So every once in awhile, I get an email like this…
It’s basically a ministry leader asking me for advice on how to get a pastor’s blog up and going. He’s hoping it will allow him to connect to his church family during the week.
Usually, I just follow up with these two questions:
Question #1: What will you cut out of your current schedule so you have time for the blog?
Question #2: Have you considered doing something else like a Private Facebook Group?
I love blogs and I love pastors connecting with their members. But, I believe in the last few years blogs have become inferior to other platforms.
In short, there is a better way to connect with your church members digitally!
“But Daniel, every pastor should have a blog, right?”
Seriously, Pastors what else are you going to do with all that extra time you’ve got laying around? [sarcasm intended]
After reading these articles, I’m pretty sure I understand where the authors are coming from and why they believed blogs were the right solution. But, in all fairness, a lot has changed on the internet since these posts were written.
One of them is almost nine years old. Memes and emojis weren’t even a thing nine years ago.
Today, I want to lay out the case that the “Pastor’s blog is dead” and why a “Private Facebook Group” is the better way to go. Since I’ve already dug myself into a pretty deep hole and offended every pastor who has ever started a blog, let’s see if I can dig myself out.
And, trust me, I definitely see the irony of me telling you not to blog while writing on a blog.
Well, let’s do this…
Why the Pastor’s Blog is Dead:
We happen to host quite a few church websites; somewhere around 500. So, I’ve seen and launched a lot of pastor’s blogs.
I don’t know what your experience has been, but maybe you can relate. In most cases, they tend to be lackluster and pretty poor on content with next to no traffic or engagement. And I am convinced they are the wrong tool for what you are trying to ultimately accomplish!
Here are few reasons why I strongly believe the pastor’s blog is dead:
Reason #1 — It’s dead because the majority of your church won’t visit it.
Getting people to go to your blog is really hard. Unless you are writing “shock-and-awe” type articles with over-the-top titles, don’t expect massive results. Building a blog is an uphill battle with very little engagement for a pretty long time, if ever.
Reason #2 — It’s dead because it’s hard and time-consuming to manage.
Most of your congregation won’t be visiting your blog without a pretty intense content schedule, marketing strategy and a lot of consistency. If you’re reading between the lines, basically I’m saying this: “Getting people to read your blog takes time, time, and more time.”
But hey, your son doesn’t need you to go to his baseball games? And those date nights with the wife are totally over-rated. [even more sarcasm]
Reason #3 — It’s dead because it’s a bad tool for what you want to accomplish.
So, I’m assuming if you are reading this article it’s because you want to connect with your church family during the week, NOT necessarily build a national platform.
If my above assumption is wrong, ignore this article and get yourself a blog pronto!
But, if your goal is to better connect with your church, then you need to seriously rethink using a blog.
- Blogs allow for comments but aren’t good for conversations.
- Blogs don’t encourage participants to be contributors.
- Blogs don’t attract a wide demographic (teens, singles, adults and seniors).
- Blogs aren’t the best for quick snippets of content (quotes, memes, short videos).
- Blogs tend to be more sterile and professional instead of transparent and personal.
- Blogs need high-quality time-consuming content.
- Blogs don’t have any built-in notifications.
- Blogs are not where your church people are at the majority of the time.
Why you should start a private Facebook group:
So, I’ll admit it – I love Facebook groups. I started my first one about a year ago for Christian Creatives (You can check it out here). We have about 500+ members in it and we grow by a couple dozen every week. So, I’m writing this from a bit of experience. Below are a couple reasons why I think you need to start a Facebook group for your church.
Reason #1 – Facebook Groups are private and personal.
It’s hard to be transparent in a digital world. Blogs are not a good solution to this problem. You may write an article intended for your church but ended up having to answer comments from people who don’t even live in the same state or country as you.
A private Facebook group allows you to have transparent conversations with just people in your church. It also allows those people to be more engaged and vocal since it’s in a private setting.
Reason #2 – Facebook Groups are built for engagement.
Facebook has literally spent billions of dollars so that their users can easily create content that is super-engaging from streaming live videos, creating polls, adding documents, posting photos and so much more. All of these tools were built specifically to help you engage your audience.
So instead of having to labor through a lengthy blog post you can record a quick video, ask a simple question or throw up a picture. And quickly begin having conversations with the people in your church!
Reason #3 – Facebook groups are easy to grow and manage.
I would guess 90% of your church members have Facebook accounts, and most of those people are on them daily. This makes growing your group incredibly easy. Send out an email. Invite people to the group and BAM! You have 100+ members over-night.
And, on top of that, managing the group is a breeze. All you need to do is make some trusted people moderators. This means you have a lot more eyes on what content is going to the group. And just in case you are a little worried about what is being posted, you can actually approve all the content before it goes live.
So, no worries about people starting GoFundMe campaigns, or seeing invites for an essential oil parties.
But don’t take my word for it…
Here is something Joel Rockey a pastor from Fresno, CA had to say about his church Facebook group…
“Starting a Facebook group has been a great help to our church! We are able to keep our everyone updated with current events, announcements, and prayer requests. We’ve also noticed a lot more interaction within the group than we would have on a regular website or blog. A side benefit is that it’s a great way to share pictures from church events and activities without spamming all your other Facebook friends. Overall it’s been a blessing!”
I understand in a perfect world it would be best to do both, a blog and a private Facebook group but honestly, I don’t know any type of leaders who’s time is being pulled in more ways than our Pastor’s.
So, are you are struggling with launching a blog?
Or, is the “latest” content on your current blog around six months old?
You might want to consider switching your approach and using a Facebook group as your primary digital connection to your church.
What do you think? If you agree or disagree with this article, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
To be continued…
Look out for Part 2 of this article where I am going to give you some practical thoughts on how to set up and run a private Facebook group for your church.