The more I get involved in ministry the more I realize how dangerous it is.
The temptations to leave God are numerous, but they’re often so subtle we don’t realize we’re leaving Him until the day we wake up and think, Why am I not feeling close to God these days?
That’s the question I asked myself the other day. But I knew the answer before I asked the question: blogging.
It all started, not with my first blog, but with the one you’re reading right now. The difference between the two blogs? I can tell you in two words: platform building.
Building a Platform
If you’re a writer, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, building a platform is similar to building a church or a Bible study or whatever it is you do. It’s a desire (and a plan) to make your ministry bigger, to be able to reach more people to build something “great.”
There’s only one problem. That desire – which may start out as a pure, loving God and others sort of desire – has a tendency to get out of hand. And when it does, all of a sudden our focus isn’t on loving God and others anymore. It’s on a host of other things – all with the potential to lure us away from the One we love.
For the next couple of months, I want to talk about the temptations of ministry: how to recognize them, how to fight them, and how to stay close to God in the midst of them. And on a practical level, how to pursue a platform without going crazy.
This will be different than my last blogging series on eating because I’m still in the process of figuring it all out myself. I’m hoping you guys will help me. I’m hoping we can help each other.
We’ll get started next Tuesday. In the meantime I’d love to hear from you: What are your biggest challenges in blogging or ministry? Leave an answer in the comments if you have time!
Blog Posts & Bible Studies in the Temptations of Ministry and Blogging Series
Note: I wrote this blog series towards the end of 2012 when I was only 7 months into this blog and had only one book under my belt. Click on the different links below to view the blog post or Bible Study.
- 10 Temptations of Ministry Leaders and Christian Bloggers
- When No One is Commenting On Your Blog
- Worrying About What People Think
- Feeling Rejected and Condemned Questions
- 7 Lies That Mess You Up in Ministry and Blogging
- A Biblical View of Ministry
- Bible Study: When Ministry and Blogging is Hard
- The Bible’s Solution for Insecurity
- Insecurity Bible Study
- 9 Questions to Ask Before You Start People Pleasing
- 5 Goals for the Ministry Minded Blogger
- Bible Study: When God Asks You To Do the Impossible
- 9 Questions to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Failure
- Bible Study: The Temptations of Blogging
- How to Break the Blog Stat Checking Habit
- Blog Stat Checking Questions
- A New Direction
- Journal Entry: The Embarrassment of Blogging
- Journal Entry: Blogging: Is it Worth It?
- Journal Entries of a Christian Blogger
- Journal Entries: Blogging as Ministry
- What I Learned About Blogging
- Francis Chan: The Dangers of a Writing and Speaking Ministry (This wasn’t part of the series but I included it since it’s a helpful video by Francis for Christian writers and speakers.)
P.S. For all you WordPress bloggers out there, I’d also love to know if you use wordpress.com or wordpress.org for your blog and which you would recommend. I didn’t realize WordPress was putting ads on my blog until just a little bit ago, and I’d like to get rid of them. Thanks!
Elizabeth Archer says
You hit the nail on the head! This IS what I was going through at the height of my adoption fund raising, and it lead to depression. And I wondered, where is God in my life anymore. I knew my blogging efforts were temporary once we reached our fund raising goal. But it was not a good place to be. Once our goal was reached, I didn’t magically resume my once much closer walk with God. I had to find/work my way back. It was a hard lesson, I don’t regret, but I’d rather avoid. :o) It wasn’t a healthy place to be. The balance is back now and I’m just blogging to be blogging. I’ve lost readers, I’m more anonymous. I’m looking for God’s lead this time!
Were you ever able to pinpoint what it was, Elizabeth? Too much time – too much emphasis – or something else? I’m glad the balance is back.
Karen Foster says
Barb, I’m so glad you are writing about this subject. Before I heard of “building a social platform,” my day was built on meeting with the Lord, and from there I was empowered to write. Then the world told me I “need a platform” if I want to be a professional. I need to blog, build a website, tweet.
Trying to figure out computers, the internet, and social media does not come naturally for this dinosaur. It’s hard work and tends to rob my joy. Building a platform also prevents me from spending more time with the Lord AND writing! There’s only so many hours in the day.
I love blogging, and I see the value. Its an opportunity to reach people world-wide who may never step into a church and hear the gospel of Christ. Christian blogs minister to people who feel isolated or want to grow in the Lord. But sometimes I wonder: Are Christian blogs one more temptation or excuse to keep people from reading the Bible?
I look forward to walking on this journey with you!
I feel the same way about the technology, Karen – not enjoyable! I think about all those great writers of the past – AW Tozer, St. Augustine, CS Lewis – I wonder how they would have done in this age? Would they have had enough time to spend the time with God they needed to spend to be able to write the things they wrote?
I think you have an interesting point to about Christian blogs. I’ve been wondering the same thing. In the classes I teach, the women and teenagers who really grow are the ones who go home and spend time with God alone. I’ve been coming to the conclusion that unless my blog somehow helps people spend time with God alone – or leads to a platform for me to write a book that does that – it’s probably not worth it for me.
Karen Foster says
I agree 100 percent. Intimacy with the Lord helps us grow. Blogs that fail in that area…if that’s our goal…or misses the mark is a waste of our time. And steals His glory. I can’t wait to participate in your Bible study. Pertinent to our times and the ministry.
I’m still trying to figure out what that study will look like – I don’t think it will be like my last one with a little Bible study in it every day. It might be more of a series with occasional Bible studies.
Kathy Collard Miller says
This is an important topic. I look forward to walking it alongside you. I think it’s a huge temptation, whether we’re writing blogs or reading blogs. My goal is to write 3 posts a week and I feel tense if time goes by and I haven’t kept to that. Will people still return to read? Then I’m tempted to just write anything I can think of instead of that which really has impacted me by the Lord. So, thank you for sharing.
Ah, I know how you feel – unfortunately! It was really freeing for me to take the last month or two off and say, I don’t care if people come back, I need a break! I’m glad to have you here.
Dan Black on Leadership says
I have found if your serving God through a leadership position, blogging ministry, or advancing His Kingdom in anyway. The enemy places a big target on your back. It’s why we need to make it a point to be seeking and being in close relationship with God and to have other strong Christians around us. Looking forward to the future post series.
I think you’re right, Dan. I’ve definitely felt that attack at different stages of my writing and teaching ministry. It usually seems to be most intense when I’m beginning a new aspect of a project or a ministry. I really struggled with it during my last stint of writing and it eased up a bit on the break – hopefully things will be better this time around!
Dan Black on Leadership says
I’ll be praying for you Barb.
Thanks, Dan. I appreciate that.
Elizabeth Archer says
Barb~ it was too much time for me! I was on the computer waaay too much. It slowly sucked me in. It was frightening. I felt so pressured to please the many new readers, (who many of have since left) and our financial supporters. Posting, answering e-mails, comments.
Your posts DO help me spend time alone with God! But my humble opinion is that I don’t think you need to post as frequently as you do. Your last study was wonderful. But I think you could have posted it every other day or even just 3X a week. Since I’m trying to spend more time with Him and less computer time, I really don’t have time everyday to print off~ read and study something new. But I absolutely never want to miss out on any of your studies, so I put them in a folder to start after I finish the current study I’m doing! :o)
I can relate to the feeling that you have to make everyone happy, Elizabeth – in fact that’s why I did the one post a day for 5 days a week routine last time. Because I said I would do it and felt like I had to do what I said! Which of course I didn’t. People pleasing is one of the things I want to talk about in this series – and I’m only planning to post two or three times a week. I appreciate your feedback on that. And thanks for the encouragement on the studies!
Kari Scare says
I was struck by your comment about how the answer to your question about why you don’t feel as close to God was blogging. I had to think about this one long and hard, because for me, blogging is one of the main reasons I feel closer to Him than ever before. And I find myself asking why that is. Maybe it’s because I have not intensely pursued a platform like so many recommend and suggest. Maybe it’s because I view blogging as a ministry. Maybe it’s because I know I would blog if no one else read it. So, I am looking forward to your study on platform, because I think it will help me come to terms with how I can better approach creating a platform and not lose myself while doing so.
That’s interesting, Kari, that blogging has made you feel closer to God. I think you’re right in that it’s because you don’t have the platform goal and you look at it purely as a ministry. That’s the way I am with teaching – no impure motives, I love doing it, and I consider it a ministry – and teaching brings me closer to God.
I think I don’t feel that way with writing because the platform itself has become a goal – even though that’s really dumb since I don’t have a big reason to have a platform. I don’t have a book I want to get published, the idea of writing a book proposal and trying to get it published intimidates me like crazy, and i still don’t like the process of writing – although I’m beginning to realize that’s mainly because I’m a perfectionist. If I can get rid of that, I think I’ll enjoy writing.
And I definitely wouldn’t blog if no one else would read it – I bet I feel like platform is important because if I’m suffering this much i deserve to be rewarded for it. Which I don’t feel with teaching because I like teaching and it comes easily to me (I agonize over writing).
Thanks for the thought-provoking comments – I think God is going to use everyone else to teach me what’s wrong with me!
Kari Scare says
You know, Barb, I am not exactly sure where God is taking me with blogging and teaching, but I am loving the ride. Ever since I have been truly allowing Him to direct my steps, I have found peace in these things. He may be developing a platform through me, and I am thankful He is using me in this way. The more I simply get closer to Him, the more I am enjoying this journey. Writing can be such a joy, and I pray that you truly find that joy one day.
Thanks, Kari. I appreciate the prayers.
Elaine Baldwin says
Thank you for tackling this, Barb. I am going to tag along because I need to keep my focus on my First Love and not on what man says will make me successful. At the same time God has strong warnings for those who are slothful and not willing to do the hard work necessary for the jobs He has given us to do. Praying for your preparations and insights.
Glad to have you along, Elaine. And thanks for pointing out the working hard idea. I guess we have to find the balance between being lazy and doing nothing and working so much it takes over our whole lives. Interestingly, I have both faults. I think God is allowing me to experience almost all of the faults so I can relate when I write about them!
Ngina Otiende says
Looking forward to the posts Barb! It’s a needed message.
I use WordPress.org (self-hosted). I just recently moved from Blogger (blogspot). It’s always better to have your own platform (one that you own) than a free one. But for any blogger starting out and wanting to experiment before diving in, I would always recommend WordPress.com. i did not know wordpress.com places adverts on blogs. Maybe there is an ‘opt-out’ somewhere?
Thanks, Ngina. I like the looks of your blog. Was it easy to set up? WordPress.com doesn’t place adverts on the side – they highlight words here and there so that if you press on them they’ll take you to a link. There’s an opt out for $30 a year.
Ngina Otiende says
Wow, so pay to have a link_free home :) Sneeky.. :)
The changeover wasnt easy :) Iam not a big techie person and I was moving from blogger, totaly different platform from WordPress. I imagine it would be easier for you since you are on WordPress already.My blogging comunity really helped me out.