Friday, May 6, 2011

Greater Work Still to be Done

I started writing my blog in January 2009 as a way to share with others what the Lord was teaching me about how small churches could reach the next generation. Since then I have expanded my subject matter to include encouragement and training for pastors and lay leaders who have to work a second job in addition to serving a small church. I am not sure exactly what I thought God might do through my blog, but I was prayerful that God would use it in some way for His glory.

As I look back over the past year, I am amazed by how many people have read something on my blog and how far reaching its impact has been. Almost 16,000 individual people have logged on and read at least one blog in the past twelve months. Many are frequent visitors and read multiple posts on various pages within the blog.

When I consider the fact that I am a relatively unknown pastor serving in a small state not known for producing evangelical leaders, these statistics just amaze me. I am reminded of what Jesus said in John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” Looking over these statistics, I realize that the Internet is a tool which God can use to do greater works than I could have ever imagined. Because of the blog, many pastors and lay leaders contact me for advice about various issues their churches face, and I can often point them to a blog post or two that deals with that subject. Many young people searching for truth, particularly in Central Vermont, frequent the blog in their search for answers. Though the primary focus of my ministry is within my own denomination, I frequently interact with both Vineyard and Wesleyan pastors through my blog. Occasionally a couple of Presbyterians will interact with me as well. These are people I would never be able to encourage and assist if I did not have a blog. Likewise, I would not be encouraged and assisted by them in my own walk with the Lord if it were not for the connection we have through the blog.

Then there is the whole “international” aspect of the blog that is only possible because of the Internet. Though the vast majority of my readers come from the United States, people from many other nations also read the blog. Nearly three hundred readers in the past twelve months were from Canada and over 250 were from Great Britain and 80 hailed from Australia. Since those are all English speaking countries, I guess I should not be too surprised that they found my blog.

What is more surprising to me is that just over 200 people from the Netherlands and almost as many people from Russia visited the blog in the past year. Around 150 from both Germany and South Korea read at least one post on the blog. Over 120 from Japan visited the blog as well. As did approximately 80 people from the Philippines. Nearly two dozen people from Finland visited the blog in the span of a few short weeks. A handful of people from Iran, Iraq, and Egypt have read something on the blog in the past three months. Several other countries were represented with a dozen or so visits in the past year. It really is humbling to think that God can use something I wrote from a small town in Vermont to bring encouragement, biblical teaching and practical Christian leadership training to so many people in so many different places.

As I look forward to the future, I have plans to upgrade the blog and add additional features to make it even more usable. I am thankful that God has provided a tool which can be used for His work in greater ways than I could have ever imagined.