled like Chuck Norris Sweat, “Death’s Salty Hand Comes a Knocking” detailing my middle of the night allergic reaction to the seasoning on a tortilla chip, and “Rules for the Road, Rules for My Marriage” where I compared the rules I live by to keep me safe when riding my motorcycle and the rules I will not violate to keep my marriage safe.
One of my recent post “Out of Work Pastor will Preach for Food” was an explanation of why I stepped down as staff pastor at Parkway Church. People who were not at church the weekend we announcement my resignation could go to my blog and read in my own words what God was doing in my life and ministry. I posted it right after the service and in 48 hours had over 300 hits. Kept me from having to tell the same story over and over again and kept the rumor mill from running wild.
It was a good article and I was privliged to be part of it. My hope is that pastors will start using the communication tools on the net to connect with their members. The truth is that many churches are dying…literally…their members are growing old and dying. We cannot continue to do church the way our grandparents did church and expect to reach the next generation. Blogs, Facebook, Tweeter and technology in general are tools to connect people and create community. The Great Commission tells us what we are suppose to do, but it is up to us to use the creativity God put in us to figure out how to do it.