Why I Haven’t Been Blogging Much Lately

by Bobby Gilles

in Exhortations And Musings

Long time readers will remember that I used to blog several times a week here on My Song In The Night. Prior to that, I blogged seven days a week on the old Sojourn Music site. What gives? Where have I been the last several years?

My only regular posts in recent times have been the Monday liturgy report from my church Sojourn. Many of you tell me you benefit from it, so I’m happy to do it. Beyond that, posts have been few and far between because I fell in love with serving the local church again.

In January 2015 I transferred from the Communications team of the Sojourn Collective to the local staff at Sojourn Church New Albany, where I serve as Associate Pastor (what some churches call “Executive Pastor” or “Pastor of Operations”). It was one of the best moves of my life. For a variety of reasons, some of which were entirely my fault, at the time I felt burned out, beaten down, washed up, hung out to dry, stuck on a limb, and a whole bunch of other unpleasant metaphors.

I had been attempting to find my value and satisfy my insecurities through blogging and social media. Although I was never an Internet celebrity, even in my corner of the evangelical Christian world, Kristen and I had a reasonably well trafficked blog, songs being streamed, downloaded and led in a smattering of churches across the country, and a high “Klout” score. Klout was a company that measured your social media influence. I don’t know if they still exist because I haven’t checked it in years. If it does, I’m sure my score has fallen off the cliff, and that’s okay.

I’d even reached the point where I’d occasionally receive free product in the mail (like a new flavor of popcorn), in the hopes that I’d tweet about it. Plus movie passes, CDs, books and the like. It felt good.

Getting retweeted by people I admire felt good, too. Participating in social media conversations with cool, smart people felt good. Not being retweeted or included in smart conversations felt bad. I began to obsessively check my social media feeds and my blog stats (I’ve long since removed stats from this blog so I have no idea how many of you are even reading this. Maybe it’s just you and me, Dear Reader).

Then I came to Sojourn New Albany, to fill a vacant position that had sorely needed filling for a long time. We were a church of about 480 at the time, and the Lead Pastor Jonah Sage had basically been doing double duty. The rest of the staff pitched in admirably, along with an intern named Josh Foor who has gone on to bigger and better things as Lead Pastor of Big Rapids First Baptist Church in Michigan. But they needed a full time Associate Pastor.

I dove in. There was scarcely time to breathe, let alone burn daylight in the blogosphere and Twitter. Over four years later, I’ve got more time to breathe but not much time to waste, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love serving our community here. Sometimes that’s in “big” ways like preaching. I do that several times a year now. I never used to preach when I was heavily into writing songs and blog posts, but sermons have become my favorite things to write.

Other times — well, last night I ran the slideshow while our band and Family Pastor Stephen Pierce led the Baccalaureate service for the graduating seniors of our local public high school. That was fun. Helping set out fruits and vegetables for our summer “Fresh Stop Markets” for the neighborhood is fun. Taking food to our corner pantry is fun. Writing our weekly church eNewsletter is fun. Sometimes, when my brain feels tired, instead of hopping on social media to see what ruckus is going on in the “young, restless & Reformed” camp, I even like picking up litter around our building or deep-cleaning our coffee equipment.

Many of you are lead pastors, worship pastors or some other kind of pastor, so you may be saying, “Isn’t this deacon work? I’m not sure a pastor should be doing that stuff, because of Acts 6.”

First, it seems to me that Jesus and Paul did a lot of “deacon work.”

Second, you probably already do a lot of things besides preaching and praying, such as strategizing, vision casting, mentoring, counseling people one-on-one, managing staff and resources, and visiting homes and hospitals. And if you have a medium-to-large sized church, I’m guessing that deacons at your church are also involved in each of these things.

Third, it’s a stretch to assume that Acts 6 (if it’s talking about the office of “deacon”) meant the apostles would never again have taken out trash, brought someone a cup of water, fixed a broken thing-a-ma-bob, or settled a logistical problem. Acts 6 means that none of those things would be their focus, and none of those things would be allowed to take precedence or keep them from prayer and preaching.

Finally, remember that even in my case I’m saying that these are things I enjoy doing because they replenish my soul in a way that social media engagement rarely does, and because I see the need in my setting. These are the things I do instead of taking a 15-minute break to scan Facebook or watch YouTube videos.

I still like social media. I still read a few blogs (though not nearly as many as I used to). And in the months to come I’m going to dip my feet back into blog writing. In the past 4+ years we’ve done a lot and learned a lot at Sojourn New Albany. Some of you notice or hear about the way we do things, and you occasionally email or DM me to learn more. If I can find the time to write some things that are helpful to a few people here and there, I’m all for it.

So that’s where I’ve been and where I’m going. As for my wife Kristen? In the last few years since recording Parker’s Mercy Brigade and a song that we wrote for the last Sojourn Kids record, she’s given birth to our two girls Lydiana and McKayla. She also did a great job as Director of Sojourn Kids for three years, during a period of rapid growth. Last year she transitioned to a staff role as our Administrator. She has always seen administration as her primary strength in the workforce, so it’s a good fit.

One more thing: none of this should be construed as criticism of Christians who blog or podcast regularly or even who tweet a lot, or who do other things besides or on top of serving in a local church, like writing books or speaking at conferences. I’ve been blessed by many of them, from Aimee Byrd to Sojourn’s own Mike Cosper, to … well, too many to name. This has only been a story about me, and what I knew was lurking in my heart, and how God has opened my eyes and given me a new sense of purpose here in this specific season of my life.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I’ll be around.

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