In the 2016 Christian Bloggers Survey I learned that your #2 struggle is monetizing your Christian blog.
While there is a lot of information out there about HOW to monetize your blog, this is one of the most common questions people ask me:
Is it okay to monetize my Christian blog?
So let’s talk about this most basic question.
Many (if not most) Christian bloggers view their blog as a ministry and struggle with the idea of making money from a ministry. Maybe it’s okay to dabble in monetization enough to cover the expenses of blogging, but making a profit or real income? That seems to be a different story. It feels like selling out, or charging for spiritual growth.
But the Bible is actually pretty clear on this topic. The apostle Paul addressed it several times.
If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? … The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:11-12,14 (NIV)
One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Galatians 6:6 (ESV)
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18 (ESV)
Paul established that it is allowable to earn an income from ministry, but he chose to support himself instead. Why? Because he felt that was best for him and the people he served. He was from a wealthy family, so maybe he didn’t need to be paid. Maybe it was part of his walk of trusting God for provision each day. I’m sure it was a matter of much prayer since it was a hard road he was choosing. And that is the same for us. Monetizing our ministry blogs is allowable and only through prayer will we know if it is the right thing for us and our readers.
So if it is Biblically ok to earn a living from ministry, why do we struggle so? I think it is actually a healthy, introspective wrestling with our soul. While the Bible indicates it is ok to earn money from ministry, it also warns against two wrong motives that we need to be constantly aware of … greed and taking advantage of people.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV) [emphasis mine]
For the Christian blogger, we could substitute “wandered away from our purpose” into that verse. When the efforts to monetize our blogs cause us to wander away from the thing God has called us to do or the message he has given us to share, that is greed.
I personally struggled with this early in my blogging journey. I was pursuing lots of avenues to establish my services. God had to stop me in my tracks and remind me that he didn’t call me to serve just anyone … he called me to serve his girls. I had to back up and start doing things differently because I had wandered from my purpose.
Questions to ask yourself about greed:
- Am I monetizing to compare myself to others?
- Are the things I’m promoting consistent with the content my audience has come to expect from me?
- Am I choosing who to promote based on how much I get out of it?
Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 25:27 (NIV)
When, in a spirit of service, we offer things to our readers that truly help, encourage, entertain or inspire them, they generally appreciate it. I’ve had many people thank me for letting them know about other resources, and their gratitude means more to me than the small commission I may receive from their purchase. But offering anything and everything, useful or not, consistent with our faith or not, just because we can is taking advantage of people who have trusted us with their time, friendship and support. They spot it a mile away and the damage done to your relationship is not worth that commission.
Questions to ask yourself about taking advantage of others:
- Am I (or the product I am promoting) charging a fair price for what is being offered?
- Am I properly disclosing that I make a profit from things I recommend?
- Am I directing people to resources that are consistent with my faith and values?
- Is this truly useful information for my audience, or is it just more “stuff”?
Once you are sure that monetizing your Christian blog is right for you, what are the next steps?
I do it by offering my services, being an affiliate for Crystal Paine’s Your Blogging University and walking with you through the Move Forward Mastermind. In fact, Crystal’s resources have been a huge help in growing my income from my online business.
How about you? How do you feel about monetizing your blog? What struggles do you face in making this decision?
If you have ever felt frustrated that your blog is draining your family finances…
If you’ve ever wondered how people make a part-time or full-time income from blogging…
If you’ve ever wished you could figure out how to make your blog self-supporting…
If you have a blog set up and running and you’re ready to start getting paid for your time and effort…
Crystal Paine has JUST released a brand new course on monetizing your blog. If you purchase the course using this referral link by September 30, 2019, you’ll be invited to a special webinar hosted by Christian blogger Arabah Joy and me. We’ll pull back the curtains and show you behind the scenes of how we monetize our blogs now, AND how we did it when we were just starting out.
Note: This post was originally part of a series on the 2016 Christian Blogger Survey. Find more on the survey and the rest of the top four struggles (balancing family with ministry, building an email list authentically, increasing traffic) here.
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20 thoughts on “Is it OK to Monetize Your Christian Blog?”
Oh thanks for this post. This is one of the things that I have often asked myself. Glad Tom have come across this post with the scriptural support for each point.
I hope it helped answer some of your questions, Tanya. Thanks for visiting.
You’ve shared some wise insights. These are questions many Christian bloggers have; I’ve had to work through them myself, and I appreciate your biblical foundation here. Thank you for joining us at Grace & Truth!
I love my friends at Grace and Truth! Thanks for hosting a great linkup, Jennifer.
I’ve been struggling with this! Thank you!
Please drop by and say hello!
Harvest Lane Cottage
…doing what I can with what I’ve got where I am
on a short shoestring budget!
Thanks for visiting, Laura. Hope this helped you in your struggle
I haven’t really struggled with whether or not to monetize my blog, because for me it’s an avenue to another purpose. But I do try to be really careful to stick with things that I have used, and things that fit with my niche. My ultimate purpose is to help people, so I have to be careful that anything I promote sticks with that purpose.
That is a great filter to use, Pamela. It keeps us authentic.
Thank you so much for this article, Christa. I’m relatively new to internet (affiliate) marketing and I’m struggling with the niche I’ve chosen. Although I’m helping people which is something I’m more than passionate about, I would love to focus more on my faith and helping other people develop and strengthen their faith, as well. The main niche I initially chose is very hard to be profitable with, or so I’ve been told. Plus the competition is overwhelming at times.
I absolutely love the process of it all. But I struggle with the content writing. Mainly because I feel I could be far more “passionate” if I’m writing about faith-based issues, success stories, bible studies, etc.
If there is any advice you could give me it would be much appreciated. I’m really not sure how I can incorporate things like t-shirt sales, bumper stickers, etc. into it. Obviously, book and movie reviews could be semi-profitable but I haven’t really thought much about how to monetize it. I’m not trying to become “rich” by doing this. I just want to be a better provider for my family since I’m currently a stay at home dad.
I hear ya, Chad! We all want to be writing the things we are passionate about. That passion comes through in our writing and makes people want to support what we are doing. Just this past weekend, I was part of an online summit for Christian bloggers and we covered content planning, affiliate marketing, product creation and a host of other topics that I think would be helpful to you. The recordings from the summit are available for purchase here: https://doanewthing.leadpages.co/his-girls-bootcamp-registration/
Best wishes to you and your family! Let me know if I can be of further help 🙂
I’ve gone through a lot of thought and struggles along that line. The bottom line is…are you in the field that God wants you to be in? If you are in the right field of work, if it is an ethical field, then there is nothing wrong since “the workman is worthy of his hire”. The problem comes when trying to create a business copying what someone else is doing instead of following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for yourself. If you are not doing the business from God’s inspiration, then at some time it will probably not last and have to be redone when you realize that you need to follow the Lord’s leading. I’ve been through a learning curve where I learned to prune the unfruitful branches, or rather, God and circumstances pruned them for me, until all lessons were learned and the best answer remained and remains.
I have started blogging myself. I am trying to find out the basic problems that my blog is having and looking for solutions. Also, I’m searching for some basic things like themes and other stuff.
I have read your whole article, I am looking forward to getting a positive result after performing this myself.
Can you suggest me any basic idea that I might need in the future as a new blogger?
Jamie, your blog is beautiful! Just keep working it. Don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t work. That just means it’s not the thing for you. Try something else!
Wow, thank you for this! I am a newbie and have been struggling and wrestling with this very issue! I can’t wait to read the rest of the survey. Oh and I found you via a christian blog that has a list of Christian bloggers called marriedbyhisgrace.com
Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl! Welcome to the Do A New Thing community! I look forward to getting to know you and your ministry better!
“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” Thank you for pulling out this verse. I have been struggling with this issue as many others have too. Everytime I think I have come to a place of balance I feel guilty all over again for wanting to monetize the blog that He asked me to start. Honestly, I am not even looking to make it a side income. I just want the costs of running a self-hosted blog and email subscription service to be covered. But the Lord has covered the expenses for me in other ways. So I am wondering if I should just stop stressing about trying to monetize it.
Either way, I think you should stop stressing! You have done a great job of clarifying your goals for monetizing, and your motivations are worthy. Like you said, the Lord has covered the expenses for you. Be open to the idea that one way He may cover your expenses is through monetizing. You’ll know when it’s the right time.
Christa, I always appreciate how clearly and practically you answer questions that I complicate and analyze far too much! Thank you for addressing these common issues we have as Christian bloggers. You’re always an encouragement to me!
Thanks for this perspective Christa! It’s something I’ve been thinking about but really don’t want to go the way of distracting ads. And like you said, one email this week asking to find one of my articles to use in her prayer group was all the “benefit” I need for now. 🙂
I appreciate this post for the Biblical references used. Though I don’t monetize my blog, I see nothing wrong with those who do, based on your Scripture references. I love how you emphasize the motive behind monetization, both for the glory of God and for the audience. Well done, well said, Christa. Now I’m going to read those links you provided!