Christian Media

Pastors: Stop Cutting and Pasting Your Blogs

The essence of a successful blog is an honest, “behind the scenes,” authentic look at your views on something.  Whatever your blog is about – religion, media, sports, politics, culture – whatever – the first principle is that it’s from YOU.  It needs to be real, and it needs to be personal.  Right now, too many people – especially pastors – are simply hiring someone to cut and paste excerpts from their sermons, books, or other materials into their blog.

Obviously if you’re such a big name that people clamor to hear anything you have to say, you’ll still get readers.  But if not – or if you’re trying to build your reputation, brand, platform, or message, then you need to write your comments yourself and they need to be written primarily for the blog.  You can tell in a heatbeat those pastors and religious leaders who have blog ghostwriters, editors, or assistants simply pulling other material and inserting it into the blog.  It sounds canned, too perfect, and bookish.

Blogs shouldn’t be so perfect.  They should be a little rough around the edges, imprecise, and casual.  Remember, an interesting blog is really more like an online diary and the people reading it are expecting the kind of thoughts, ideas, and writing they wouldn’t find in any of your books or sermons.  Get personal, and get real.

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  1. Very interesting post Phil and could be a “teachable moment” within Christian culture.

    As a media guy plugged into lots of churches and non profits for a long time, I see a well worn pattern here.  Instead of using creative resources to their fullest, the top down “pastor as the master of the universe model” has always micorwaved sermons in traditional TV and radio.  It’s never been good programming but as long as enough people thought so – the madness continued.

    Now the same mistake is being made in new media.  Blogs, tweets and facebook pages are being managed by others and as you say – “you can tell in a heartbeat” that it’s a hired gun.  What’s needed here in the many to many model is a paradigm shift in the structure of organizations where there is real servant leadership going on instead of so much power concentrated on one person.

    Many to many only works when there is transparency and honesty reflected in communication.  Getting real and in a real sense – getting smaller – is the engine that will make it work.

  2. Blog from The Apostle Paul, found in Dead Sea Scrolls…or a Mason jar…not sure which.

    6AM- Praised the Lord down by the sea. Awesome!

    8AM- Time to make the tents….

    10AM- Roman soldiers sniffing around again.

    12N- 40 lashes less one from those Roman dudes. Don’t feel like lunch.

    8P- Note to self…..finish that letter to the Corinthians

    9:15P- “Hey, Timothy….write something in my blog will you?”

    10P- bed time. These shackles are chaffing my ankles.


  3. Great point. Pastors need to realize that blogs are fully personal for their readers to consume at any time . Instead, many blogs are treated as if they’re just another opportunity to extend the pastor’s personal brand.

  4. Rick,


    incredibly well said!  And it applies to all areas of ministry across the board, not just many to many media kinds of outlets.  But there doesn’t appear to be great payoff.  As a pastor who is struggling to maintain genuine servant leadership rather than follow the model that ‘sells the product’ I have to say it is clearly the road less traveled (and I’m pretty sure I get why – doesn’t seem to deliver ‘success’ as readily).

    Anyway bravo for your insight and the audacity to speak it!  And to you, too, Phil!  Kudos for lauding actual transparency.

  5. I cut and paste once a week,my “Funny Fridays” that are a collection of funny stuff around the internet. Other than that it’s all real. Then again, I’m not a preacher or writer, so I don’t have anything else.

  6. I love blogging and I love writing so my blog probably comes off more polished, but I hope it still retains some of that spontanious feel. I completely agree. Don’t just cut and paste into your blog. Let people know how you feel about something … they’re reading your blog because they feel some kind of connection with you and have an interest your opinion. Great post!

  7. Great one – just reposted to my blog! 🙂

    Actually, Phil, I totally pick up what you’re putting down, but I think that it’s a more complicated issue. I like what Andrew Jones says about treating your blog as a canal or a well. The best things have originality to them, but they’re not just a storehouse of ideas — the best blogs, rather, point you to other sources of refreshment.  I like that approach. So, in that regard, I don’t see any problem with posting something from somebody else’s blog (an excerpt is usually best) and adding your own commentary, response, or personal flair to it. If it’s done well (and not just straight-up plagiarism or quoting other people), it can be really powerful. It illustrates that bloggers are in touch with each other’s work, which is nice.

  8. I agree, but you miss my point Jeff.  Pulling from other people’s stuff is fine.  But reposting sections of your own sermon transcript isn’t.  Whatever you post, be original and don’t just re-purpose everything.  It may be convenient, but it’s not effective.

  9. I’m seeing pastors blogging, using Facebook and Twitter and wonder what the message is. For example, I saw something like this on Facebook today. ” I’m spending all morning in prayer” What happened to the prayer closet and keeping that time private.

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