As a blogger, I’m supposed to understand that you readers can’t read lengthy paragraphs. Just like church growth strategists understand that you can’t listen to sermons over 20 minutes long.
You need easily readable blog posts and digestible worship experiences for a few critical reasons.
- You have short attention spans
- You shouldn’t have to use Dictionary.com or learn Biblical doctrine
- You need bloggers and pastors to quickly tell you how their material immediately benefits you
According to a blog I read on the art of blogging, I apparently expect you, my readers, to read with more maturity and engagement than you can muster. Reformed pastors have the same unrealistic expectations of people in their pews.
If I want more readers, I should dumb down my blog, just as my pastor should dumb down his sermons to gain new members.
Okay, I’m ready to stop writing this parody of the blogging advice blog (although I certainly entertained myself by imitating his writing style and implementing some of his suggestions). Having majored in English “with an emphasis on writing” — at a Catholic college, no less — I appreciate the value of fully developed paragraphs that neither give away my entire thesis immediately nor encourage readers toward shallow thinking and narcissism.
Although playing by the rules of the blog on blogging has necessitated that I divulge the connection I see between his advice and church growth strategies, let me backtrack for a minute to comment on the blogging advice before I apply my thoughts to church growth.
I’ve derived some benefit from the blog about blogging, first of all, and I would be both dishonest and unwise to leave you with the impression that I completely disregard everything the writers suggest. Actually, I have put some of their ideas into practice. Those ideas have helped me write more organized blog posts, for which I’m truly appreciative. So please don’t misunderstand me as writing off everything they recommend.
But it is a secular blog with the stated purpose of teaching bloggers how to build their audiences. And the overriding theme seems to be that successful blogs begin with the assumption that readers want things in easily digested portions. Heaven forbid, they seem to say, that a reader endure the challenges of lengthy paragraphs and complex sentences! Bloggers who impose such demands will never develop a big following.
They may be entirely right.
What they overlook, however, is that quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality. Sure, I would like more than 29 women to read the Bible Studies I write. I believe those Bible Studies will go much further in cultivating discernment than a plethora of articles picking at the latest foibles of Beth Moore. Yet two of you consistently tell me how much the Bible Studies help you understand key doctrines. Could it be that the Lord is more interested in having me serve you two ladies than in me being a wildly popular blogger who caters to the lowest common denominator?
I prefer to think of my readers as intelligent women who can handle sophisticated writing. I don’t see you as silly little girls who need God’s truth delivered in bite-sized candies and always in reference to what Jesus can do for you. Life really isn’t about you anyway. It’s about the Lord Jesus Christ! I’d rather treat you as mature women who understand that fact.
Surely you see how blogging parallels how churches conduct their services. Popular paradigms use similar principles that the blogging experts use. Everything is short, easy to swallow and appealing to egos. Rather than aiming to build solid disciples, seeker-sensitive churches focus on superficial spirituality with the broadest appeal, assuming that most people shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads over the complexities of doctrine. Making people feel good will fill pews and offering plates, thank you very much!
My blog, like the church I belong to, may never achieve massive numbers. But faithfulness to the Lord matters more than popularity. And I’d rather faithfully serve a small group of women than compromise my writing. You deserve as much.