By Stephen W. Hiemstra
The Capital Christian Writers club (www.CapitalChristianWriters.org) meets bi-monthly in Fairfax, VA. The September meeting focused on creating a blog. While I came to the meeting to network, I left the meeting convinced that blogging would simplify online ministry.
I also left experiencing a bit of fear.
Yes. I have had a website forever. Yes. I have different accounts—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn—but I was clueless about how to use these accounts in ministry. I opened a Facebook account when I started seminary and was invited to join a group online. I opened a Twitter account just before the PCUSA’s General Assembly last year. I have no clue how or when I opened the LinkedIn account. The fear arose because I did not want to become famous online for reasons that only my kids would understand!
So I bought some books and started reading. First, I set up a free blog on WordPress.com. Second, I registered a web address to look a bit more sophisticated: T2Pneuma.net. This acronym is short for To Deuteron Pneuma or The Second Wind in English. Third, I matched my Twitter account address to the blog (@T2Pneuma). And, fourth, I also opened a matching Gmail email account: T2Pneuma@gmail.com. The basic idea is to create a simple online identity that can serve as a personal, brand image in cyberspace.
A blog offers several advantages over a website. The first advantage is that it is requires no programming and automates most features. My website (www.StephenWHiemstra.net) is built from scratch in Microsoft Word and offers no bells and whistles. A second advantage is that a blog displays recent articles up front and that allows you to time when articles are posted. A third advantage is that the blog allows readers to subscribe (or following) to the blog and receive an automatic email when you update the blog. A final advantage is that blog keeps basic statistics on how many people visit the blog and which articles they read. (My website service also keeps such statistics, but they are kept on a separate website). Having traffic statistics is a big selling point with publishers.
WordPress.com also makes it easy to link with other social media. When I post an article to the blog, the blog can automatically generate a small blurb with a link and post it in my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Facebook speaks primarily to your family and close friends; Twitter speaks directly to the under thirty crowd on the cell-phone; LinkedIn speaks into your office crowd presenting an evangelism opportunity not usually open during business hours.
All these features offer hope that I can migrate my email mailing lists to the blog over the coming weeks.
So what is my writing project? My book is entitled: A Christian Guide to Spirituality. It consists of 50 apologetic devotionals focused on the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostle’s Creed. Learn more by visiting–T2Pneuma.net—and clicking on the menu title called: Guide. The book is currently under review and I am looking for a publisher.
To subscribe to my blog (www.T2Pneuma.net), pull it up in your browser. At the bottom right corner, you will see a button entitled: FOLLOW. Click it and enter your email address in the box. My blog will send an email to you at that address. Be sure to confirm that email when it arrives.