I was talking to a friend the other day about her blog, and she said,
“Why does EVERYTHING have to be so haaaarrrddd???”
There are definitely some days when I feel that way. When we are trying to build an online Christian ministry or business, we have to be part writer, part tech guru, part business person, part marketer, part evangelist …. that’s a lot of parts! The struggle is real.
And oh yeah, we have to do all that keeping in mind that we are representing Christ in a dark space and listening for His direction in our message.
I’ve been working with Christian writers and ministry leaders for over a year now and I’ve found some common reasons why an online ministry struggles. I’ve also gathered some resources to help with the most frequent issues. See if any of these apply to you.
Your purpose is not clear.
I know some of y’all are tired tired tired of hearing me harp on Purpose, but honestly, I can’t say it enough! If you don’t have a clear idea of what you are about, your readers won’t either. Without a well-defined purpose, you’ll just be stumbling around, trying this and that until something sticks. And what sticks because of your random efforts may not be the BIG DREAM God called you to.
HOW TO FIX IT: My free Pinpoint Your Purpose mini-ecourse takes you step by step through identifying your Purpose at the intersection of your Why, Who and You.
Also, this series from Focus on the Family on finding your God-given purpose has been really helpful.
Your Pieces don’t fit.
You are trying to do too many different things and don’t have the time, money or knowledge to do them all well. Some of them are completely unrelated to your purpose (if you even know what your purpose is!) They are all GOOD things … but not necessarily the RIGHT things to support your calling. Or you try one thing for a week and if that doesn’t work, you try another one.
HOW TO FIX IT: The book Seven Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones does a great job of guiding you through a “less is more” strategy and helping you focus on the right things for you.
Your Presence is inconsistent.
I get it. You are not techie and your inner introvert whines every time you have to open Twitter or Instagram. And don’t even talk to me about SnapChat! There is a huge difference between being self-promotional and using technology to spread the message God has laid on your heart. Your message matters so do everything you can to draw the right people to it. That means you may need to add a few tools to your toolbox, but it’s worth the effort.
HOW TO FIX IT: Check out the Social Presence Ebook from my friend Maria at A Problem Like Maria. It has very practical help on everything from creating graphics to selecting the right social media platforms to use. I refer back to this handy resource all the time.
You are not operating in your strengths.
Can we all just say this out loud together? “I AM NOT GOOD AT EVERYTHING!!” Some days, we feel like we are not good at anything, much less everything. But that is not true either. We are all good at some things, and a good leader knows how to find people who will fill her gaps. And believe me, even if your ministry is only you right now, YOU are a leader! So start developing yourself as the leader your ministry needs, now and in the future.
HOW TO FIX IT: These are my go-to resources to help understand and use your strengths as a leader:
Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath
4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership by Jenni Catron
You don’t have the help you need.
Keeping a blog and ministry going is a lot of hard work and it can be tiring doing it all on your own. At some point, you’ll need to hire help, but that is a big step of commitment. If you aren’t quite there yet, I’ve found that the Christian blogging community is incredibly generous in helping each other succeed.
HOW TO FIX IT: Whether through collaborations, bartering or just occasionally offering free advice, I have found so much support and encouragement through these Facebook groups and their associated websites for Christian leaders and entrepreneurs:
You don’t have a plan.
How many times have you sat down at your computer and said, “Okay, Blog. What are we going to do today?” I admit, I’ve done it more times that I care to count. And while that might appease your free-flowing, don’t-fence-me-in creative side, it’s not really the best strategy for building a sustainable ministry. On the flip side, you also don’t need a rigorous daily plan that restricts you from following the leadership of the Holy Spirit in the operation of your ministry. There is definitely a balance between the two extremes.
HOW TO FIX IT: This is where I can help! Registration is open RIGHT NOW for my More Than A Blog Ministry Master Plan course. This six-week self-paced course will help implement Biblical strategies to create a master plan for you ministry and a framework for making decisions in the future. You’ll come away with a clear picture of the needs of your ministry and a ton of resources to help you meet them.
Now let’s hear from you! What other online ministry struggles are you facing? Have you found some helpful resources to fix them? Give a shout out to them here in the comments!