top 20 youth ministry blogs

adam mclane’s research is complete, and he posted his list of the top 20 youth ministry blogs on the ys blog earlier this week. i’m super pleased to see whyismarko somehow land at #2. to be honest, i’m rather surprised by this, as it seems like my traffic never fully recovered from the 6 month blog sabbatical i took last year (and, even since i’ve started blogging again, my traffic has been on a slow downward arc). some of my slowing traffic, i’m sure, is that i have chosen to not care about it like i used to (the old 2 posts a day, every single day approach i used to use). these days i post when i want to, and rarely more than once a day. and if three days go by without a post, i choose to not care.

my ranking was certainly helped by the fact that, for whatever reason, my technorati ranking is pretty good at the moment (526), while josh griffin’s blog (who, i’m VERY confident, gets WAY more readers than mine) has an oddly low technorati ranking at the moment.

i like adam’s approach of considering influence as a subjective portion of the rankings. all rankings are, ultimately, subjective in one way or another (the compiler chooses which metrics to care about, which are often in opposition to one another). but i think the list will be even better next year, when those voting on influence are the last year’s top 20 (or, will that make it worse, like a church elder board that has the power to choose their own replacements!?).

some of the list are the expected standards of youth ministry blogging. but i was pleased to see tash mcgill pop up from 41 last year to 16 this year. tash is one of the only female bloggers on the list (kara powell of the fuller youth institute blog being the other), and one of only two non-US bloggers (the other being ian mcdonald of the UK-based youthblog). her blog is really worth reading (she’s a great writer), and i’m glad this list will give her more exposure. i’m also a fan of jeremy zach (as a person, youth worker, and blogger), and glad to see his blog on the rise.

the two biggest “injustices” on the list, in my opinion, are josh griffin not being in the top 2, and the fuller youth institute blog coming in at 13, where it actually dropped from #5 last year. the FYI blog is, i think, the single best youth ministry blog out there. if i were creating a “blogs youth workers should read” list of my own (100% weighted on my subjective opinion), the FYI blog would be #1. i’m not sure how it could drop this year, as the content is better than ever. but i have to believe it’s because not enough people know about it, and with the addition of “influence” in adam’s formula this year, it didn’t score high enough with those who provided the input on that factor. (there’s also a little “injustice” in people who barely ever blog at all making the list. for example, my good friend chris folmsbee makes the list at #8, a climb from #21 last year, but hasn’t posted since mid-march! or, how ’bout mark riddle, who rose this year also, but hasn’t posted since mid-january!)

ultimately, whether i made the list or not, i’m glad adam created it, because there are a few in the top 20 that i’ve never heard of — and i want to start following them.

here’s the list — happy reading!

2010 Rank / Blogger Name / Blog address (2009 Rank)
1 / Youth Specialties Blog / (12)
2 / Mark Oestreicher / (3)
3 / Tim Schmoyer / (3)
4 / Josh Griffin / (2)
5 / Adam McLane / (7)
6 / Adam Walker Cleaveland / (1)
7 / Orange Leaders / (–)
8 / Chris Folmsbee / (21)
9 / Ian MacDonald / (9)
10 / Walt Mueller / (–)
11 / Jeremy Zach / (28)
12 / Jonathan McKee / (19)
13 / Fuller Youth Institute / (5)
14 / Mark Riddle / (25)
15 / Mike King / (15)
16 / Tash McGill / (41)
17 / Gavin Richardson / (8)
18 / Matt Cleaver / (29)
19 / Kurt Johnston / (10)
20 / Stevan Sheets / (10)

9 thoughts on “top 20 youth ministry blogs”

  1. Josh’s Technorati rating seems incredibly low, even I have a higher rating than he does at 131 to his 128 and yet I have a tiny amount of traffic in comparison. I wonder if there’s a specific reason for that.

  2. Marko – Since the topic is blogs, I wanted you to know how you inspire other youth leader. I am the husband of Betsy Hanzelin, who has been Director of Youth Ministries at Flossmoor Community Church for over 17 years. She is currently leading a mission trip in New Orleans with over 20 youth and almost as many adults. She brought a netbook with and is blogging the trip as well as asking kids to write entries. It is becoming an amazing journal that the kids will be able to re-read for years to come.

    Please keep teaching us how to do this…

  3. The Folsmsbee & Riddle Factor give this list the smell of irrelevant & inaccurate. Also, Cleaver – whom I love – hadn’t blogged since mid-february until he made the list…

    Obviously those guys are big time contributers to the youth ministry world and each has influenced me and I’m grateful for their contribution, if some formula puts them in the list of top 20 when they’ve laid dormant for so long, it might be time to write up a new formula…

  4. hey marko, thanks for the very very kind words. we don’t feel any injustice–this is worth the dialogue! the clinchers for us seem to actually be the stats (apparently our ranking from influencers was actually very positive). we have a really low alexa rank and our feedburner stats are low. huge factor here is that we’ve been latecomers to this field–our blog itself is actually not yet 2 years old! we welcome other feedback on what we could be doing better!

  5. Trust me, no one wants that subjectivity removed more than I do. I don’t mind compiling the list, but comments like Adam’s above were what made me not want to publish the list at all.

    As Brad pointed out, the FYI blog was rated very highly on influence while some of the stats were weird.

    I love the discussion and debate this thing has caused. I hope that it wakes up YM bloggers who have been pretty dormant.

    I dropped from the index blogs which hadn’t posted in 2010. The reality is that there are some of those high influence bloggers who get more traffic on their dormant blog than those who are unknown and blog daily.

    All I can say to those who want to do better is, get your site to report correctly to the major public stat things and write more influential content.

  6. Hey Marko,

    Thanks for saying such nice things about our FYI blog. We were also a bit surprised that we had dropped but like Brad’s already said, our feedburner and alexa stats (whatever that means?!?) are low. So it’s causing us to look more closely at the more technical side of things, which we might not have done without the list. We’re learning.

    Maybe I should blog about that :)

  7. Thanks for the kind words, Marko! Such a great list of bloggers – I read almost every one of them! JG

  8. Marko- it’s not about how often you post. It’s about potency. ;) that last post from January has got another couple months of shelf life.

    Hope you are well man.

  9. While we are mentioning great blogs, I would like to introduce into the conversation. It is a children’s ministry site with resources to help with youth classes especially the little ones. There is truly a lot of devotion given by a lot of people to create such a network of blogs and resources. Congratulations to all who continue to fight the good fight of faith.

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