the blogging church

bloggingchurch.jpgthe blogging church, by brian bailey and terry storch

someone needed to write this book, so i’m glad leadership network got it done. the book is a good onramp for pastors and ministries considering how blogging may or may not be helpful to their ministry. in fact, i think the biggest strength of the book is that it directly addresses most, if not all, the questions churches and ministry leaders would raise when considering a blog (or, at least, these are questions they should be asking). so, i think there are two categories of ministry leaders who really need to read this book:
1. those who are clueless about blogging. parts of the book are very elementary if you know anything about blogs and blogging. but this is appropriate for those ministry leaders who need an onramp before even considering if they would potentially blog.
2. those planning on starting a ministry-connected blog (or planning on connecting their personal blog in to ministry a bit more). the book raises and responds to questions these people might not have considered.

the book has a tendency toward fiat statements and generalizations that frustrated me at times (“you must view it this way,” “all churches are this way,” “this would be the only reason you would blog”). but for the right reader, the book is still helpful enough.

one final thing: i had a similar love it/don’t love it reaction to the appendix, which has a final word (about a page or two each) from 15 or so leading bloggers. on one hand, that appendix is totally worth the price of the book on its own. and i was fascinated by the level of bloggers the authors were able to get responses from (multiple technorati top-100 bloggers in the list). but i was disappointed by how few actual ministry bloggers were on the list — people who are using blogs in the very way the book is promoting. and, because i get very nervous about the american church’s obsession with taking all our cues from business leaders (not that there isn’t plenty of great stuff to glean from good thinkers in any field!), the input was a tad diminished for me. i would have loved it if the authors had acknowledged that tension, then had two appendices: one from business leaders, and one from ministry leaders. and a greater breadth of ministry leaders would have been sweet also — andrew jones seemed to be the only ministry blogger in the appendix who isn’t a contemporary mega- (or wannabe-mega-) church pastor.

there you have it. one thumb up, one thumb sideways.

6 thoughts on “the blogging church”

  1. Mark,

    (First time commenter) Thanks for this review. I’m a youth pastor and I’ve recently been talking with my (very cool, very hip) pastor about “moving forward” in ministry. We are in a unique position right now with our church (which would involve me starting my own blogging site to explain it all). It is all very exciting and we are beginning to venture into the 21st Century (we may even have podcasts!!) with a bunch of stuff and this is interesting.

    You know, I’ve HEARD a lot about your blog in my network (which is Hong Kong youth pastors – yes, Hong Kong), but I just recently started reading your blogs. They are great…you know why? Because it’s you being you. That’s important for all of us, I think. As Christian leaders, I feel sometimes that we may be looked at as untouchable because we are in a position of leadership in the church. I don’t like that. I’m a normal guy and I want to be treated that way. With that being said, I think it is valuable for the congregation to see what a pastor is thinking about. However, it may seem daunting for a pastor to do this because of the already heavy workload, but blogging seems (at the moment) to be a great asset to a church. I’m intrigued by this book.

    Thanks again for the info. I’m going to look into it.


  2. My one criticism of the book (I have not read it), would be, last time I heard, neither Terry or Brian were blogging in any sort of “church” capacity. Maybe that has changed, but it seems if this is the thing to do, they would still be doing it, and if this is a waste of time, they wouldn’t be attatching their names to the book.

    Brian and Terry were two of the first in the Church world to jump into blogging, but at the rate technology has changed (is changing), how long will their info be relevant and are they the best to share since they aren’t doing it.

    Just my thoughts. Still hope to read the book though.

  3. marko,

    chances are, i will end up reading this for reference & research. however, is this though, more of a beginners guide to help give language to a philosophy for churches to blog?

    shalom, -g

  4. Funny you should post about this book. I had been thinking that it would be great if someone wrote something (or offered a session at a big, national conference for youth workers :)) about blogging although I would love to see something a little beyond the beginner level so that those who are already blogging expand it into their ministry more … as you suggest. Like you, I would like to see a book or whatever that actually uses ministry bloggers, but not as a how-to. It would be way more interesting to know the why …

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