In the past two years, there have been more than 48,000 views of this weblog.  Of course, this is NOT a lot of views.  Even some of the least successful blogs get 10 to 12 thousand hits a day.  Yet, within our small pond called the mentally challenged community, these are effective results. 

An interesting evolution has appeared within the past six months with this blog.  Because of the volume of material written on Special Gathering Weblog, this blog is now being quoted in many items that appear on the Internet.  Whole articles are being lifted and used.  Most of them leave out the Christian part; but they have the dignity to reference and direct people to the site. 

People who teach webinars on how to have an effective ministry weblog have told me that there are several things which will draw readers and keep them coming back.  Most of these principles could be lifted from The How-To Manual of Effective Writing.  But there are some differences.

 First, you should not use your blog as a promotional tool for your church or ministry.  Keep that information on your website.  Occasionally, I’ve mentioned and even promoted various aspects of The Special Gathering ministry.  Mostly, this has been done because I’ve had a request from someone to post information about something that is happening.  However, the cardinal rule is that this space is to teach people “how to and what is” ministry within the mentally challenged community–not a promotional tool.

You must also remember, this is not a church newsletter.  For years, I’ve worked within the church and I know how effective the church newsletter can be.  I also know how ineffective a newsletter can become. From the time I was 15 years old, I’ve been responsible for getting out a church newsletter in one form or another.  One pastor I work for has written the same weekly newsletter article for over 40 years now.  It begins, “We had a wonderful worship time Sunday morning…”  I don’t need to give you any more information because you, too, have read this article in one form or another for decades.  Even worse, you may have been WRITING this article for five, ten or forty years.

There are effective ways to communicate the good news of Jesus but retelling the things that didn’t happen at that wonderful Sunday worship is not one of them.  Drawing examples from real life brings alive the effectiveness of Christ’s redemptive power.  The parables are short vignettes snatched from life that teach.  In addition, we keep referring to them because they sting with reality. 

Max Lacado’s books burst on the Christian scene about a decade ago.  His heart warming stories were modern-day parables that burned into our hearts and memories the vitality of how Christ’s promises are daily resurrected in the life of a Christian. He reminded us that Christ continually changing our lives and the lives of those folks we encounter.

These are only three things which make a weblog effective.  First is DO NOT use your blog as a promotional tool for your ministry or ministry activities.  Second, your blog entry should not become a newsletter-type article.  Third, keep it vital and chocked full of reality by using everyday examples and illustrations.  Simple rules but effective.

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