Last Tuesday, I posted a blog entitled “3 Things a Blog Is NOT,” in an effort to clear up some misconceptions about blogging, specifically in the Christian blogosphere.

More and more of my friends are blogging, and I have been encouraged by many who have started blogging for the first time—friends I didn’t even know liked to write!

I’ve been blogging in some form or fashion since I was about 13 or 14, but I never thought I’d be coaching people on blogging as my full time job.

If you’re interested in wading into the blog world, specifically the Christian blog world, here are a few things you should understand about blogs. Blogs are:

1. A way to use your gifts to serve others

A while back, I created this primitive, but helpful diagram to explain to my authors and other blogging friends what “good content” on a blog looks like:

If you’re too far to the left, you’re writing about what you’re interested, but you’re not really serving anybody—this is ultimately self-focused and unhelpful.

If you’re too far to the right, you’re probably serving a lot of people, but you’re not writing about something you’re interested in—this can lead to burnout.

A “successful blog,” pageviews aside, is a blog in which you are using the gifts God has given you to serve people who have needs you can address.

In my opinion, a Christian blogger’s ultimate purpose is to use his or her gifts to serve the Church toward the end of the Great Commission. It’s a simple-to-understand, but difficult-to-keep goal.

2. A means to develop as a writer

I mentioned this a bit in the post last week, but a blog is a great way for you to develop as a writer, even if no one ever reads it.

When I first started as an eighth grader, I had two goals in mind: 1) become a better writer and 2) impress girls. One of the girls I was trying to impress is now my wife of almost five years, so I guess that worked out.

When I was a junior in high school, I wrote for a blog called Fall Write in Love, which was made up of a bunch of Christian high schoolers in my hometown who wanted a place to write online. I would be ecstatic to get two hundred pageviews back then, in the waning days of Myspace and early days of Facebook.

Maybe your blog never gets read by more than your family and Facebook friends—there’s nothing wrong with that.

Writing a blog, whether it be once a week or five times a week, is a great way to mature as a writer. But, be careful, you can develop some bad habits this way, too.

3. A good step toward becoming a published author

Finally, having a blog is a good first step toward becoming a published author—it’s not a guarantee by any means. But, especially if you don’t have a publishing history, building an online platform is incredibly important in the 21st century publishing world.

If you start a blog and can maintain a solid audience online, it is much more likely that you will have the opportunity to publish a printed work than if you just sat at home and sent out proposals to random publishers.

If you want to publish a book someday, a blog is a great first step to doing so, even if it’s not going to guarantee you a publishing contract.

Have you started a blog? Feel free to share your experience or questions in the comments.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as an Author Development Specialist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.