Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend TGC’s Band of Bloggers meeting. The meeting was led by Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, Joe Thorn, Justin Buzzard, Jared Wilson, Collin Hansen, Steve McCoy, Tim Brister, Trevin Wax, John Starke and Owen Strachan. There were 150 bloggers who attended the meeting and we had the opportunity to rub shoulders with these humble guys. The theme of the meeting was The Gospel Procession.
There were two parts to the event. First, all of the 150 attendees received 17 books from various publishers to promote, read and review on their blogs. The list of books are as follows:
1. Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope by Trevin Wax (Moody)
2. Don’t Call It a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day edited by Kevin DeYoung (Crossway)
3. Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People by Jonathan Leeman (Moody)
4. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (25th Anniversary Reference Edition) by John Piper (Desiring God)
5. Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer by Joel Beeke (RHB)
6-10. The Essential Edwards Collection (5 Books in Set) by Owen Strachan and Douglas Sweeney (Moody)
11. Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change by Brian Hedges (Shepherd Press)
12. Faithful Preaching: Declaring Scripture with Responsibility, Passion, and Authenticity by Tony Merida (B&H)
13. When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: Biblical Principle and Practices to Guide Your Search by Chris Brauns (Moody)
14. Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn (Crossway)
15. Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care by Tony Merida and Rick Morton (New Hope)
16. The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies (Zondervan)
17. Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purposes of God by David Platt (Multnomah)
Second, in addition to receiving a lot of great books there was a lot of good and helpful discussion to encourage Christian bloggers to continue their work in order to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There was discussion led by the leaders of the meeting which paved the way for discussion at our tables. There are a few discussion highlights I wanted to reflect on.
1. Blogging and writing on the internet is here to stay for awhile. Christians have always been writing whether in books, journals, magazines, tracts or pamphlets. It was pointed out that Christian bloggers have in some way designated themselves to the task of writing on blogs. This may be so. However, the concept of self initiating writers within Christianity is not new. What is new is the medium of writing – blogging. Owen Strachan pointed out that this is in part why he came back to blogging – it is still relevant and effective.
2. Blogging does have the danger of making ones blog about themselves. That a blog can become solely about the person who runs it is not unique to blogging. This can happen with preaching, writing books, speaking at conferences, etc. Pride and arrogance can crop up within our hearts in anything we do and we can make it about ourselves. Therefore, bloggers need to be aware of this potential pitfall and seek to intentionally make their blogs and post about Christ and the Gospel.
3. Bloggers need to find creative ways to explain the fundamental message of the Gospel so the message is not assumed and then lost with the succeeding generations. You’ve heard it said, “The first generation preaches the Gospel, the second generation assumes the Gospel and the third generation looses the Gospel.” We could say that we are in the first generation of bloggers. If we apply this progressive principle from preaching to loss then this first generation of bloggers are the preachers. This means that if we are not careful the next generation will assume the Gospel. Trevin Wax pointed out that in order to protect the next generation from assuming the Gospel then we need to find creative ways to make sure we explain and define our Christian and blogging lingo. We use words and phrases like “Gospel-centered” and being “missional” often times without explaining what we mean to those new to the game. This is necessary because sometimes two people who use the same word or phrase don’t always mean the same thing.
On a more personal note, I was struck by the humility these leading bloggers have. For example, while standing in line to register for the meeting I saw Tim Challies. I am a subscriber to his blog and one of his Friends of the Blog (both of which I strongly encourage you to do!) so I decided to meet him personally. I told him my name and was immediately taken back by how humble he was. Though he knows who he is, and that he has one of the most popular Christian blogs, he acted like he was a nobody. He made me feel like somebody and I am new to the blogging world. But that is the point right? In light of the all surpassing majesty of God in Christ Jesus we are nobodies. John 3:30 says, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” John came as a witness to Christ before Christ came on the scene. John made sure to point to Christ and get out of the way when He came. This should be the mission of Christian blogging. To get out of the way and proclaim Christ because he is the center of the Gospel. We proclaim Him and not ourselves.