Blog success in an upside-down kingdom

I am making a few course-corrections for the blog. After one year of blogging, now is a good time to review how things have gone and where I am aiming for the next year.

Since mid-November 2009 I have published 192 blog posts, learned loads about blogging and WordPress, done a smidge of CSS tweaking, and managed to break the blog once by messing with the php code. Most importantly, I have encountered God in the process of writing these 192 posts and in doing so attained one of my main objectives in writing a blog. My other key objective has been to write content that contributes to others being able to encounter Christ also. Obviously this is impossible for me to assess, all I can do is write what I think would be helpful to me and respond graciously to any feedback from others.

There are certainly ways of measuring statistics regarding numbers of visitors to a website, how long they stay, what search engines or websites they came from, and lots of other interesting stuff. Until a few days ago I used Google Analytics to track such statistics for Words of Eternal Life — it reassured me at least that I am not quite the only person in the world to visit this blog! However, herein lies a dangerous trap for someone trying to honour Christ — the danger of seeking validation and praise from my works rather than from Jesus. It is good to be encouraged but I need to be careful to give praise to God for enabling me to do whatever it is I am being encouraged about, and to seek validation from God, not a blog. In this I have learned the truth of what John Piper says:

John Piper says:

Tell them that it takes relentless intentionality to keep a Christ-exalting blog from become a clever blog. The temptation to entertain is almost irresistible.

I have also been greatly inspired by what Ann Voskamp said recently at the Relevant Conference about blogging in the Upside-Down Kingdom’. Ann talked about serving Christ by going lower, by exposing our thrashing about, our searching in the darkness, and telling our messy stories’ of knowing Jesus as fallen, forgiven sinners. Our stories engage others with theology, culture, circumstance and struggle all lived out in a real life of faith in Jesus Christ.

The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. She needs her again and again when she becomes uncertain — and this is the power of blogging in the upside down kingdom. This is the holy work of a blog, so don’t ever feel shy or ashamed or embarrassed that you blog. Because the body of Christ needs to speak to itself and it needs to speak to the world and this is the beauty of a blog. I get discouraged and I become uncertain and I fall down and His Word through your words is the connective tissue in the body of Christ and we need each other. Please. Keep. Writing. (Ann Voskamp)

So, out of all this I have made a few changes to this blog and set some goals for the year ahead:
  • Rather than concerning myself with numbers of visitors to this blog or increasing traffic, I want to keep in mind my main purpose in writing:

for me blogging is not primarily about how many visits I get or how well this website ranks on search engines. The purpose of my blogging is to write about walking with Christ in ordinary life.

  • I am modifying the layout to focus more on the ongoing story of faith, with minimal distractions.

  • I will do my best to keep the content of this blog Christ-honouring and faith-building.

  • I will try to honestly tell my own messy faith stories in the hope they may help you as you read them.

John answered, A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.

(John 3:27-30 ESV)

17 November 2010

Ann Voskamp has posted an excellent follow up article about what success’ should mean as a Christian blogger on the incourage blog. The post is titled: Six Things Every Christian Blogger Needs to Know. If you found this post interesting, I highly recommend reading Ann’s post.

Up next Comfort my people Be thankful to be strong And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you
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