Help-Me-to-Do-Better

As we end 2013, I want to do everything I can to offer a better blog in 2014 and forward. I have found that the readers of this blog are incredibly insightful, so I am asking for your help.

If you have time, would you offer one or more suggestions to improve my blog? I have listed several questions below. If you could respond to one or a few of them, I would be greatly appreciative. Feel free to respond anonymously if you would be more comfortable.

Thank you again for making this blog the source of information it is today. And thank you for your willingness to make it better.

  1. What do you like most about this blog?
  2. What do you like least about this blog?
  3. What would you like me to change?
  4. What issues would you like me to address?
  5. Is the typical post too long or too short?
  6. Do you like or dislike my almost completely open comment policy?
  7. The blog has daily posts. Is that too frequent or not sufficiently frequent?
  8. What would you change about my daily schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday – new content by me; Tuesday – new content by Chuck Lawless; Thursday – Notable Voices links to other posts; Friday – Freebies giveaway & podcast; and Sunday – pray for a specific church?
  9. Is my own comment interaction sufficient?
  10. Do you like the 7:00 am release time of each post or would you prefer a different time?
  11. Is the functionality of the blog okay?
  12. What else would you offer to help me improve the blog?

Thank you again for making 2013 such a great year for me.  I pray that 2014 is a great year for you and your families. I’ll begin the new year with a post of my predictions for American churches.

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Comments

  1. Terry L. Root says

    I have just begun to get your blog, so I am in no way able to fully comment. BUT …. what I do like is having something to chew on, stew on and mull over when I do read your blog & other material. Material & time frame is fine …. I have not fully had time to utilize all of your website & blog materials.
    I was introduced to you through the “I AM A CHURCH MEMBER” (my Pastor bought loads of these little books for his parishioners, then insisted we read them ALL THE WAY THROUGH!!) LOL ….. My brother is a pastor and I called him and he’s real familiar with your writings too and highly recommended you also.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thank you Terry. I am glad you have become a part of the ThomRainer.com community. I think you will find the readers/commenters to be the strength of this blog. They are a lot smarter than I am!

  2. Keith Wissman says

    1. What do you like most about this blog? I am an “informal leader” at a quickly growing local church plant and consistently your blog either confirms my instinct on something or gives me something to chew on for the rest of the day.
    2. What do you like least about this blog? Every once in awhile the day’s entry is a bit long for my ADD type of mind.
    3. What would you like me to change? Honestly, nothing.
    4. What issues would you like me to address? The type, breadth and depth of topics is consistently good. Possibly a topic that would be of interest would be interviews with seminary heads (not just the leaders from well known and large schools) to talk about assessing and adjusting the level of preparedness of new seminary graduates. You have touched on it several times recently but I honestly think it needs to be a steady drumbeat. Many seminary graduates are appallingly prepared to lead a church family.
    5. Is the typical post too long or too short? Typically fine.
    6. Do you like or dislike my almost completely open comment policy? Like.
    7. The blog has daily posts. Is that too frequent or not sufficiently frequent? It’s fine for me, if I need to allow the daily entries to collect for a few days due to schedule I do that. Not a problem for me.
    8. What would you change about my daily schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday – new content by me; Tuesday – new content by Chuck Lawless; Thursday – Notable Voices links to other posts; Friday – Freebies giveaway & podcast; and Sunday – pray for a specific church? For me, and me only, the “weakest” days are Friday and Sunday. For some reason the freebies doesn’t do anything for me and as much as I appreciate the need to pray for churches around our country I have to stay focused on praying for our new little church family and our hedonistic little city.
    9. Is my own comment interaction sufficient? Yes
    10. Do you like the 7:00 am release time of each post or would you prefer a different time? No change needed.
    11. Is the functionality of the blog okay? Yes, but I had a bit of a challenge with some of the tracking blocker apps and malware blocking apps making things work a bit wonky or not at all. Once that was settled, it is fine.
    12. What else would you offer to help me improve the blog? This may sound elementary schoolish but I would appreciate some pictures that follow along with the topic at hand. Maybe kinda like Ann Voskamp’s blog?

    • Jim Ellis says

      I love the blog as I believe I’m in my last church. In Jan. 22 we are starting “I am a church member” for small groups. Just keep blogging.

    • Mark says

      I concur with #4. Many denominations are having trouble with this one. There are many aspects of pastoring not being taught in seminary. Now I realize that there is a learn-on-the-job component of every profession, but somewhere there needs to be a discussion of supervised ministry during seminary. Too many ministers are finishing seminary with M.Div. degrees and lots of bible knowledge but no idea of pastoral care. Hence, they are preachers, not clergy.

  3. says

    Love the blog. I am an early type and like to have all my daily quiet time and reading of various blogs done before heading out to the office. So, that’s one suggestion that would help me: Post prior to 7:00 a.m. for us in the Central Time Zone.

    Have a blessed 2014–

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thanks Lonnie. The earlier release is a good idea, but I’ll have to be more diligent in my timing of submissions. I typically don’t finish my post until the night before it’s due. My social media folks proofread it and then launch it when they arrive at work just before 7:00 am central.

  4. Gena says

    Dear Thom. I started reading your blog earlier this year. I can’t find anything I would want to change. I like your insite into things I am intrested in/concerned about – how I can support my church staff, how I can help our church through my involvement in missions, personal thoughts about church ministry I had never considered, and how I must play a key part if I want to help the church. I look forward to opening my mailbox to your blog each day.

  5. says

    Your blog posts have become a significant resource for me. Your posts on leadership have been particularly important. Notable Voices has supplied me with a door to other writers. Some of those whose articles you have linked are now a part of my morning reading (Mark Howell in particular). Perhaps what is most appealing in your posts is the sheer practicality and usability of the information you present. I enjoy Friday is for Freebies, participate each week, and am still waiting to win the Holman Study Bible. I am 65, and I learn from you everyday. Thanks for what you do and for the service you provide for your readers. Can’t think of anything offhand you should change.

  6. Norm Brock says

    Dr. Rainer,
    First I love your blog, it is helpful, encouraging, and useful. Thank you for your faithfulness to provide this ministry.
    Second, this post is an encouragement to me for I see modeled someone who will seek input, is not afraid of change and open to communication. Way to model solid leadership principles to all of us! Thank you!
    I am excited to see the new Bible Study for Life Connect. I have been looking for something video from you, that might include “I am a Church Member” material and thank you for that book too!
    Have a blessed New Year!

  7. Rick Martin says

    The blog is good and right on target. The one suggestion that I have is to make the print darker. It shows us a very light gray on my monitor and is very difficult to read on the white background. Either make the background dark and the print light or vice versa.

  8. Thom Rainer says

    Readers –

    I approve about 99% of all comments. I try to show respect and great latitude, so you can have much freedom to interact on this blog. If you do not see your comment posted, it means that you have used this forum to go down other paths, leading to the likelihood that the topic will be diverted.

  9. says

    I wouldn’t change anything about the content. I love your blog and I read EVERY post. I suggest you include some article on health and nutrition for leaders (they significantly affect stress levels). The only thing I don’t like about the blog is the color scheme – too much red! Keep doing what you are doing. It is inspiring stuff!

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thanks Brad. LifeWay began putting increased emphasis on open groups like Sunday school over two years ago. An open group is an ongoing group with no set termination point. Closed groups are critical too. They have a definitive end date and usually focus on one topic. You will continue to hear more about “Groups Matter” in 2014. I appreciate your love for Sunday school.

  10. Larry Elrod says

    Dear Thom,
    I will seek to respond as well as I am able.

    1.What do you like most about this blog?
    Survey information is always helpful when the data speaks for itself.
    2.What do you like least about this blog?
    Informal surveys from which conclusions are drawn to support previously held positions.
    3.What would you like me to change?
    It might be good if there were follow-up blogs to report how comments confirmed the content of the blog.
    4.What issues would you like me to address?
    Why church growth is such a problem for Southern Baptists.
    5.Is the typical post too long or too short?
    The length needs to be appropriate to the topic. So, some blogs need to be longer, some need to be shorter. I do not know if you are counting words, but if you are you might follow the guidelines most journalists use when writing an article for publication.
    6.Do you like or dislike my almost completely open comment policy?
    It is good that folks are encouraged to respond from their point of view. As an introvert it is easy to yield to the temptation of being too proprietary since much of the content comes from within instead of from others.
    7.The blog has daily posts. Is that too frequent or not sufficiently frequent?
    This is really up to you. LifeWay hired you to lead them not write blogs so keep the main thing the main thing.
    8.What would you change about my daily schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday – new content by me; Tuesday – new content by Chuck Lawless; Thursday – Notable Voices links to other posts; Friday – Freebies giveaway & podcast; and Sunday – pray for a specific church?
    Honestly, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday seem to be fillers so there is a daily blog and folks can still have some time off. I do not want to be ungracious and I do want to pray for our sister churches, however there are 45,000 SBC churches and preaching points and at one a week it will take 865 years to pray for all of them. One thing I have noticed is that most of the churches mentioned are in the Bible belt.
    9.Is my own comment interaction sufficient?
    It is your blog so your interaction is absolutely essential. If all you did was quote other rabbis, you would not be speaking with authority.
    10.Do you like the 7:00 am release time of each post or would you prefer a different time?
    You could release right after midnight if you wanted more input. There are some who have little time to respond after 8 AM.
    11.Is the functionality of the blog okay?
    Technologically it works, if that is what you are asking.
    12.What else would you offer to help me improve the blog?
    Graphs, pictures, and other components which can speak more words than just words.

    So, there you have them, my answers and comments to your questions. I hope they help. I pray I have been gracious. God bless you for what you are trying to do to grow His kingdom.

    Larry

    • Frank Montgomery says

      Larry –

      Your suggestions are really good, but I have to respectfully take exception to number 7. I noticed for Dr. Rainer that is rare for him to debate the commenters, even if he likely feels that one may be a zinger. Larry, you make a dichotomy between his leadership at LifeWay and the blog, as if the two are not related. One of the key functions of good leaders is good communications and, for me, this blog is leadership communication at its best. I look to LifeWay to provide my church and me good solutions, resources, and ideas. Frankly, this blog is one of the best resources I know, and it’s free! For me, this blog is one of the key and one of the most critical facets of Dr. Rainer’s leadership at LifeWay.

  11. Leon says

    Thom, i don’t really have any serious comments/suggestions, etc. regarding the blog. i have enjoyed it and recommended it to pastor friends of mine. For me though, the Friday Freebies is something I probably won’t be participating in much anymore. i am not opposed to it, but I am never “lucky.” :-)

    i try to pray for the churches listed on the Sunday blog, but normally don’t do so until late Sunday or early Monday (or whatever day I can catch up to them). I am usually busy getting ready for Sunday and don’t get to the blog until later. Maybe the churches to pray for could be listed earlier?

    All in all, i have thoroughly enjoyed the blog and hope to continue to do so. Prayers to you and yours.

  12. Prentiss Yeates says

    I’d to first thank you for providing an edifying blog site. I appreciate the topics that both provide information and prayerful consideration for leaders and pastors. The lean goth on topic is the length needed . Articles are timely, the time of each blog works for me as long as it works for you and the prayer for this church is a necessary reminder that we are of one body but many parts. I’ll keep trying for the hcsb study bible , you keep providing guidandance for your readers. One shout out- our Sunday school class uses a variety of sources for curriculum. When I get a chance to teach my source is lifeway adult lessons for the date or season. Thank you and God bless .

  13. says

    My dad once said “Pleasing everybody pleases nobody”. I still believe it.

    Handle the blog as YOU want to. I I want to read a blog run the way I want one run, I’ll read my own.

    :)

  14. says

    My dad once said “Pleasing everybody pleases nobody”. I still believe it.

    Handle the blog as YOU want to. If I want to read a blog run the way I want one run, I’ll read my own.

    :)

  15. says

    My dad once said “Pleasing everybody pleases nobody”. I still believe it.

    Handle the blog as YOU want to. If I want to read a blog run the way I want one run, I’ll read my own.

  16. Allen Baker says

    Thom,
    I can’t tell you enough what your blog has done for me. My quiet time is when your blog come through. Between you and my other favorite professor from the Gram School, Dr Lawless I have made notes and studied to be a better pastor and have applied them to my life. 10 Days of Simple & Strategic Prayer which I haven’t stopped at 10, are awesome Your Bible Study Tips have been a timely treat for my spiritual journey Wouldn’t change a thing. Just keep them coming.

  17. Patsy Chacon says

    I am very new to your blog and have found it to be only a true blessing in my life. I look forward everyday to reading what you have been inspired to share. Thank you so much for all your help. May God continue to bless you and I wouldnt change a thing.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thanks so much Patsy. I am glad you are a part of this blog community. You have blessed me with your kind words.

  18. Mike says

    I want to tell you that your blog is excellent. It is consistently good & relevant. You’re a former pastor, but you also do research on churches today. So you bring a unique, fresh, honest perspective. Thank you for being such an encouragement. I just wish more church people would read blogs like this. Many truly don’t.

  19. Mike says

    I have read some other blogs. Your blog is the one I read the most. Because it’s relevant, fresh, honest, encouraging & it’s real. I like your podcasts also. Please keep up the outstanding work, Mr. Rainer. You are a real encouragement to thousands of pastors in this country.

  20. says

    I love the blog, so I really wouldn’t change anything. I do have a suggestion for a post idea though, I think it would be interesting if you did a recurring “mailbag” type post where you do nothing but answer reader questions. I read some sports blogs that do that, and it seems like it would work well here as well.

    As always, I appreciate what you do.

  21. WAde Bartlett says

    Tom, one of the responses said he would like to know how Southern Baptist is doing. We understand it is losing members. What are some suggestions also it is my understanding that non denomination churches are growing.
    If so why?

    Thanks

    • Thom Rainer says

      Wade –

      Not all denomination are declining, but most are. The reverse is true for some major non-denominational movements. I hope to research the reasons in the future.

    • Mark says

      The interesting part of that study would be to ask those who are growing what they have or have not done. (Look at Calvary Baptist in DC.) Also, the liturgical churches (aka “high church”) have been growing with young people without even trying. They are even surprised by their recent growth.

  22. Jane McEwen says

    Meant to comment several days ago….anyway, I appreciate the format and ease of reading of your blog. I can scan and stop where drawn. Topics are very ‘in the moment.’ As a lay leader in my church you have helped me to understand the ‘why’s’ of leadership decisions and how I can support their purpose. I have used your topics more than once in a weekly Bible study class discussion. I wouldn’t change much if any. Thanks for all you do.

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