My favorite blogs and why I read them

how to keep more readers on your blog

This coming week, we’ve asked our contributors to share in a post a site they read that doesn’t get the love they think it should, as well as their top 5 blogs to subscribe to, and what keeps them coming back to certain sites opposed to others. So I figured I’d start.

A blog that should be bigger

One of my favorite blogs to read is the personal blog of Andy Blanks. This one is weird, because Andy Blanks is the Co-Founder of a huge Youth Site, Youthministry360.com . Andy also has a book already out with more on the way, and in my mind, he has become one of the bigger voices in Youth Ministry, so its not like he is unheard of.

But I read his site every day, and his posts warrant far more comments then they receive, and there is not much reaction. His personal site, in my opinion, is FAR greater than the blog of Youth Ministry 360, but I don’t think it gets near the love as YM360.

If you haven’t, already, I would highly recommend subscribing to Andy’s site.

My 5 favorite Youth Ministry blogs

These are in no special order, but these are 5 websites I think you need to subscribe to if you haven’t already.

1. LoveGodLoveStudents.com – Matt Mcgill writes some great stuff and has some amazing free resources on his site. His blog doesn’t get as much love as Doug Fields or Josh Griffin’s, but is equally as good.

2. Stuffyoucanuse.org – Kenny and Elle Campbell started a great site a few months back, its still young and in the infancy stage just like us, but they run an awesome and inspiring ministry. I wish our Middle School Ministry could be as great as theirs.

3. NRSMonline.com – NorthRidge Student Ministry is another Ministry that I love reading about, and their team writes some great posts for Youth Pastors.

4. XP3 Students – I love everything that has to do with Orange, I read all of their blogs, be it for pre-school, children’s, Sr. Pastors, or whatever. The XP3 blog is just about Student Ministry and they bring in posts from a great variety of contributors, this blog is full of educational nuggets.

5. Ken Mcintyre – I love this blog because it does an amazing job of helping Youth Pastors use technology to enhance Youth Group. Ken writes some great how-to’s, and has some amazing idea’s that he has shared, and I always look forward to seeing a new post pop up on my reader.

What I look for in a blog

It seems at times like everyone and their mom has a blog. But the simple fact of the matter is that they don’t, even as I compiled this list I was going through my reader and a lot of the Youth Pastors I used to love reading haven’t posted in months. Last year at the Orange Conference was one of the first times I realized that there really weren’t that many bloggers in Youth Ministry. So if you are reading this and thinking about starting one, let that be my encouragement to you to do it, we need your voice.

But with that, there are things that keep me coming back to certain sites as opposed to others.

The first thing is uniqueness , don’t just reword what someone else has already said. Be it just straight copy and pasting someone else’s posts, or saying “well here are MY 5 ideas for how to do xxxx.”

The second thing is Who are you, what authority do you have to say what your saying, have you seen this work before? Have you actually done this idea? I look at myself a year ago blogging and am amazed that any one read my stuff because I was a punk. I have to remember that when I get annoyed at other bloggers who are just starting out. But If you literally just started your first Youth Ministry job, don’t write a post about how to start at a new ministry well, because you don’t know if thats going to work out. Write about what your doing, but don’t do it in a way that communicates “Learn from me, I have it all figured out,” write it “Hey, does what Im doing seem to make sense to others who have done this?”

Third, I like shorter posts, for the most part. I’m a skimmer, so use bold headlines to break it up, and don’t ramble. This is one of the longest posts I personally have ever written, usually I stay less than 500 words.

Fourth, I like Originality, which is similar to Uniqueness, but what I mean is different. There are core realities in Youth Ministry that we will all have to do, and most of us already have sorted out. You could probably find 100 posts in a simple google search of “How to communicate with Parents in Youth Ministry,” or any other number of things. So if all you are writing about is how-to’s, and they are all basic, I’m probably not going to read your site. If you write more of the why behind it, I probably already subscribe to your site.

 

Comments

  1. While content is king, I like your “who are you” comment. I find some of the most helpful content coming from men and women who are full time youth ministers. They spend their time wrestling with the questions I face instead of trying to guess what they are. They also aren’t trying to make a living off of youth ministers through speaking gigs and cohorts.

    I would add a few… Phil Bell at YouthWorkTalk.com, Brit Windel at http://ypguybrit.wordpress.com/, and I can’t remember his name, but the url is youthmin.org. :)

    Great post!

    • Both those blogs are great, and yours is another one I frequent quite a bit. I love Youth Pastors and their hearts for Youth Ministry, and you can tell the ones genuinely trying to build up a better culture of Youth Pastors for the greater good, and those are the ones I like the most.

  2. While content is king, I like your “who are you” comment. I find some of the most helpful content coming from men and women who are full time youth ministers. They spend their time wrestling with the questions I face instead of trying to guess what they are. They also aren’t trying to make a living off of youth ministers through speaking gigs and cohorts.

    I would add a few… Phil Bell at YouthWorkTalk.com, Brit Windel at http://ypguybrit.wordpress.com/, and I can’t remember his name, but the url is youthmin.org. :)

    Great post!

    • Both those blogs are great, and yours is another one I frequent quite a bit. I love Youth Pastors and their hearts for Youth Ministry, and you can tell the ones genuinely trying to build up a better culture of Youth Pastors for the greater good, and those are the ones I like the most.

  3. Great stuff Ben. I really appreciate your thoughts on “who you are and what authority do you have.” Trying to find your voice is really tough in a world of great bloggers. I’m still trying to find mine, but I know it will come with time and experience. Keep up the great work!

  4. Great stuff Ben. I really appreciate your thoughts on “who you are and what authority do you have.” Trying to find your voice is really tough in a world of great bloggers. I’m still trying to find mine, but I know it will come with time and experience. Keep up the great work!

  5. andyblanks

    Whoa! I just saw this and I was blown away. Seriously. Thanks for being so encouraging. As I’ve told you here and elsewhere, I really value the work you guys do here. It’s pretty cool what God has done through youthmin.org in such a short time. Keep up the outstanding work, and thanks again.

  6. andyblanks

    Whoa! I just saw this and I was blown away. Seriously. Thanks for being so encouraging. As I’ve told you here and elsewhere, I really value the work you guys do here. It’s pretty cool what God has done through youthmin.org in such a short time. Keep up the outstanding work, and thanks again.

  7. Bro…. I am right here with you.  The more, the merrier!  We need more unique perspectives that can speak to different contextual youth ministry issues.  Plus… this post just highlighted 2 youth ministry bloggers I have never heard of.  I love it, when that happens.  

  8. Bro…. I am right here with you.  The more, the merrier!  We need more unique perspectives that can speak to different contextual youth ministry issues.  Plus… this post just highlighted 2 youth ministry bloggers I have never heard of.  I love it, when that happens.  

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