Several years ago a friend who works for one of the online preachers’ magazines and I were having a conversation about what works for pastor-blogs and what doesn’t.
Anyone reading sermoncentral.com and churchleaders.com and such has observed that these programs prefer essays which offer ‘Seven ways to do this” or “Five ways to do that.” A close second would be “How I learned to love (something we normally despise)” or “Why I came to reject (something we do all the time).” That sort of thing.
I said my goal for the next year was to write something that went viral.
I was being silly.
But it happened.
Now, in my humble opinion, as the saying goes, no blogger who sets out to catch the attention of a large portion of the planet with a few paragraphs on paper stands much of a chance.
A better approach is to pay attention to what’s going on in the world or in the church, in the ministry or in your own personal life, and write about that.
That’s exactly where all the 2,729 articles on www.joemckeever.com originated. Something was bothering me, or someone was hurting, or something had happened, and I wrote about it. And, once in a rare while, the piece struck a nerve.
That’s how it has happened that a few of these articles have actually achieved that exalted status of “Viral!” in recent years. Now, “going viral”–to me at least–is a highly subjective term. Figuring the number of times an article is read, printed, reprinted, and passed along in the various internet manifestations would seem to be impossible. The point being, we’re citing no numbers here because we have none.
All right. On with the show. Here are some of our articles that have hit the big time for one reason or other.
First: Three that almost everyone loved…
This one on worship has been in play for 5 years and is still standing. Just three hours ago, a pastor from a thousand miles away called to ask for permission to run it. http://joemckeever.com/wp/my-seven-worst-mistakes-as-a-pastor/ (Okay, a problem. I copied the wrong one here. Still trying to find the one on worship, but will leave this one up until I locate it.) (See response to Brian in the comments. I think this is the correct article.)
This one on pastors’ wives may be the most popular thing we’ve done. I love pastors’ wives–obviously!–and will do anything possible to make their lot in life more bearable. http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/170133-joe-mckeever-pastors-wife-is-the-most-vulnerable-person-in-your-church.html
This one lists 5 things about pastors you need to know and evidently struck a nerve with a lot of folks. Likewise, it has been copied and recopied ad infinitum, for which we are honored and grateful. http://joemckeever.com/wp/lead-pipe-cinch-realities-pastors/
And then came the more controversial pieces from our blog. Not everyone liked these, but they sure did generate a lot of talk back and forth…
Few doctrines are as controversial as the one variously called “Security of the Believer” or “Once saved, always saved.” When this one was reprinted in a charismatic magazine–for some reasons, charismatics seem to despise this clear teaching of Scripture–the editor was almost tarred and feathered! (He survived, he assures me.) http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/joe-mckeever/7-questions-about-once-saved-always-saved.html
We were almost hanged in effigy when we warned young pastors to be alert to some of the women they will encounter in churches. http://joemckeever.com/wp/young-pastors-7-women-watch/ Several responded that sometimes the pastors are the aggressors and urged articles on that subject. We wrote those pieces, but they never caught on like this one.
And how about “7 sexual lines no pastor should ever cross.” The first one said “Use no cologne.” I’m smiling even now. Although that suggestion came from my wife, people accused me of being crazy and sexist and probably anti-guns also. http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/168065-joe-mckeever-sexual-lines-no-pastor-should-cross.html
I did a series of articles in December 2011 (for the entire series, go to www.joemckeever.com and scroll down to the archives, then click on Dec 2011 and you’re there) on the subject of “League of Extraordinary Church Leaders.” All the articles got great play, but this was the most controversial one, for a rather apparent reason–I’m urging people to seek out “that ugly woman in the church balcony!” http://joemckeever.com/wp/reach-the-ugly-woman-in-the-balcony/
Okay. Now, do the math.
Out of 2,729 articles, perhaps ten or twenty went viral and are still circling the globe. That’s a tiny, tiny percentage, which ought to say volumes to anyone starting a blog intending to change the world. Plan on writing a hundred pieces for every one that catches on.
And the final four. When I asked on Facebook for favorites, these were mentioned. In each case, they are still being reprinted and used today….
This may be my all-time favorite: “How God fooled Satan at Christmas.” It’s certainly the most creative out-of-the-box thinking this country boy has ever done. See what you think. http://joemckeever.com/wp/how-god-fooled-satan-at-christmas/
Every pastor wonders how to preach the same (wonderful) story every Christmas. Actually, the story is loaded with amazing insights. http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/10-things-about-the-christmas-story-you-may-have-missed-11642639.html
As a guest preacher every Sunday (it’s my retirement ministry), I see every kind of worship service. Here are a few thoughts on making one more effective: http://joemckeever.com/wp/dull-worship-service-alive/
This was inspired by something that happened to a lovely family I know. Let every church leader take note. http://joemckeever.com/wp/people-break-church-pastor-them/
Well! That was fun! And I’ve thought of a few others to add, but won’t. Your tolerance thus far is wonderful and should not be put to the test.
This was a first for our website. Let me know if we should do this again, perhaps annually.