The Church of Blog

I was going back through some of my old posts and came across The Church of Blog. As I read it I noticed a few things I would say differently now. What you will read below is an updated version of an older post I think is relevant for the day.


As bloggers we have some of the same people reading our blogs every day. So, as a blogger, if I were to have 2500 people visiting my blog everyday and let’s say that 70% of those people are the same people everyday…that would be roughly 1750 people. When you put that in terms of a church (if you are the church going type), 1750 people coming to your blog and reading what you have to say everyday is very impressive. For any one church service to have 1750 people every week is an impressive showing by most standards.

(Don’t que the piano player and start passing the chicken buckets around just yet. I’m not suggesting you go take up an offering…yet)

As a blogger, is it weird to think you might have a bigger audience than your own church has on a Sunday? Have you thought about the amount of influence you have with those readers? Are you responsible with how you bring people into discussion? What kind of community are you building through your blog?

As a blogger, you are in a position of influence. How are you going to use it?

I’d like to encourage you to build a community the fosters growth in each other, be authentic, and don’t be afraid to show your weakness so that your readers will gain the confidence to maybe try something they have never tried before… all because you tried it and failed along the way. We are all in this together and success always comes with a little failure so you know what not to do the next time.

I never dreamed EVER that I would become an Ironman, but I did it and writing about the process has caused others to try their first sprint triathlon or to even run their first 5k race. These are people who NEVER dreamed of doing either.

How are you going to use your influence?

What you write about matters and people pay attention. You never know when you might just inspire someone to go to another level and do something completely different… and love every minute of it.

Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • http://monicabrand.net Monica Brand

    A hearty amen from me. This is exactly why I blog:

    Bloggers…build the community, be authentic, be intimate and don’t be afraid to show your weakness.

    thanks for the reminder

  • http://www.withoutwax.tv Pete Wilson

    Well said Spence. In many ways I feel like I have created a church within a church. Or maybe a community within a community. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to encourage, challenge and create authentic moments via the blogging world.

    Why did I wait so long to start this??

  • http://spencesmith.typepad.com Spence Smith

    I love that we blogging helps build the community. we said both of you and great conversation over coffee soon Pete!

  • http://www.beyondJEMS.wordpress.com Amy Halleran

    My desire to write came when I had the twins, but I thought I could never write a book. It was readng the Uganda trip blogs that made me realize the blog alternative.

    Your blog in particular lit the fire in me because of your style. It is always very in depth, thought provoking and engaging, unlike some that are more reserved.

    I think you challenge people to go for it, whatever IT is. Like me with blogging and running. I’ll be doing my 2nd 5k this weekend and it all started by reading your post on the mental health benefits of running. And it’s true!!!

    So for a newbie who only has 5-134 people reading on daily basis. How do you build the community?

  • http://www.beyondJEMS.wordpress.com Amy Halleran

    My desire to write came when I had the twins, but I thought I could never write a book. It was readng the Uganda trip blogs that made me realize the blog alternative.

    Your blog in particular lit the fire in me because of your style. It is always very in depth, thought provoking and engaging, unlike some that are more reserved.

    I think you challenge people to go for it, whatever IT is. Like me with blogging and running. I’ll be doing my 2nd 5k this weekend and it all started by reading your post on the mental health benefits of running. And it’s true!!!

    So for a newbie who only has 5-134 people reading on daily basis. How do you build the community?

  • http://www.justjenean.com Jenean

    Hello! I popped over from BooMama’s blog.

    I’ve definitely thought about this concept, but not in such detail. More as a passing thought. While I’m blogging, though, I definitely want to influence people in a good way. I’ve kind of gone back and forth about sharing too many weaknesses. Not because I don’t want to be transparent, but because I don’t want to be a big complainer all the time. So, I’m living and learning more and more about an interesting read. Thanks for your post. :)

  • http://www.justjenean.com Jenean

    Hello! I popped over from BooMama’s blog.

    I’ve definitely thought about this concept, but not in such detail. More as a passing thought. While I’m blogging, though, I definitely want to influence people in a good way. I’ve kind of gone back and forth about sharing too many weaknesses. Not because I don’t want to be transparent, but because I don’t want to be a big complainer all the time. So, I’m living and learning more and more about an interesting read. Thanks for your post. :)

  • http://www.transformedbywords.com alexsandra

    Great thoughts, I know I will quote you on a future post. And you’ve given me lots to ponder on where my blog goes in future. I was needing inspiration. Many thanks!!

    (Oprah makes me nervous…)

  • http://www.bryan2.wordpress.com Bryan Smith

    I agree with you here Spence, sometimes, I will admit though, when blogging, I feel as if I’m not reaching a big enough audience you know? Like a tiny number of viewers a day see what I write. Which in turn had lead to me being lack-luster in my amount of posts I have. I used to be much better, trying to get back in the habit, but I hear ya with knowing, even just those few that do read my blog, I should be an example as if it were me on a pulpit for the world to see…. if that makes sense. It did in my head.

  • http://spencesmith.typepad.com Spence Smith

    Thank You everyone for your comments!!! Bryan…just give it some time…there are ways to get your blog out there, but it takes a little manual effort.Don’t quit…just keep writing and most of keep telling your friends it’s there…

    Alexsandra…thanks in advance for the future quotes!

  • http://flowerdust.net Anne Jackson

    you rock spence-ster

  • http://flowerdust.net Anne Jackson

    you rock spence-ster

  • http://www.embracingandbeingembraced.blogspot.com Shanda

    well said… I long for a sense of community and open discussion to build up on my blog. I have just a core group of people who read and they don’t comment much. For so long, I didn’t feel that I had anything worthwhile to say. My self-esteem was that low. But as I have grown in my relationship with God, I have realized I have a lot to say. Blogging affords me the opportunity to let it all out.

  • http://www.withoutwax.tv Pete Wilson

    Hey Spence, should we start referring to you as the REV?

  • http://www.withoutwax.tv Pete Wilson

    Hey Spence, should we start referring to you as the REV?

  • http://www.rocksinmydryer.net Rocks In My Dryer

    You nailed it, and I think this is exactly why bloggers who are believers should be pointing people back to the real Church–capital C.

  • http://www.thedwellingplacecc.com John Hobbs

    Thanks Spence. I love it when someone puts into words what has been rattling around inside of me.
    I am a Pastor and can identify with what you are saying.
    I’m thankful for those like you who are creative pioneers in the communication world, who are causing others to think and learn and relate to our changing culture.
    It is my hope thata what I have to say(blog) contributes to the discussion and brings about life transformation. At the same time I’m finding that blogging has enabled me to flesh out in words what God is doing in my life. Blogging has been a blessing to me and I pray my contribution blesses others.
    Thanks again. LEAD ON!!!

  • http://spencesmith.typepad.com Spence Smith

    All of these comments have been great and shannon i think you are so right!!!

    Pete…so when i come see you at church and you call me The Rev…i might blush…i’m just sayin…

  • http://www.mandigirl-muses.blogspot.com Amanda

    I never really thought of blogs being a tool to build community, per se, but you’re absolutely right. My blog is not very old, and it’s extraordinarily boring, but a couple of people seem to pop over with some degree of frequency. I guess that would be the whole “where two or three are gathered” thing.

    I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on transparency and sort of being on that pulpit? I think if I were behind a tangible pulpit, I wouldn’t be nearly as honest or vulnerable as I am when behind my keyboard. Conversely, I selfishly don’t want to sacrifice the freedom I have to be totally honest on my blog for the sake of building a pulpit. Can brutal, gut-wrenching honesty truly go hand-in-hand with the whole community blogging thing?

  • http://www.camelcrossing.net camelrider

    Thanks Spence. Great post. This is the reason I blog….I don’t have a true fellowship in this country so bloggers become my fellowship.

  • http://www.camelcrossing.net camelrider

    As one living overseas without much of a spiritual community…I need blogging. The community of fellow bloggers is beginning to create a safe environment I can share, discuss and learn with. I know it’s not the same as sitting face to face over a cup of coffee…but it’s as close as I can get from North Africa. Thanks!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/andem andem

    hmm… this is very interesting to think about. I have personally just begun to blog and hadn't realized the impact that could be made through it. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JasonWert JasonWert

    "Rev." Spence, ;)

    Great post man. I'm going to try and use my blog to help eradicate human trafficking by raising awareness. I only have a small readership now but hope to grow them to help educate on the problem.

  • http://wetfishdesigns.com/blog Cyndi

    Nice post! I struggle with requests I get from my
    blog readers a lot. Because I am articulate or
    passionate about various thing (parenting, photography,
    my struggle with faith, etc.) does not make me an
    expert & I often feel I don’t have the passion behind
    the words of certain subjects my readers yearn
    for me to write about.

    I should turn my blog over to my mom more often, she
    is blogging while I am on vacation & gets more hits
    than me!!!!

  • http://jayewalking.com Jacklyn

    Great post! I've never thought of it that way. I remember talking with you about tris/sprint tris/running. I am 9 weeks out from my first marathon now and and am trying to write about the process. Community creates inspiration.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/gritandglory alece

    the community that takes place at the Grit is my favorite thing about blogging. i love that it's not just about me encouraging others or them doing that for me. it's about others connecting with each other in the comments, spurring one another on in faith, and actively reaching out to each other. some days it feels like there's some Acts 2 happening right there in the comments section.

    i don't take lightly this platform i have to speak into people's lives simply by sharing authentically about my own. it is a huge gift. a privilege. a stewardship. and i'm consistently blown away as i see God making life out of my brokenness.

    • http://www.spencesmith.com Spence Smith

      Thanks Alece… i think you are right. Giving people a place to learn, connect and know they aren’t alone through their hard times is so important these days.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/kassota tam

    i echo what alece said. blogging isnt something i take lightly. granted, there are days with little to no content, but even so – because of the community that has been built – there still is life in the comments, interaction and connection. i love that.

    i want my blog to be for people, and i believe it is, a safe spot to land. i desire for all to know that when they arrive there isnt anything they cant share. a respect for one another has been fostered there. i suppose it has become a small little Fellowship of sorts. its a beautiful family, i know that.

    • http://www.spencesmith.com Spence Smith

      you are great with connecting people and giving them a safe place to be. I think community has become even more important the older i get. there are so many people to learn from! thanks for your comment and it was good seeing you two at recreate!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    I love blogging because I don't have to please anyone but God. I can share my passion freely and hope that others are encouraged by it. Since I first started writing in the early 1990's, I've never had the freedom that I have in blogging. We truly are blessed!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mesbecker Michelle

    While my message may vary from day to day, sometimes silly (like today – a video made by my daughter) and other days serious, I am always me. It's much easier to be authentic than it is to try a put up a false front, only to be found out later – like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz.

  • tory

    I love blogs, love commenting on blogs and enjoy my own "hidden" blog. (meaning I'm one of the few that perhaps does not want a lot of people to read it and is why I've not linked it here)

    I think you are right about it creating community. I have found that there are certain blogs I'm too intimidated to comment on and there are certain blogs I feel more freedom to comment on because no one knows me. Ironically, on my pastor's blog I nearly almost comment and wonder why more don't. There I'm actually taking more of a risk in my community because these people know me personally IRL, and yet I have found it easier to share about deeper things and questions via comments in a blog. At times I do wonder what people really think of me but in the end I have come to believe that it is better to be known than unknown. It is better to take the risk, plus, when a blogger shares his/her thoughts, it makes me want to be open about my own.

    I generally don't feel I have any influence, and yet this month I know 2 people who bought a book because I quoted it on a friend's FB page, another who bought an album because I tweeted I loved it and blogged about it and I "found" 10 people to do Blood:Water Mission's 40 days of Water with me via FB and my blog.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/davisfamily05 Justin and Trisha

    Spence…it is wild that you reposted this today. Trisha and I were just talking about this. There are some days that we really miss leading the church we started. The affair that I had cost us dearly. But what we realized is that in just 1 year, over 60,000 people have read our story on our blog…that just blows my mind. We would have never been able to share our story JUST in a local church with that many people. So what the evil one intended for harm, God has redeemed and used for good. We are honored to be blogging and hope that our story shared with anyone who wants to receive it brings hope and healing and a fresh start. Thanks for the awesome post!

  • http://www.aussiejoyslife.com Joy Argow

    I would say you influenced me to start blogging Spence. Although I haven't moved to wordpress yet… I am still blogging :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/FourFecta Mitch Ebie

    Thanks Spence! Sometimes we don't realize how much influence we either already have or could potentially have. Ultimately, we should be influencing each other to grow in character and faith. Keep up the good work!

  • http://Website(optional) Angelia

    And this is the main reason I like http://www.spencesmith.cpm. Nice ppst.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/danielcwhite danielcwhite

    Great timing for me to read this blog Spence. I just posted a blog titled "How Many Plates Are You Juggling" and I had a very encouraging comment from a reader. The post was to encourage people to make sure that the plates they're juggling are the right ones. A gentleman posted that the evening of the day he read my post. He not only thought through his priorities, but determined that his kids were not one of them and made a point to put all distractions away when he got home and was going to get on the floor and play hard with his kiddos. He said it made their night and he just realized he doesn't do that enough and is going to change that.

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