Hey everyone! Hope you had a great Labor Day. Now get back to work!
Kent Shaffer over at the excellent Church Relevance has created an updated list of his top 100 Christian blogs (by visitors, and other markers.) There’s a bunch of familiar names, some new ones, and a bunch of shifting around the ranks, and all of them excellent blogs.
I know you’re waiting with bated breath, but no, I did not make the list. Again. I have but a slice of the readers those guys have. Although I considered taking the badge Kent provided for top bloggers, but decided that would be more sad than funny. Then I made myself a baloney sandwich with a smiley face made out of mustard, and that didn’t seem sad at all…
I honestly don’t know how those guys do it. How do they get millions of people to come to their blogs, even on the days they just post pictures of their cats? I have never posted pictures of my cats. Because I don’t have any…
Note to self: purchase kittens, baby clothes, webcam…
There’s some mystique in things that attract lots of people. We try not to care about how many people read our blogs, but if we didn’t care about people reading, we’d just keep diaries like a bunch of angsty, hormonal teenagers with no friends. And obviously, we’ve come further than that…right? But a blog with a lot of readers is a seemingly impossible feat to many of us.
Kind of like that feat of a pastor landing a big church.
Speaking of which, did you know there’s a pastor shortage…and a surplus?
There’s tons of churches that can’t find a preacher. In some denominations (or non-denominations), 20% of churches are looking for pastors. Their searches sometimes last monts, even years.
But guess what? There’s tons of preachers. We’ve actually got twice the number of preachers as we have jobs for them to fill in America. And that’s despite our country obviously going straight to hell. Seems a lot of guys find the ministry to be an attractive vocation.
Which is exactly the problem.
The ministry is not an attractive vocation. It’s a calling, dat-gum it! And all you nitwits who think you’re going to strike fame and wealth in the ministry can take a hike…because I want that job!
Yeah, the reason we’ve got a shortage and a surplus is because all the guys are trying to get the jobs in the big churches. They’re trying to be Mr. Sexy-Action-Preacher with thousands of screaming fans. But big churches make up a tiny slice of American Christianity. Churches with over 300 people make up just 10% of American congregations! 300 sounds rather average, doesnt it? But it’s actually a very elite threshold.
Where’s all the empty pulpits? In the small, un-sexy, un-frosted-spiky-hair churches. The types of churches that have fewer than 75 people. The type of churches that make up over half of American churches.
So most of those unemployed preachers would rather be unemployed than pastor a church with, God-forbid, some old folks or an organ. Those rural churches are going without pastors because Big-shot-seminary-graduate might have to minister to a church that’s not a gateway to book deals and coast to coast speaking engagements.
We’ve got this warped view that there’s no room for the little kid on the block, because the big boys run the neighborhood…and the television, and the radio, and the bookstore. Most ‘big’ bloggers lead or attend big churches too. So they’re always blogging or Twittering about all the exciting stuff they’re doing with their churches, and we think there must be something wrong with us because our ministries don’t look at all like that!
We’ll all be a lot happier if we’re able to change our perspective. And I’ve got to start with me, because I’m often not happy with where I am. I’m always looking up at who I’m not, what I haven’t done, what I don’t have, like it’s not normal to be average. The more we lust after something bigger, the more we wreck our chance at happiness with what we have.
The guys who sell lots of books are called ‘influential,’ because they’ve achieved admirable things. But when some average person has a crisis in the middle of the night, are they trying to call a best-selling author, or their totally average friend or pastor? That’s influence.
I am so glad to have each of you read this junk whenever you do. And I’m happy to read your blogs. And since I doubt you’re anyone who made ‘the list’ of big blogs, thanks for being totally average with me! I hope you have an average week at your average job, and you go to your average church this weekend with your average family, and you feel that nothing could be better in the world. Because we have a completely un-average God.
What about you? Do you have the gift of contentedness, or do you wish God would give you more?