Thinking in progress. Notes under construction. Expect typos and clarifying positions.


Pastors and missionaries should consider their own personal website

Certain aspects of ministry for pastors and missionaries are aligned with the concept of being a Knowledge Worker. To be clear, pastors and missionaries should not shrink their calling to that of a knowledge worker, as there are many more components than knowledge work. Shepherding and discipling are interpersonal at their core, and involve much more than teaching, preaching, writing, or producing spiritual content.

However, the Bible is clear that one role of the pastor is to teach. And, missionaries, of course, are to instruct and disciple in the establishing of new churches and advaning of the gospel message. In this subset of pastoral or apostolic ministry, knowledge work is an apt description of certain functions of ministry. Within these functions, there is much to be gained by adopting tools and techniques from knowledge workers in order to complement pastoral or apostolic ministry.

One such tool is the personal website.

Reasons for a pastor to have a personal website

See also: Academics should have their own personal website

  • Teaching is at the heart of pastoral ministry. It is by no means all there is to pastoral ministry, but it's core to it.
  • Today, a personal website is a natural complement to pastoral ministry, as it allows him to shepherd through teaching in an online space. Pastors already compete with social media for the discipleship of their people, and having edifying content accesible to them in this medium creates opportunities to "win back" this space for spiritual formation.

Reasons a pastor or missionary should avoid a personal website

  • Pastors and missionaries do not need to build their "personal brand." There are some clear Things not to do on your personal websiteThings not to do on your personal website
    Most of the people with whom I dialogue concerning personal websites are in some form of public ministry. While that's not the only class of people that should utilize personal websites, those in ministry should consider a particular set of conventions when developing thier own website.

    If we accept the philosophy that a personal website is for others and not ourselves, the following are practices we should avoid or minimize.

    Shameless self-promotion- This is probably the biggest of...
    , and these all hold true for pastors and missionaries. Avoid a personal website like the plague if you are inclinced toward self promotion. The temptation to use it as a tool for self-gratification instead of the spiritual oversight of souls is very high. This has become so prevalent that many young men and women seeking to enter the ministry see buildling a platform as a necessary step, and we need to kill this idea.
  • Do not spend time or resources on a website if you find you are sacrificing interpersonal ministry for online content development. I often hear pastors or missionaries complain about a lack of time to devote to a personal website. And this can be true; however, it can also be an excuse for not shifting your ministry into new territory that could provide better discipleship to your congregation. "I'm too busy" is a rather convenient excuse for not doing the things on which we don't want to expend effort. However, the reverse often holds true. The moment a pastor or missionary finds themself avoiding lived ministry with their congregation or those they are discipling because they are too busy tinkering with their personal website or social media presence, they've crossed a line where they are sacrifing their actual ministry for the potential (and supplemental) ministry gained through online means.