Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Signs of a Good Youth Ministry Blog

Over at 43 Folders Merlin Mann recently posted about what makes a good blog. After reading his thoughts, I got to thinking about what makes a good youth ministry blog. Why do I read some and not others? Why do some people read this blog? What makes a youth ministry blog worth your time?

Here are a few of my thoughts:

  1. The author has a heart for youth ministry. This is a tough one to know without knowing the person. But, I think you can get a good feel from the person's posts how they feel about youth ministry. And lets be honest, no one is going to start a blog about youth ministry to earn money from ads. You have to have a heart for it or you wouldn't take the time to blog about it.
  2. The blog is a source of encouragement. Whether it is through the stories being told, pictures being shared, or insights being discussed, a good youth ministry blog encourages others youth workers. You may not get this feeling from just one post alone. Encouragement will be an ongoing affect of reading the blog.
  3. The blog provides resources for ministry. I am not talking necessarily about a new lesson or outline each week (although who wouldn't love that). A good youth ministry blog links to resources, shares what materials are worthwhile, occasionally provides a new resource from their ministry, and makes connections between events/news stories and the Bible.
  4. The posts are thought provoking. A good youth ministry blog has posts which cause me to think. I may not agree with the author about a certain topic of theology, but I am forced to think about the issue. All youth workers need to think about and wrestle with theology, priorities, purposes and all other items related to working with youth. Youth workers need to be challenged and finding a youth ministry blog that challenges you is a great way to stay mentally sharp.
  5. The posts make me laugh. There are days in youth ministry that are just rough. A youth worker needs to be able to unwind and laugh a little. If I can relax and laugh while reading your blog, I'll read your blog. (This may seem to be the exact opposite of #4, but I think both are important). Some of the best youth ministry posts are videos, cartoon, or funny ministry stories.
  6. The blog allows you to catch a glimpse of the author's ministry. You can follow along in their ministry journey. You get to read about the ups and downs. This can encourage you and remind you of the fact that you are not the only one going through it.
  7. The tone is positive. Even when the subject of the post is negative or frustrating, the tone of the post is not negative. Its okay to vent about an issue, but trust me a blog is not the place to do it. If you want to write about the experience, keep it informative and constructive.
  8. The blog is updated regularly. Now, this does not mean daily. It may not even mean weekly. There are times of the year where a youth minister's life is completely crazy and expecting a regular post is out of the picture. There are a couple blogs I subscribe to that haven't posted in a long time and honestly I forget I subscribe to them. If one day the author writes a new post, then I'll know. But I'm not going to keep checking.
  9. The blog leads to connection. The best part of a good youth ministry blog is the connection made between you and the author. You can connect via a social networking site, email, Instant Messaging, phone conversations or even at a national youth ministry event. A good youth ministry blog allows you to share life with other youth workers.
What qualifications do you use in determining which youth ministry blogs to read/follow?

In the next few days, I'll share some of the youth ministry blogs I think are worth following.


  1. These are pretty good measures. Got me thinking about blogs I link to & read. Also about how my blog may or may not reflect these characteristics all the time.

  2. Thanks theoquest. I too wonder how well I do on this blog about handling these measures. I think that a good youth ministry blog doesn't have to have all of these characteristics all the time and some many not even have a few (like a blog that is low on the "makes me laugh" but is great at "makes me think")

    (hope mine is still worth linking to :))

  3. Great list! Some of these things I try to do intentionally, some of them I've never thought of before, but I think are wrapped up somewhere in my site anyway. My weakest are probably #4 and #5. What do you think?

    I'd love to see you review some YM blogs based on your criteria, including mine. It would be a great help!

  4. I've had a hard time balancing 7 & 8 lately. Kind of hard to keep a positive tone when a lot of what I regularly find myself wanting to write about is rooted in frustrations. Learning to focus on solutions though... Hoping it will help.

  5. @Tim Thanks. As far as your weakest, don't forget #1. :) j/k I would agree that your 2 weakest would be 4 & 5. Thanks for the encouragement about reviewing other YM blogs with this criteria. I'd thought about it a little. Now you might just see an ongoing series of reviews (it might help me find some new YM blogs to start following, too)

    @theoquest I know you had one today that, for me, hit #5 right on the head. As far as 7, I struggled with that over the last year or so myself. I've written stuff before and then deleted it, knowing that writing about it helped me process and that deleting it was the right way to handle the frustration. I don't remember reading anything with a negative tone on your blog lately. And #8 is tough, period.

  6. The delete button has been my friend lately, too.

  7. Hi. I'm a volunteer involved in a community blog at

    I would love to know how well people think it satisfies 1-9, above. What can we do to improve? I really hope someone will take the time to look and comment. We're trying to create a powerful blog, and I really hope we're on our way.

    I'll check back to this post to read more comments. You could also contact us at:

    Thank you very much!


  8. @Andrew I'll take a look at the blog and add it to my "list" for review

  9. Great post. I am a minister of students but don't claim to meet all of the criteria or have the best YM blog... but I do sure enjoy what I do.

  10. @Terrace I'll have to check your blog out soon. Thanks for stopping by this one. I don't think a good ym blog has to meet all 9 signs, and from what I remember from your's, you've got a good blog going.

  11. Great post from close to 3 years ago! If you have a chance, check out my site dedicated to
    youth ministry