Best of the Blog 2012: Digital Ministry, Pastoral Transition, and Church Leadership
2012 was the most challenging and gratifying in my professional career. I published my first book, left one call and accepted another, and relocated our family of six from Boston to Philadelphia. It was a great year to be blogging to document it all.
What I've learned about blogging is that one does not only write a blog to process the present moment, but also to observe how one's own perspective, style, and interests evolve over time.
I blog, in part, to discover what I'm interested in, what seems worth writing about, and to chip away at larger ideas and challenges in 1000 words or less. In short, in blogging, like all writing, I suppose, the thing you learn the most about is yourself.
So, in a new a new tradition (drum roll) here's the best of my blog, 2102 edition:
Here's the 2012 edition of the blog in raw numbers:
- 48 posts
- 36,134 visits, of which 25,670 were new
- from 25,727 unique visitors
- who viewed 57,583 pages on the blog
Top five posts:
- What Young Clergy Want You To Know, which went completely viral, resonating with young and seasoned clergy alike, garnering over 1100 Facebook likes
- 10 Commandments for Church Websites, pulling together my best advice on web design for churches
- Five Ways Church Members Can Participate in Digital Ministry, a "priesthood of all believers" look at social media for evangelism and ministry
- Pastors, Stop Complaining About Sunday Morning Sports, with sports being symbolic of the loss of privilege clergy experience in our culture
- Should Pastors Remain Facebook Friends With Former Parishioners?, one of the persistent question among ministry leaders
Here are more highlights organized thematically:
Digging into Digital Ministry
In May, Elizabeth Drescher and I published Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible. It was an amazing experience writing, editing, and launching the book. I couldn't have asked for a better partner than Elizabeth. I'm also grateful to our editor, Stephanie Spellers, at Church Publishing for her help, encouragement, and insight.
In the blog I continued to explore the relational, networked, and incarnational nature of digital ministry that we write about in Click2Save:
- Tweet Up: How to Bridge Digital and Face-to-Face Relationships
- How Digital Ministry Builds Traditional Churches, Skype interview with Chris Yaw
- Digital Ministry: It's Not Brian Surgery, about pastoral care around, literally, brain surgery
- Five Ways Church Members can Participate in Digital Ministry, a "priesthood of all believers" look at digital ministry
- Our Amazing Experience of Digital Prayer when my son broke his femur and I reached out to my social networks for prayer
- Feast of the Digitally-Intergrated Incarnation, the blending of digital and face-to-face relationships
These were accompanied by practical how-to's about:
In May I announced I would be departing Redeemer for Upper Dublin Lutheran Church. I shared my three key questions about leaving one call and accepting a new one and the role that digital media now play in pastoral transition:
- Digital Disentanglement, about the digital dimension to leave taking
- Who's Sermons are These Anyway?, about transplanting my sermons from the church to my own blog
- Social Media and the Call Process, on some harrowing moments managing connections and relationships during the process
- Should Pastors Remain Facebook Friends with Former Parishioners? (My answer is yes.)
Church Leadership in a Changing Culture
Toward the end of 2012 I began writing more on shifts in culture and leadership—these were among the most popular posts.
Following the death of Steve Jobs, I drew leadership lessons from his life and work, informed by his biography by Walter Isaacson. Jobs symbolized to me leadership in a digitally-integrated world. I wrote that Steve Job's Best Invention was Apple itself, an organization that is able to create amazing products, and Jobs' advice on keeping your passion kindled in order to do great work.
On the intersection of cultural change, declining mainline denominations, and church leadership, I wrote:
- Rise of the “Nones” and My Trip to Asheville, responding to the Pew Forum report, The Rise of the Nones
- Leadership for a Church on the Edge, with some key marks of digitally-integrated leadership for the church today
- What Young Clergy Want You to Know
- Pastors, Stop Complaining About Sunday Morning Sports
- What the Church Should Learn from Mitt Romney's Defeat
- I explored these themes this in a Skype interview with Jim Hazelwood, Bishop of New England, and in a webinar with ELCA Synod Communicators.
And there was plenty more. Feel free to check them out all my posts in the archive.
Above all, thanks for reading! I am deeply grateful for your readership and support!
photo credit: Jenni Douglas