What do you suppose it takes to be a great blogger? And by great I mean being the best blogger you can be for the glory of God.
For a Christian blogger, most people answer this question by saying a blogger needs a good knowledge of the Bible, writing skills, social media knowledge, some sort of expertise, and the ability to make beautiful images for Pinterest.
Some might add being good that a blogger needs to be good at monetization, reading her audience well, and being able to tell a good story.
None of those answers are wrong. But to be a truly great blogger (by my definition above), you have to do that something extra.
And what is that?
You need to be able to step outside your comfort zone. Not once, but on a regular basis.
The following are just a few areas where I’ve had to step out of my own comfort zone. I’m sure you can relate.
A Great Christian Blogger is Vulnerable
Blogging isn’t for the thin-skinned. That’s for sure.
I remember many years ago on (on my birthday even!) I wrote a post that some of my readers didn’t agree with.
Now, at the time, my audience wasn’t specifically Christian, but some of the comments I got on that post were downright rude. And mean.
Even we Christian bloggers leave ourselves open to hurtful comments from those who don’t agree with us. Not everyone is going to agree with every post you write. And once in a while one of your readers, who might be having a bad day, might just take her bad day out on you!
You have to be able to respond with grace. You need to show Jesus to your disgruntled reader, even when you don’t think she’s right.
It’s a hard thing to do. After nine years of blogging, I still have a hard time dealing with negative feedback. It hurts, especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a post.
It feels like your reader is rejecting you.
Dealing with negative feedback is a skill that takes work. The really successful bloggers? They’ve gotten to the point where they can shake the negativity off and realize that not everyone will like them. The really good Christian bloggers realize that pleasing God is good enough. Pleasing anyone else is gravy.
A Great Christian Blogger Tries New Things
The second way a good blogger steps out of her comfort zone is to try new things.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love routine! I like to write, and writing is how I fell in love with blogging.
But blogging isn’t just about writing. It’s about building community, and the tools we use to build community are constantly changing.
Let’s take Facebook, for instance. It used to be that you could easily reach your Facebook Fans by posting a link to your blog. Then posting pictures was the way to go. Now it’s video — specifically, live video.The secret to being the best blogger you can be for the glory of God.Click To Tweet
I’m going to make a confession here. Video scares me. I’ve been doing a limited amount of video for a few years, and I’m usually not happy with the results, even when I’ve practiced what I’m supposed to say.
Live video is even more terrifying. No practice? For a long time my response was no way!
But, because I’m trying to build a community to encourage others in their Christian walks, I see the need to be accessible to my Facebook community, even without perfect hair, makeup, and poise.
So I tried Facebook live. And again. And then again.
I’m not perfect, but I’m learning to love it. So I’ll continue to do it until the next change comes along.
And that’s the attitude we bloggers need to have toward trying new things. Sometimes we’ll make fools of ourselves. Sometimes those new scary things will lead to an increased ability to spread God’s word.
I want to take the risk, if it means I can encourage more people. How about you?
A Great Christian Blogger Admits Her Mistakes
Admitting our mistakes is never easy, is it? But when you’re a Christian blogger, transparency is important.
Just this week our fellow Christian blogger Ruthie Gray released an ebook about conquering mom anger. In order to reach people with her message, she needed to get real about her own struggle with anger.
Back when I was a personal finance blogger, I had to write a few posts about how I had blown our budget. Admitting my mistakes to all the world, wasn’t fun, but it really helped in building community around my blog.
Our readers want us to be real. Our readers need to know that being a Christian doesn’t mean being perfect. There are too many Christians out there who put on perfect faces and pretend everything is alright.
As influencers in our communities, we need to show our readers that being perfect isn’t the goal. Growing in Christ is. And sometimes that means failing and ‘fessing up to our mistakes. Asking for forgiveness. Being real.
A really successful Christian blogger knows that transparency is a big key in building trust with her readers. I think the Bible has something to say about that. Oh yeah. James 5:16. That’s a good verse to apply to blogging when appropriate.
A Great Christian Blogger is Always Learning
You can’t teach what you don’t know. And if you don’t keep learning and growing in Christ, you will run out of things to write about.
How can I encourage my readers to go deeper in their Bible study if I am not doing the same? How can I mentor those coming up behind me, if I don’t keep moving forward myself?
To stop learning and growing is to kill your blog. I’m serious!To stop learning and growing is to kill your blog.Click To Tweet
I always hear the word “expert” thrown around in the blogging world. The “experts” say you need to be an “expert” at something to be a successful blogger.
I say you just need to be growing. I’m never going to be a true expert on Jesus, because I am not Jesus. But I’m further along in my faith than some (and not as far as others), but the important thing is that I’m growing.
I can encourage and mentor those who are a few steps behind me, but only if I keep growing. If I don’t, those coming behind me will surpass me. And then why would they read my blog?
If I’m not growing in my relationship with Christ, yet I’m writing about that very subject, I’m a hypocrite. Ouch.
Sometimes it seems we bloggers live outside our comfort zones, doesn’t it?
Are you discouraged yet?
I hope not! Stepping outside your comfort zone is difficult, but it’s worthwhile.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Leads to Personal Growth
The only way you learn new things is to try new things. When you step outside your comfort zone, you might learn a new skill. Or you might get better at dealing with your critics. You might even discover a hidden talent!
Doing hard things is one of the best ways to grow as a person.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Brings You Friends All Over the World.
Sometimes after I send out an email, I receive responses from readers, asking me to pray for them. And I do.
And sometimes those prayer requests lead to friendships. Trying new things and taking new courses has also brought me friendships with other bloggers that may not have happened otherwise. These readers and other bloggers encourage me, both in my work and in my faith.
Blogging is a work-from-home adventure, but it’s not a lonely adventure.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Opens Your Eyes to God’s Work in Your Life
I always love it when I write about a vulnerability in my life and a reader tells me how much it touched her.
I know that without God, I’d never have the courage to write the hard things. And without the courage from Him, my readers would never be impacted by my words.
Stepping outside your comfort zone ensures God gets the glory. And isn’t that the reason we blog in the first place? So we can glorify God with the gift of writing he’s given us?
Yes, being a Christian blogger can be hard. Really hard. But in the end all the hard work is worth the reward.
Do you know what the great news is?
Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is something anyone can do. Yes, writing skill helps when it comes to being a good blogger.
But your attitude is the most important factor in whether you are successful or not. Being open and willing to try whatever God leads you to do and being satisfied with the results he provides from your obedience is the true measure of a great Christian blogger.
Actually, that’s the true measure of someone who is growing in Christ, isn’t it?