By Katie Livingood
Synod Communications Director
Once upon a time, the word “blog” brought to mind images of a digital version of a teenage girl’s diary, providing little value for a large audience. Today there are over 150 million blogs covering everything from personal diaries to informational, instructional, or inspirational content on specialized topics to brand promotion.
Many of these blogs address the subject of faith. Within the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, a number of congregations and pastors blog. Topics include book reviews, commentary on current events, faith-building images and artwork, commentary on scripture, reflections on faith in daily life, weekly sermons, news and events from the church, or personal thoughts. Some do it as a personal practice with the hope that others will enoy it while others do it as an intentional part of their congregation’s ministry.
Blogging provides the opportunity to explore concepts, thoughts, and scripture in an informal way where people can easily comment and share posts with others. As a versatile online medium, blogging reaches people where they are. Many people are tied to the internet at all times, even though they may not be in worship, or even in town. So for those who want to stay connected Monday through Saturday, who miss worship, or who are away seasonally or for school, they can still be connected to their faith community.
Some pastors find it helpful on a more personal level as well. For Rev. Emily Carson blogging is a creative outlet. “I can be creative in a way that I know is good for my soul,” she explains.
Earlier this year, Rev. Dan Doering attended a seminar by Dr. Amit Sood on physiological resilience, a process of creating positive behavior when encountering stressful situations. At the seminar, Doering learned about a discipline of having a guiding word for the day and think about, meditate, and pray about that word. After two months of this practice, Doering took it public and started a blog. Examples of words to focus on include gratitude, compassion, acceptance, higher meaning, forgiveness, celebration, and scripture and prayer.
Successful blogs, whatever their focus, contain a vareity of content. Rev. Heidi Heimgartner, a blogger for First Lutheran Church, Blooming Prairie, Minn., shares that they include a printable calendar of upcoming congregational events, links that members are interested in (for example, Caring Bridge updates, but only with permission), a monthly contest to identify a picture of something in the church building or on the grounds, links to listen to the worship service on the local radio station, worship times, event information, weekly devotions, fun videos, and other news and downloads.
Rev. Scott E. Olson sums it up well, saying, “Bottom line: it’s another way to connect and have conversations with people.”
If this is one way you would like to connect in your faith community, check out “BE HEARD!,” the synod’s communication workshop to be offered August 7 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn. There will be several opportunities to learn about communication, including a session on blogging. See semnsynod.org/communicators/workshop for more information.
Check out these blogs from around the synod:
- Rev. Justin Boeding – Pastorjsblog.com
- Rev. Emily Carson – www.theladypastor.com
- Rev. Dan Doering – thinkingthoughtful.wordpress.com
- Rev. John Heille – unlikelyconversation.blogspot.com
- Rev. Heidi Heimgartner/First Lutheran Church, Blooming Prairie – firstlutheranbp.wordpress.com (soon to move to www.firstlutheranbp.com)
- Rev. Keith E.O. Homstad – www.keithhomstadicons.blogspot.com
- Rev. Scott E. Olson – gracemankatopastor.blogspot.com
- Rev. Pete Reuss - walking-in-the-sunshine.blogspot.com
- Rev. Howard White – trondhjemlutheran.org