4 Things a Decade Worth of Blogging Has Taught Me

Around ten years ago I started following a few blogs on the internet as they were a relatively new thing. I found that there were many about lots of things that were very helpful but there were very few that provided wisdom and resources for kids and youth pastors. I think I remember there being about four to five blogs for kids pastors (David Wakerly, Jonathan Cliff, Matt Mckee, The Kidologist, I think were about it.) I can’t remember now what prompted it but I decided to jump into the blogosphere and in the following years, I shared what I was thinking about what I was processing through, good books, good ideas, and a few really bad ideas that sounded good at the time. So I thought I would share a few thoughts on blogging for a decade.

  1. The more you do something the easier it becomes
  2. Writing down your thoughts reveals the gradual changes we generally find imperceptible in our day-to-day lives.  I have changed in the last ten years more than I even realize. Looking over posts that I wrote ten years ago I find myself strongly disagreeing with myself. Which feels weird but it also helps me be more gracious with others because in ten years from now I’ll disagree with some of what I am writing at this point in my life.
  3. Sustained disciplined writing is the rings of an oak tree. You can see what happened in the life of the tree by studying its rings. I find it interesting to look back through my archive and see what God was doing and what things I was wrestling with at that season of my life.
  4. In the past ten years, I have connected with people I would never have met any other way. The community I have discovered through my blog and because of my blog has been a means of God’s grace to me in more ways you will ever fully know. For that, I am profoundly thankful. The reason I started blogging and continue to blog is to be to others what I wish I had  I started and in the family community ministry community, I have found what I always wanted as an isolated kids pastor who knew no one and painfully aware of his own inadequacy. Thank you, for taking the time to read my meandering thoughts. Thank you, for your comments your help and friendship. I am grateful to God for his grace and for your grace as well. I look forward to the next ten years with you all.

What Blogging for 9 Years has Taught Me.

This week marks nine years blogging. It’s crazy to think of all the change that has taken place in our world and in our family in the past nine years. As I think back over those nine years I think of the things that I only could have learned by blogging.

  1. Starting is always the scariest part of most everything – It was scary to start blogging. It was scary to make myself vulnerable enough to write what I was thinking, learning and failing at. It still is scary.

    There are few things more intimidating in life than a blank page and blinking cursor. How do you beat this fear? Start typing.

  2. Consistency was my biggest challenge. When starting a blog or most things in life you have to be consistent. Pushing through bloggers block was tough till I created a system for ideas and then learned how to make old ideas new. Most bloggers don’t survive because of a lack of consistency, not because of lack of good ideas or content. There are many of you out there reading this that need to start blogging. You should. How consistent should you be? I think to start out you need to do three times a week for a couple of years till ideas and execution become reflexive.

3 statements new bloggers need to hear

Writing is difficult. I often get asked how do I get started in blogging, and with so many blogs out there why should I blog? First of all everyone has something of value to add. The trick is learning how to unearth it yourself. People often know what they want to say but often don’t know how to say it. Here are a few statements that will help you get started and push through.

  1. Be yourself – Find your voice, write what you know, be transparent but not-self absorbed. The reality is that if you are learning or wondering something there is a good chance someone else is looking for information on the very same thing. There are others that have yet to face what you are facing now that you can be a voice to help them when they Google whatever is vexing them. For me the motivation to start my blog was the idea that I wanted to be for others what I wish someone was for me when I started in ministry. This has become my personal mission statement in every area of my life I try to be to others what I wish others were to me.

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”- Oscar Wilde

  2. Be consistent – Consistent trumps frequency – The Aesop tale of the turtle and the rabbit is the best illustration of how people blog. Many are Rabbit bloggers who start strong and blog in spurs that are often months if not years apart. The turtle bloggers pick a spread and stick with it. For some people that speed is three times a week others it’s once a week. The goal is pushing yourself but setting a speed you can maintain. People get used to the amount of posts you do. I generally shoot for 3x a week. I don’t always hit that mark but most weeks I do.
    The biggest reasons people stop blogging is they run out of ideas to blog about. The best way to overcome this is to use Evernote and keep a rolling blog post note where you add random ideas as they come to you then try to come up with new topics when you sit down to write. If you can’t think of anything consult your rolling blog post note and take an idea off the list. What I have found to be true is the more I blog the more I find to blog about.
  3. Be Generous – Give more than you take. Give away your best idea. I have met bloggers who were full of amazing insight and ideas. I was really impressed I then went to their blog only to be less than impressed. The reason is they were afraid to put their best ideas out there. I am not sure why but whatever the reason it hurts you, your idea and your potential readers. When writing, or creating, whatever you do give your best ideas away.

    Do not hoard your best ideas. Good ideas are like the flu the more you spread them the further they go and the faster they come back to you. I have found that working through my ideas in a public forum has helped me refine and clarify my thoughts. It’s not until I commit my thoughts to paper on a consistent basis that I see for myself what it is that I am thinking about. Blogging or writing regularly in any way allows you to get out of you the things you think about more than you should. Once you see them and others see them you can tell what sticks and what doesn’t.

    “No one has ever become poor by giving” – Anne Frank

 

Top Blog Posts of 2014

 

This year 2014 was a great year. I became more aware of God’s grace in my life and yet at the same time more aware of my need for grace. Thankful for each of you and all that you have added to my life this year. I am humbled that more people than just my mom read this blog. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

All is Grace,
Sam

Here are the 10 blog posts you enjoyed most this year.

  1. Apps that limit my child’s time on the iPad.

    So how do you limit the length of a user’s session on an iPad?

    clock app icon 1

    One easy way that this can be achieved is with the Clock app. It is
    an Apple app that should be already on your iDevice. Follow these simple
    steps below to use the Clock app to set the duration of a user’s
    session:

    • Launch the Clock app and select Timer.
    • Set the timer to the amount of time that you would like your child
      to have access to the device for (in hours and minutes). Also check that
      in Sounds (iPad) that Stop Playing is selected. If it is not select that option.
      Read full blog post…. 
  2. How We Stop Short In The Debate On Christians And Alcohol.

    The problem with the debate of alcohol is every person I have heard
    preach against it has stopped short of the real problem alcohol
    represents. In stopping short they make alcohol out to be evil when
    there is nothing in scripture or in 2000 years of church writing that
    would show alcohol as evil. Alcohol is not evil the abuse of it is. The
    inordinate reliance on it is.
    Read full blog post….

  3. My Reading List From 2013

    They say
    leaders are readers so I set a goal this year to read 52 books and I
    fell short of that goal, but here are the books I did read this year.
    Some I will add to my read yearly list, all of them impacted me in
    various ways.

    1 Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell

    #2 Lead Small – Reggie Joiner3 Non Profit Narrative – Dan Portnoy

    Read full blog post….

     

  4. Why You Should Read Old Books.

    I love to read. Even with my passionate desire to grow I sometimes find reading a challenge. What is even more difficult than reading books? Reading old books. I have been more intentional about reading books and reading lots of them in the past two years. One of the things I have been most intentional about
    lately is reading old books. I started by accident and by necessity
    reading old books but most recently I have done it on purpose. This is
    largely due to a C.S. Lewis quote I stumbled upon a few months back
    Read full blog post….

     

  5. Top Family Ministry Blogs 2014

    Family ministry has been a priority for churches since the 80’s but in
    the past 15 years there has been a new push for youth and kids
    ministries to be working together in sync with each other in a way that
    produces a cohesive strategy to equip and empower families like never
    before. When I started blogging 7 years ago there were only a handful of
    children’s pastors blogging. There were also a few youth pastor blogs
    as well. The desire I had for my blog at the beginning was to be to
    someone else what I wish I had when I started.Read full blog post….

  6. Self-esteem Is Ruining Your Kids.

    As a child of the 70’s I grew up
    80’s where baby boomers were loving life, loving love and loving
    themselves. This translated to every area of life including their
    parenting. The seeds of self-esteem were laid by my parents generation
    and have taken full root in my generation. It’s this idea that kids need
    to have a positive outlook in life, they need to love themselves. While
    in limited ways this can be true the pervasiveness of this idea is
    killing the collective conscience of our country and is ruining our
    kids.
    Read Full Blog Post…

     

  7. Answer Your Kid’s Direct Questions With Direct Answers.

    If we tell our kids half-truths they will find out once they discover
    our half-truths we have used to deflect or delay from tough
    conversations our kids will begin to wonder which half of everything we
    say is untrue. When you answer a question with age appropriate
    directness you remove the power of curiosity. Kids have always been
    curious the only things that has changed is the internet allows our kids
    to not only satisfy any curiosity but it feeds their curiosity.
    Read Full Blog Post….

     

  8. Free Easter Curriculum: God To The Rescue.

    I’ve shared here and here about the how and why
    leading up to the creation of a free resource for the kidmin community
    by the kidmin community. We are really excited to be able to offer it
    for free on our blogs.

    What we did was create a 5 week curriculum that unveils God’s rescue
    plan unveiled in the Old Testament and seen in action in the days
    leading up to Good Friday and Easter. I love how the clear emphasis is
    on Christ and what he did and what we can do in response.

    Read Full Blog Post….

  9. What We Can Learn From Mark Driscoll and Acts 29

    There has
    been a lot of buzz around the internet about the removing of Mars Hill
    and its founding pastor Mark Driscoll from the church network he helped
    to create Acts 29. There are ideas, theories flying and everyone it
    seems is picking a side and digging in for virtual battle.

    I won’t go into the details of the situation because that is covered
    in detail by other posts. Basically the Acts 29 Board felt sufficient
    cause for concern for Mark Driscoll, his church and the Acts29 that they
    have chosen to remove Mark and his church from any affiliation with the
    Acts 29 network.
    Read Full Blog Post….

  10. What The Gospel Demand Of Parents

    What does the gospel require of parents?

    1. Walk in Humility

    – say your sorry – – Kids have a sense of justice at
    an early age. They know when you have wronged them. They know when you
    have overstepped and overreached.

    Phillipians 2:5-8 – Christ modeled for us humility. He was God but did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage, but humbled Himself. If God can do that for us we can lead our families in humility.

    “The Key to the family functioning as a
    redemptive community, where the Gospel is the glue that holds the family
    together, is parents who so trust in Christ that they are ready and
    willing to confess their faults to their children.” Paul David Tripp

    If you want your kids to understand the gospel model humility.
    Read Full Blog Post….

     

Happy 4th Birthday Samluce.com

Well last week was a bit crazy lots going on and I totally missed my Blogging birthday back on April 14th. So I am wishing myself  a happy belated birthday. Fun fact about samluce.com is that my blog is 2 weeks younger than my good friend Kenny’s Blog back four years ago the only people that read my blog were Kenny and my mom. I am pretty sure that 4 years being 28 in dog years would be 78 in blog years so Kenny and I are lifelong friends who have know each other 4 years.

I love celebrating my blogging birthday because it helps me take stock and look at the past year of blog posts and see what I have learned and decide if I should continue another year.

Here are some of the highlights for me from the past year.

1. Creating a free Easter curriculum with Gina, Dan, and Jonathan who I met through my blog. It was amazing to see God use each of our talents to bless our individual churches and the #kidmin Community. Here is a link to the post about it.
2. Helping a friend and fellow blogger win Tony’s final four
3. Meeting some other really great people I would have never met any other way.
4. Loved connecting with so many of you at Orange 2010 It was a total blast!

What am I most excited about for this year?

1. Working on a Gospel Centered Christmas Curriculum for 2011 and a special summer curriculum in 2012. With the talented people on board it is going to be a huge blessing for our churches and for the kidmin community
2. Connecting with more of you at Orange, Group’s Kidmin and at Napkin.
3. Blogging about some of the stuff I am passionate about.
4. Building the local church anyway I can.
5. Meeting Andy Stanley (Hey this is my birthday blog I can make a wish before I blow out the candles can’t I)

Well 4 years 975 posts 3417 comments and countless many friends later. I am blessed, and humbled that any of you out there read my blog and am grateful when you chime in. I have grown and learned so much from each of you. If I would have known the huge blessing this blog would be to me 4 years ago I would have started blogging 14 years ago.

You guys are the best!