I like to blog on Mission Theology. I recommend blogging for ministers, but there are bad reasons for blogging. Blogging is not a good place to vent about people and issues you don’t like. The internet has enough hate (including religious hate) without your help. It is not a path to fame and fortune. Blogposts almost never go viral. In over 10 years of blogging, I have only had one post that reached the periphery of “going viral”— and it wasn’t even a post that I liked much. Successful monetization is unlikely for most theology blogs. I have known a few who have succeeded in making the cash flow, but their sites are treated like a business with staff, budget for advertising and search engine optimization, and with merch for sale. Often they must accept cringy advertisements on their site. I also don’t think that blogs are a great evangelistic tool. Your impressive arguments and prooftexts are no substitute for personal human interaction, demonstrating God’s love in practical ways.
There are, however, good reasons to create weblogs.
- It is a good place to record and hone your thoughts. As you read and meditate, you have some good thoughts and some… not so good. Both of these are likely to be forgotten, or remain semicoherent, unless you write them down. The process of writing them down helps on its own, but writing to a (potential) online audience can help you clarify your ideas.
- It can serve as a repository of research and reflections that may be drawn upon for other uses. These include sermons, training seminars, articles, books, and videos. I have been blogging for over 10 years. On my primary site I have accumulated almost 1,200 posts nearing 2000 pages of text. Some of the posts I have done I am quite proud of… others, less so. By utilizing categories, tags, links and search engines, I can find things I have collected that can speed up producing other material.
- It can be used to influence others. I average around 1000 views per month. This is hardly impressive, but if your topic is theology, generally you will not attract big crowds. But that is not bad. Suppose you want to blog on your favorite recipe for strawberry turnovers, or the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines. You will likely have a much larger audience, but also much greater competition. You will not be on the first page of Google search… or even the fifth. People will not see your site, or they may briefly look at your pretty pictures and move on to other things. However, if today you search on Google for “transcendental contextualization,” a blog I wrote shows up on page 2, and my associated slideshare is on page 1. The same thing occurs googling interreligious dialogue based on the missiologist Max Warren. Blogging on theology can give you greater influence— within a smaller audience.
- It can promote communication across borders. Two thirds of my visitors are from the USA and the Philippines. The other third are from a large variety of nations and territories— 198 so far in 2020. Many of those locations are considered “creative access.” Blogs can be set for dialogue through contact pages, and comment forums, if you want.
We learn and grow through researching, writing, and communicating with others.
Dr. Robert H. Munson is Assistant Professor of Missions and is also Administrator of Bukal Life Care Center. In partnership with PBTS, Bukal Life Care provides pastoral care services and training in pastoral care, crisis care, clinical pastoral education, certified by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP). Dr. Munson teaches Cultural Anthropology, Dialogue with Asian Faiths, and others. He is married to Celia and they have 3 children: Joel, Esther, and Becky. Dr. Munson writes at https://munsonmissions.org/