Here are some key thoughts from the seminar Tim is giving at the Basics Conference, currently ongoing at Alistair Begg’s church in Cleveland, Ohio. (HT Russell Smith)
Tim begins his seminar by describing the way blogs communicate:
- Blogs are a more PERSONAL means of communication. The tone is informal and conversational, as opposed to books and magazines, which are more formal.
- Blogs are an INSTANT form of communication.
- Blogs are a TIME-STAMPED form of communication. They are organized by dates.
- Blogs are a PUBLIC INTERACTIVE form of communication.
He then goes on to list five things that Christians are doing right on their blogs and five areas were they could improve.
AN OVERVIEW OF THINGS CHRISTIANS ARE DOING WELL IN THE BLOGOSPHERE
- Community — the blogosphere has helped to promote the resurgence of the Reformed movement.
- Sanctification — Approach journaling as a spiritual discipline — and as an ongoing discipline. Blogging is more public and less deeply personal, but one gains the ability to challenge others with ideas and have them weigh in on those ideas.
- Teaching — blogging does provide an opportunity to teach good doctrine, although this is limited by the fact that readers tune out after about 1000 words, or possibly 2000. This leaves bloggers to have to limit the amount of teaching they can bring, so it’s not a great medium for presenting serious ideas, at least not in it’s current form.
- Information — the blogosphere is nearly unparalleled in its ability to convey information quickly because it’s a network where one affects the other — conferences all over the country are seeing a surge in attendance this year. Blogs are stirring excitement about past conferences and generating interest in upcoming ones.
- Unity — blogging is a great platform to learn about each other – what makes us different and what unites us. Blogs have been instrumental in bringing together those who are united by the Gospel, but who differ on the finer points, such as reformed cessationists and reformed charismatics who, in the last several years, have made great gains in understanding each other.
AREAS WHERE CHRISTIAN BLOGGERS NEED TO IMPROVE
- Evangelism — the nature of blogs results in people gravitating to like interests — Christians tend to read Christian blogs, etc. If we are to make a mark on evangelism in this medium, we need to do what has always been done in society in general – filter outward; shine a light there. Christian bloggers may need to write about other things that interest them, while still maintaining their identity.
- Filtering — there’s been a dramatic rise in the amount of information available to us — too much of it can be a liability. We need to use discernment to filter out the garbage from what is valuable, and also not to give undue time to blogs at the expense of other things, like reading Scripture, praying, reading good books, and other things. Don’t become too narrow.
- Control — just because you CAN say it doesn’t mean that you SHOULD. What you write may be available on the Internet for a VERY long time!
- Replacement — don’t find your sense of community online rather than in a local setting — don’t neglect the church and family.
- Controversy — Nothing generates traffic like controversy, but it isn’t helpful — it’s only malicious. Avoid becoming specialists in discouragement and gossip.
For further information on what’s happening at the Basics Conference follow these links:
- Audios of the general sessions and breakout sessions, including Tim Challies’ complete seminar on “Blogging Your Ministry”
- Videos of all general sessions
- Live-blogging by Tim Challies