In my last column I discussed getting over our fears in sharing the gospel. I want to address another method of sharing the gospel this week. During general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, of the First Presidency, discussed how much easier it is to share the gospel these days through electronic media. The most popular and common electronic resources include blogs and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
This week, let’s talk about blogging and some techniques that can be effective in sharing the gospel through your blog. First, for those unfamiliar with blogging, a blog is basically an online journal. But I think they have evolved over the years into something much more interactive.
Businesses use blogs in addition to their websites to keep customers updated on products and services. Crafters and artists use blogs to showcase their work and share techniques. There’s a blog for just about any topic or business. Blog visitors are able to leave comments, therefore making a blog interactive.
Blogs are generally free and easy to start. The two major blog publishers are Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) and Wordpress (http://www.wordpress.com). In as little as five minutes, you can start a blog and began sharing the gospel around the world. Whether you want to start a blog for the purpose of sharing the gospel or want to incorporate gospel sharing in an existing blog, let me share a few suggestions.
First, decide on a purpose or an angle. Will your blog be a question-and-answer format, where you address common questions about the church? Or are you more comfortable focusing on one aspect of the LDS Church’s teaching such as families, provident living, the scriptures, etc?
I think having a focus will help you be consistent and make blogging less overwhelming. If you already have an existing blog, start incorporating more of your LDS lifestyle in your blog post. Don’t mask or generalize your activities. It’s the same advice we’ve been hearing from church leaders when talking with friends and family. Share pictures and feelings about recent baptisms, temple attendance or family home evenings.
Once you start a blog, you’re going to want visitors to your blog to read it. Initially you can email friends and family members inviting them to check out your new blog. Don’t spam them by constantly emailing them about every new blog post.
After emailing friends and family, you can register your blog with one of the blogrolls, a site that lists links to blogs, in order to get readers. Another common practice among bloggers is to start visiting blogs you like, leave a comment, and inevitably the blog owner will reciprocate by visiting your blog. But just like in our offline circles, be genuine. Comment if you really want to, not just so they will visit your blog.
In order to keep the visitors coming, it’s a good idea to keep posting blog entries regularly. If you’re a busy mom, like me, posting to your blog everyday can be cumbersome. However, most blogs give you the option to schedule posts. You could take one evening to write two or more entries and have them scheduled systematically to post throughout the week.
As readers start to visit your blog, you’re likely to receive comments. As a result, some comments may be negative. Just remember to be polite. It’s not worth it to become combative. Remember the Lord’s admonition that “he who hath the spirit of contention is not of me.” We have good news to share, and it should be shared with love.
Sharing the gospel through a blog is a fun, easy, and non-threatening way to be a "light on a hill," inviting all to come see. Next time, we'll discuss sharing the gospel through social networks.