I was never a big social media person in the past.
After I enrolled 3 years ago as a student at Southern Seminary and officially moving into the Doctoral program in KY, I was not on Twitter nor wrote a blog post on a regular basis, if lucky, once every other month.
Being on campus with fellow other Ph.D. students, Dr. Jonathan Pennington recommends students to begin to write on a regular basis. Him being a prolific writer that I respected personally even before being a student at Southern Seminary, I took the advice seriously as more than a good suggestion and somewhat awkwardly jumped on the bandwagon.
After 3 years of hearing that advise, I regret not writing on a regular basis. As people often ask me, “So, why do you blog Jonathan?”
Here are the five reasons why I started blogging.
1. Crystallizes Theological Articulation
Mark Twain said, “I like it written.” He liked the end product, but not necessarily the process of writing.
Blogging has helped me formulate thoughts more clearly. As a pastor-theologian, sometimes I do not understand a doctrinal stand until I’ve put it on a piece of paper and read through it multiple times.
As my mentor Jason Walter told me once, linguists tell us that we actually have not had a thought until we can articulate it through speech or in writing. Therefore, the more we put our thoughts down on paper, the more firmly they are formed in our minds.
2. Clarifies Systematize Argumentation
My argumentation and formulation points have greatly improved.
As Mark Twain said it once, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Writing is a bit different from preaching, and this has stretched me unlike preaching does on a weekly basis.
3. Culminates Community Affirmation
As much as I am dealing with problems such as leadership or discipleship, I realize I am not the first one and the only one who is going through it. It gives a sense of a learning community and an opportunity to speak life into the people those who are reading.
Because of this reason, I am able to reach beyond my local church and blogging has broadened the types of people I am able to reach out to.
4. Cultivates a Learning Atmosphere
Tim Keller said it well, “If you read one book you are a clone. If you read two books you are confused. If you read ten books you have your own voice. And if you read one hundred books you are wise.”
In order to write well, I have to read well. This accountability of reading and writing allows me on a regular basis to check my learning habits on a day-to-day basis.
Every leader is a reader, and every reader is a learner. Reading is learning, learning is growing, and growing is leading. Therefore, if you’re not reading, you will eventually stop leading well.
5. Creates an Academic Accountability
It puts a tap on the various topics I am learning is clear or not. I get emails here and there of people who encourage me to look further into certain subjects or the arguments I’m making.
Not only that, as I write some of the leadership issues, it brings to my mind, “Maybe, I should rethink if I’m being very effective in these areas or not.”
As I empower others to lead better, it is a reality check for me for myself to be more effective in my own personal walk with Christ and the task of disciple-making to be modeled in my local church.
Personal Blogging/Writing within the Local Church
Now, I know there are few people who are against the whole social media movement that says it is destroying relationships and devaluing authentic relationships and taking away from more important matters. These people are close to me who are family and are very godly people who are in my church whom I respect deeply.
I personally encourage everyone to engage if you are not already writing on a regular basis. I would even say the body of Christ would benefit from the body of Christ using social media more theologically and compassionately.
It also actually doesn’t take as much time as people think it does. I often plan the post a month in advance and the topics are ones that I’m currently learning on the side from my reading list and conversations I’ve had with people.
What about you? Do you have a blog? If yes why do you blog? If no why not?