Two weeks ago Janice Dick posted about her blog and what it had taught her about writing. As a writer, I agree with everything she said. But I have a different tale to tell.
Five years ago I remarked that my church website had a blog attached but only one post. In my view a blog with no posts was worse than no blog at all. Talk about sending the message "nothing doing here!" The reward for my unsolicited advice was an invitation to take on the blog. So, putting my money, or rather my skills, where my mouth was, I agreed.
ICFW had just started this blog so I figured I'd go the same route with my church. All I had to do was recruit ten people to write five posts a year each and we'd have it covered. One post a week on Mondays. Easy-peasy.
Reality seldom matches fantasy and the ten other writers never materialized. I have managed to coax a few guest posts from other congregation members, but to all intends and purposes, the blog is mine. Congregants often refer to it as "Alice's blog," even though I keep reminding them that it is the church's blog, and I'd welcome their input.
My plan was to provide a public face of the congregation to those seeking a church home. I hoped that my little part of the world might notice. So I wrote about baptisms and picnics and cakes. We have wonderful cakes at our church.
Several of our members are excellent bakers and one of them has taken a real interest in cake decorating.
I also write about the choir and Bible Study and the fig tree in our parking lot. I celebrate the "Sunshine Lunch" for those who can't make it to church regularly, and highlight books in the library. I tell stories of our members who "do justice, love mercy," and try their best to "walk humbly with their Lord." In other words, it's like a family newsletter and I couldn't imaging anyone but the family being interested.
But, an amazing thing has happened in the past five years. In the first week the blog was active, it was viewed by 21 people. In the first year we averaged 250 views per month. In subsequent years our average monthly readership grew to 300, then 500 and this month we've had nearly 1000 views. Our congregation has a membership of around 200 so even if you count former members who've moved away, we're reaching an audience well beyond our personal relationships. Why?
In March of this year four members of our congregation joined a mission team to work in the Dominican Republic for a couple of weeks. I wrote about them on the blog several times and then posted the link to my facebook page. The link was shared by two people. That week saw a big increase in blog views. Whether it was the subject matter -- mission work -- or the post to facebook, I couldn't say but there was a definite up tick in viewership.
Another little statistic that blows my mind is the geographical distribution of readers. We've had readers from all over the world. I realize some of these hits are not real people but when I look at the traffic sources, they're mostly from the church website or google search, not an automatic referral robot. Comments are open but I haven't received any spam there.
In the blogosphere, 1000 views is a mere blip but I still find it amazing that news from one little band of Christians on an Island off the west coast of Canada should reach around the world.
I don't understand God's plan in all of this but I'm sure there is one. I guess I'll just keep writing about the little things that knit us together in a church family and leave the rest to Him.
Oh, if you want to check out our little church's doings look here.
Alice Valdal lives in beautiful British Columbia, the only part of Canada that didn't have record cold and snow this winter. She writes, knits, sings, gardens and caters to two cats. She is grateful every day for her husband and all the other blessings in her life. Visit her at www.alicevaldal.com or at facebook.com/#!/alice.valdal.5