Straight from Atlanta to Cleveland. This morning, John Daley (of Orthodoxology) and I hopped in a car, where we drove to the Akron airport to pick up Billy Craig (a former classmate from RTS now serving in at New Hanover Presbyterian in Richmond VA) so we could all attend the Parkside Pastor's conference.
Providentially, the first seminar I attended was blogosphere goliath Tim Challies' seminar on Blogging your ministry (which parallels nicely with the Blogging to learn series on which I'm working). I missed his overview/history of blogging/story of Tim as a blogger. I did however catch his overview of some things that Christians are doing well on the blogosphere:
1) community – the blogosphere has fueled the resurgence of reformed movement.
2) sanctification – Tim approaches journaling as a spiritual discipline – now blogging is a part of his ongoing discipline. It is more public and less personal, but it has great impact.
3) teaching -- blogging gives teh chance to teac h good doctrine, but it is limited. Most blog readers only hang in there for 1000 words or so
4) information – blogging is useful for disseminating information about the reformed movement – conferences all over the country are seeing much higher attendance this year – blogging is a part of it.
5) Unity – blogging is a great platform for bringing together different groups – groups that had been divided by mutual suspicion before.
Then he presented 5 things that he felt Christians could be doing better:
1) Evangelism -- people gravitate to like interests – pagans will stay away from “Christian” sites” – our challenge will be to move out into other spheres – write about things that interest us, while still maintaining our identity.
2) Filtering – we suffer from information overload – we have to ask what is worth reading. Don’t lose balance with reading, family, etc.
3) Control -- just because you can say it doesn’t mean that you should
4) replacement – don’t make your most important relationships on the web – don’t neglect the church and family for
5) controversy – controversey may generates traffic but it isn’t helpful. Avoid dwelling in discouragement and gossip.
All pretty good thoughts. Tim came across with humility and forthrightness. He fielded questions from pastors seeking to get started. Many of the questions were about how we can use blogging to build community... I'd suggest that blogging doesn't build community, but it does enhance it. More to come later tonight as I chew on these things.
Soli Deo Gloria