Blogging: a new way to share your faith
When H. M. S. Richards Sr. began his first radio broadcast years ago, people had little idea what he was doing. Some even wondered if he was wasting precious time and even more precious resources. Prophets of doom predicted that his venture into a new way of sharing the gospel was bound to fail. And yet look! What a revolution in gospel witnessing one man’s vision brought. Millions around the world heard the rousing words of “Lift Up the Trumpet” and the comforting adieu “Have faith in God” and came to understand the message of a loving Savior. The Voice of Prophecy ventured out into the unknown and pioneered preaching over radio waves.
What is blogging?
Today, another revolution, called blogging, has surfaced. Blogging offers endless possibilities for sharing your faith almost instantly to millions around the globe. Blogging is all about connections—using the magic of Internet. First there’s reading, then commenting, then blogging. Four years ago I had no idea what a blog was, or what a blogger was. Then I started searching the Internet for churches that were making a difference in their communities. I immediately noticed Web sites called Web logs, or blogs, about various churches and what they were doing. The box in this article lists some Adventist blogs.
Once I got familiar with a few blogs and what they were talking about, I made my first comment to one of them, and they actually commented back to me—total strangers began talking with me, almost as if we were face to face.
I began to realize that I could blog too, and here’s how I blog. As I study my Bible, I ask God to give me an idea to write about for that day. The deeper my study, the more readily ideas worth blogging about seem to offer themselves. I pray about ideas and jot down notes on them. Then I sit down at my computer and post the idea on my blog. The blogging software is arranged so that all you have to do is type in your posts (comments) and save them, just like you were keeping a daily journal. Usually they’ll show up online in just a few seconds.
Anyone who stops by your Web site (blog) can post comments about your ideas if you allow this to happen. They might be across town or across the continent or farther. With distance not a factor, blogging can be described as “the death of distance.”
Blogs are about connections. Something posted in the United States can be seen in Brazil, India, Slovenia, or just about anywhere in the world in less than a minute, and a response can be sent back in the same minute. We no longer have to ask, “Can you hear me now?” as we combine our thoughts and collaborate on our ideas simultaneously.
When we lived near Austin, Texas, my wife and I would go out to the west side of town where they were building magnificent houses on the hillsides. Ambling from home to home, we marveled at the artistry and voices each home shared with us—artful limestone fi replaces, soaring ceilings, timbered structures, grand decks with stunning views, kitchens where exquisite meals would be prepared and served. We enjoyed those houses and the dreams that they inspired in us.
Blogging can be described as visiting unfinished homes as you go from blog to blog enjoying the differences and lifestyles of your hosts. You embrace their creativity, confusion, and concern. You marvel at what you learn, and you wonder at what some people are writing about. Some blogs are political, some philosophical. Some blogs concentrate on religion, some on sports, and some on marketing or artwork. You name the subject; someone will be blogging about it somewhere in the blogosphere. Not only does everyone have an opinion, now they’ve got their own place to tout it.
After a while, you collect a group of favorite blogs where you begin to settle in and become a regular visitor. I check about ten sites or so each day. It takes only a few minutes to look at them and get caught up on their latest entries. These favorites become “third places,” after home and work. Blogging provides information about spaces and places—geography on the Internet.
This collection of spaces and places can be compared to a two-way printing press that excels in sharing instant information. A blog develops into a personalized Web site that looks like a daily journal. Authors/editors can blog (write) or photoblog about anything they want. They can also link to anybody else on the Web who writes about that or similar subjects, or any subject for that matter. You can also do audio and video blogging, called podcasting. As an online community begins to form, it grows and matures as others offer their input, comments, and questions. It won’t take long before you have your own radio or TV station going in this new world of blog media.
Perhaps the best way to understand blogging would be to visit some good blogs. Check out the sites listed in the box in this article and let your mouse scurry back and forth across the Web sites listed. Stop on one or two that seem to interest you, clicking on all the links to see where they take you. Observe the sites not only for content but for how they layout their design and hold your attention. Imagine what type of content you might share and how you would put together your site.
As you look at the homepage of the blog, you’ll recognize the name and possibly the purpose of the blog. With the main section of the blog as the journal section, the major thoughts/ articles/photos are posted here. At the bottom of each post you will often find a permalink and a comment section. The permalink helps you to fi nd the link to that article anywhere on the Web and links you to it. The comment section will open up a form for making comments and reading the comments of others. You may have to sign in to post your comments.
In one of the blog sections you might find other interesting things, like other people’s blogs, links of interest, a calendar with days that have posts, books currently being read, and all kinds of other things.
The best thing would be to just jump in and click away.
After some blog visiting, you may begin to think about doing your own blog. It’s easy to set up but takes some work to keep it going. We think it’s well worth it, so we’ve written about the why and the how below.
Look at Dave’s site. http://apokalupto.blogspot.com/
Look at Marty’s site. http://www.adventistpastors.org/
Three of us do this site together for pastors: http://jjblogs.com/justpastors/ Between the sites, we are telling the story of our Friend and Savior, Jesus Christ, with our target audiences a little different, though they may overlap.
Finding your voice
Who would you talk to if you could get people to come out to a local auditorium? What interests you so much that you could talk about it to them for hours? Answer those questions and you are on your way to knowing your audience and what to share with them. And you are now on your way to your first blog.
Here are just a few blogging possibilities:
• Mission trip promotion and updates
• Daily journal along with your main Web site. For example:
• A college blog
• School blog
• Informative blogs from Adventist Church officials
• Administrators can start a blog for pastors to be seen and used only by those invited. This invitation-only format keeps the focus on the topics relevant to its readers.
Blog Sites to Check:
http://www.mycommonground.org/blog/ Pastor’s blog
http://www.theadventure.org/blog/blogger.html Pastor’s blog
http://www.montesahlin.com/ Church leaders blog
http://jjblogs.com/justpastors/ Blog for pastors by 3 pastors
http://prdaveonline.blogspot.com/ Pastors blog
http://oregonadventistpastor.blogspot.com/ Pastor’s blog
http://www.adventistpulpit.com/ Pastor’s blog for preachers
http://www.jjblogs.com/ Pastors’ blogs
http://apokalupto.blogspot.com/ Pastor’s blog
http://www.3t3red.com/ Pastor’s blog about the Cross
http://www.adventistpastors.org/ Pastors’ blog for pastors
http://janalanmckenzie.squarespace.com/ Pastor’s blog
http://www.guidemagazine.org/extrapages/blog.asp Guide magazine
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/ Leadership journal
http://gien.adventist.org/forum2006/index.html SDA Internet evangelism
http://www.ground7news.org/index.html GC audio podcast
http://www.atsjats.org/article.php?id=4 ATS journal podcast
Daily Bible Readings Blog
Books on Blogging
Publishing a Blog with Blogger. Visual QuickProject Guide
By Elizabeth Castro
Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That’s Changing Your World
By Hugh Hewitt
Starting Your Blog
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