One key to restarting this blog is to more actively listen to others who are writing to similar audiences. Since the death of Google Reader, I have not kept up with blogs. Last week I downloaded Leaf – The News Reader and have subscribed to the following blogs:
Great Plains Conference Bloggers
Around the Connection
- Awe Moments
- Good News Magazine
- Hacking Christianity
- In The Neighborhood of Holy
- John Meunier
- Pastor Andy Langford’s Blog
- (Re)volving Thoughts
- The Ecumethodist
- The United Methodist Reporter
- Timothy C. Tennent
- United Methodist Insight
- Vital Piety
- We Your People, Ours the Journey
I feel that this list is sorely inadequate, having been relatively inactive in the Methodist world online in the past few years. I am especially interested bloggers in the Great Plains Conference. What blogs do you recommend? Maybe yours?
I am in the process of rebooting my blog and want to share the process with you. I started with a tool that helps me succeed at anything, defined a target audience and now want to share a brain dump of some possible upcoming blog posts.
Which of these do you find interesting? Helpful? Ridiculous? Will you please share a comment with what you would like to read on this blog?
- How do I do a wedding?
- How do I do a funeral?
- What should I do if someone is going to commit suicide?
- How should I handle staffing problems?
- What was it like going from Resurrection to First UMC El Dorado?
- How have you sought to make change in the church?
- What does a facilities planning process look like for a 100 year old building?
- What value are community partnerships?
- What are sermon series’ that you have enjoyed preaching?
- How do start to turn the flywheel?
- How do you transition from fundraisers to generosity?
- How do I put together a website for our church?
- Do church bulletin boards do any good?
- How do you handle a funeral for a high-profile community member?
- What is the most critical staff role in the life of the church?
- Strategic Planning in the Small Church
- Worship Planning for 180
- Marketing Techniques for County Seat Towns
- Community Partnerships – Main Street
- How do you become active outside the walls?
- How do you speak prophetically to small town life?
- What are the effective ways to provide care for the congregation?
- What is essential in year one in a new appointment?
- How do you maintain connections with prior congregations?
- How do you build relationships with people your age?
- Word of Witness – Creating videos of life change
- Alpha – A course with the basics
- Introduction to the Bible – Introducing Love of Scripture
- How to respond to hair-brained ideas
- How to focus on the gap / what needs to change
- How to prioritize your time among committees
- Just Say Yes – Empowering People to do God’s Work
- Don’t worry about “stepping on toes”
- Parsonage and Congregation Care
- Planting grass and reviving congregations
- The Most Sacred of Tables – Communion and Fellowship Hall
- How to Bring New Life to Welcome Space
- Some People Will Never Change
- Creating a Discipleship Plan
- How to Follow Up with First Time Guests
- What are some principles for effectively managing endowment funds?
- How do you preach every week?
- How to work with cranky people
- How do you connect with other pastors in the area?
- What techniques do you have for self-care?
- How do you find someone to preach for you?
- Marketing / First Impressions / Follow Up – What’s most important?
- How to Use a Church Database Effectively
- Wishing Everyone Happy Birthday
- How to Support Community Events
I have been using Lift as a tool to help restart this blog and I thought I would share with you some of that process. One of the steps is identifying an ideal target person – someone for whom this blog is written. So, here goes:
The ideal target person for this blog is Methodist clergy, church staff or committed layperson.
Q: What are they passionate about?
- They are passionate about spiritual renewal in the people and congregations of the United Methodist Church.
- They care deeply about introducing people to Jesus and helping others grow in their faith.
Q: What are their goals?
- They want to be effective in their ministry in the local church.
- They want to have a fulfilling personal and professional life
Q: What are their fears?
- They are afraid that they have to be on the extreme right or left to find theological companions on their journey.
- They are afraid they do not have the resources they need to be effective.
- They are afraid that the United Methodist church is doomed.
- They are afraid that they are the only ones that don’t have it all figured out
Q: Why should they care about your blog?
They should care about my blog because they will find:
- resources which they may need for effectiveness
- encouragement and guidance to be fruitful in ministry,
- examples from someone who has gone before them in ministry
- new ideas for day to day life
So, dear reader, does this describe you? What is on target? What is missing?
Perhaps, most importantly, what are your answers to some of these questions?
I recently wrote a post about my hope that by blogging I will contributing to a middle way / extreme center theological position online. Kim left a comment asking what exactly that means. Here is a summary from our Bishop, Scott Jones, describing the extreme center in Adam Hamilton’s book, Christianity’s Family Tree: What Other Christians Believe and Why it applies to Methodism:
“In the Christian faith, there are people who are extreme right and people who are extreme left. But whether it’s clergy clothing or how our services of worship are conducted or how we read the Bible, we tend to be people of the extreme center. The extreme center means that The United Methodist Church at its best is conservative in some areas and liberal in other areas. We don’t fit a stereotype very well. For example, some denominations are good at helping nominally religious and nonreligious people enter into the Christian life. Well, that’s part of the gospel; and it’s part of what we do as United Methodists. Other denominations want to help the poor and address social issues, however they define them. Well, that’s part of the gospel; and Methodists embrace them as well. The center is a very hard position to maintain because there are always people who are sniping at you from the extremes. Sometimes it’s easier to hold an extreme position because you can be really clear and really forceful, but what you are lacking is the perspective of your brothers and sisters who disagree with you. By occupying the extreme center, we see the value of both sides and try to carve out a position, whether it involves theology or social justice, that embraces the whole gospel.”
You can find more information at Bishop Jones’ blog – Extreme Center.
I find that there are plenty of strong voices online at polar opposites of a variety of issues both inside and outside The United Methodist Church. I hope to contribute to conversations online in a way that represents an extreme center theological position.
In what ways have you found an extreme center approach to faith to be helpful? unhelpful?
It has been 649 days since my last blog post.
Much has changed since then.
- Our children are 3 and 2, respectively.
- I switched from WordPress.com to a WordPress installation, thereby starting over on traffic and links.
- I am beginning my third year as the pastor appointed to serve First UMC of El Dorado, KS.
- We have a brand new back lawn and a new roof at the parsonage.
- I am a member of the Great Plains Annual Conference.
What has not changed is that I am blogging to contribute to the renewal of the church. My hope is that this will be accomplished by:
- Making resources available which I have developed for use in the local church
- Contributing to a middle way / extreme center theological position online
- Sharing who I am with the congregation to which I am appointed and the annual conference in which I serve.
- Sharing a distinct voice with background of serving as an appointed pastor for six years at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and currently at First UMC El Dorado.
Will you please share your thoughts, feelings and opinions about what will help accomplish this purpose?
I published the first post on this blog five years ago. At that time I was using blogger.com as the platform and was thinking about using it as a tool to communicate with the congregation for whom I cared. A lot has changed since then, but some things have stayed the same:
- I hope that people in the community and congregation where I serve will be able to read this blog to know me a bit better.
- Writing helps me process things
- I am humbled that there are people that actually want to read what I have to write.
- There is an ebb and flow to my blogging.
There have been many opinions shared about how Google+ (a new social network from Google) has had an impact on the online social media scene. People have posited that Google+ will eventually cause people to leave another network. I posted about this possibility myself.
After conversation with a good friend, I realized that there is value to maintaining connections with others in that way. So, I’ll likely be on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the foreseeable future.
I have been wondering about the possibility of sharing my thoughts on faith, life and ministry at Google+ instead of WordPress.com. Here are some pros and cons of this switch:
- Google+ is built for sharing in a network, therefore, sharing thoughts, feelings and opinions that I hope might spread on Google+ makes it one step easier for people to share with others (instead of Tweeting a link to a post)
- Google+ is built to draw people back through integration across Google web properties – this would increase the possibility that people would continue to comment on a post, thus creating a conversation. Personally, I hardly ever revisit a blog post after leaving a comment to see if there are other comments added.
- Social profile and content creation are simplified for me by being at one location.
- Google+ is not yet public (yet), thus limiting reach
- Google+ does not have the ability to schedule posts in advance
- Google+ does not have analytics available around any particular post
I have reposted the content of several of my blog posts from WordPress over the past week and have received about as many or more comments on Google+ with the addition to a share. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions?
PS – If you want an invite to Google+ leave a comment using an @gmail.com email address and I will send you an invitation.
- “Falling with Style” Still a Goal – I hope to be able to fall with style as well.
- My District Superintendent is blogging a return trip to Vietnam after 40 years away at The Year of the Metal Dog.
- Why Innovation Thrives at the Mayo Clinic could be replicated in churches.
- Brilliant work at Internet Campus Volunteer Training Blog from Saddleback.
- 5 Ways to Integrate Stories Into Your Social Media Marketing speaks for itself
- I am not worried about using something NIH – More at The Peculiar Way We Reward Innovation.
- Pray 40 is an opportunity to “pray for the next generation of Christian leaders as they head to college and university campuses.”
These are the top search terms over the past quarter that lead to viewing my blog – http://andrewconard.com. What does this list tell you about this blog or about searching people do on the internet?
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Bill Gepford is serving as the summer intern with Resurrection Online. It has been great working with him over the past few weeks and I look forward to the rest of the time that we are able to work together. Bill finished his first year at Perkins School of Theology and will be returning there in the fall. I invite you to:
I enjoy writing on this blog and want to be intentional about asking what you want as a reader. Will you please share:
- What kind of posts on this blog do you enjoy?
- What is a topic that you would like to have me address?
- What questions do you have about faith, life or ministry?
- What questions do you have about Resurrection Online?
- How could this blog be more meaningful or helpful for you?
Please leave your responses in the comments or email me directly at andrew dot conard at cor dot org with “Blog Idea” in the subject line.
I look forward to hearing from you!