This is a guest blog post by Lisa DeSherlia.
Currently I maintain two blogs. One is for general audiences and while it’s not overtly and explicitly Christian, I do mention my Christian faith there. My blog is called My Prayer Page and I use it for ministry. Since I maintain two blogs, I spend much time examining other blogs to get ideas for optimizing my own blogs as well as to read others’ stories. The overwhelming majority of blogs that I have visited and read do not use blogging for ministry, including the personal or advocacy blogs. Yes, I realize that that a simple reason for much of this is that many of such bloggers very likely don’t subscribe to a Christian worldview.
I have seen exceptions. A Christ-centered child sponsorship nonprofit runs a blog of their own and I get its updates in my inbox almost every other day. I also use blogging for ministry for them, as they have a blogging ministry for the purpose of getting sponsors for the unsponsored children that they seek to help. One remarkable girl in my network has always used Internet activity for ministry, including blogging, though I can no longer find her blog in a search. I believe that much of the Christian Church still needs to realize that social networking, including blogging, can be used for ministry. Blogging allows us much more complete self-expression than social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social networks. Most social networks limit characters and our ability to post and for good reasons.
Yes, I’m aware that all venues of Internet activity, including blogging, have a darker side. We’re all aware of how scammers and hackers abuse their Internet and business savvy talents to prey on unsuspecting and trusting users who desire to use online services. You may have your stories to share too. I have fallen for a number of these scams and hackers have gotten some of my social networks. We’re all aware of how bullies, predators and other criminals have turned to the Internet to hurt and harm their victims. You may no doubt be aware of teens who have ended their lives due to bullying. You may or may not be aware of how predators have turned to the Internet to prey on the vulnerable, especially children. And yes, we’re aware of how the Internet can destroy relationships, especially marriages. For these reasons, among others, I know that pastors and other Christian leaders may counsel Christians to use the Internet sparingly or not at all. This is understandable.
I know that blogging or posting from a Christian worldview will automatically reduce the number of “followers” and readers that we may hope to get on a blog or any other social network. In this day and age where abortion, homosexuality and other Biblically unacceptable actions or lifestyles have become socially accepted, taking a Christian stand on these topics is sadly seen as “politically incorrect” and even “hateful.” Yes, we should always tell the truth in love and be gracious when we say, post or blog about unpopular or controversial topics like abortion or homosexuality. If we do not, people are justified in calling us judgmental. On the other hand, we Christians must not cave in to this post-Christian, secular culture which tells us that to call abortion or homosexuality “sin” is “hateful” or “discriminatory.” Who would we rather have upset with us, offended people or an offended God?
My Christian blog is relatively new but I have many plans for it. I use the blog to post on any topic on which I’m informed (I avoid topics that I know little about), and it’s from a Christian perspective. My current article there is called “Christians Confront Crime and Missing Persons.” My recent one was “Christians and Halloween.” My recent post was inspired by a Christian mom in my Facebook network who uses Facebook for ministry and is unabashedly Christian in every post and photo she puts up; she doesn’t celebrate Halloween because of its occult origins and ties. Yes, we should continue to serve and minister in the traditional, face-to-face way. After all, many people don’t have Internet access or choose not to use it. Many things take place outside of the Internet. We Christians, especially in the developed world, are blessed that we have so many tools at our disposal to do God’s work. Throughout history, people did not have computers, cell phones, iPods, iPads, or any other technological gadgets. Even when I was growing up in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1960’s and 1970’s, none of these resources existed.
Christian brothers and sisters, we all can much more easily do ministry. Even those of us who are shy and sweat at the idea of sharing our faith face-to-face can find countless opportunities to share our faith online. Even with all the dark side of the Internet, it’s a great and exciting time to be a Christian. So many Christian ministries and congregations are using the Internet to extend their ministries. These opportunities especially are good for those with disabilities or others who can’t leave their homes to serve God. On the Internet, we can reach the world. On both my blogs, including my Christian blog, I have installed a Google Translate widget so just about any visitor around the world can read my material in his or her own language. We need to take advantage of our opportunities for ministry and go for it! The world is waiting.
Are you one who likes to write? Why not blog for the glory of God?[image from PicDrome.com]