This year, FaithVillage is highlighting 52 contributors in a weekly post called the FaithVillage Contributor Spotlight. I had the privilege of being first in the line up.
The weekly online interview affords its readers the opportunity to learn more about those who contribute to FaithVillage on a routine basis. They asked me everything from blogging to pitfalls to traveling in the Holy Land.
Here are the 7 questions they asked, as well as my answers.
1. How long have you been blogging? What, or who, motivated you to start?
I have blogged for about about seven years. It started just as natural outflow from a passion to write. However, I made the decision to get serious about it in March of 2012 after hearing Michael Hyatt give a talk at the National Religious Broadcasters’ Conference.
2. What do you blog about? Why?
I love connecting the Bible and its lands to life. Making life connections to Scripture is my highest passion. The lands of the Bible offer a level of biblical understanding that rivals Greek and Hebrew — and yet, understanding Bible lands is far more accessible than the biblical languages.
Bible lands have taken my biblical understanding to a new level, and I want to share that benefit with as many people as I can. The applications to life are surprisingly numerous.
3. Who do you read, follow, or talk to for blogging advice?
My go-to spot for blogging advice is Michael Hyatt’s blog. It’s a one-stop shop for everything anyone needs to start a blog. Michael doesn’t do everything, but he points you in the right directions. His work has changed my ministry. I’m also a member of the online community Platform University, which provides weekly content to boost, encourage, and refine my personal platform.
4. What’s the best tip you know for growing your blog?
Two words: quality and consistency.
My blog’s stats went from about 300 readers a month to more than 4600 a month in the span of about a year. (And it’s grown by another couple thousand since this interview in January.) All I did was focus on quality and consistency. This takes a LOT of work. But when communication and ministry is your passion, it’s worth it.
5. As a Christian who blogs, what are some pitfalls that other Christian bloggers ought to be wary of?
I think the pitfalls are generally the same for anyone in any ministry, but I’ll list some that pertain directly to blogging:
Because it takes a tremendous amount of time, it’s tempting to shortchange life’s other priorities.
The love of the means of ministry (i.e. blogging) can supersede one’s love for Christ. These are very easy to confuse.
Other Christian bloggers are not competitors, but companions. The solution to this temptation for me is generosity and offering shoutouts to others.
Believing the lie that God “needs” me to blog. If I stopped blogging tomorrow, the kingdom of God wouldn’t miss a beat. My participation is a privilege, not a prerogative.
Refuse to compare or to measure self-worth by Google Analytics. We should examine our blog stats in order to be more strategic with our work, not more confident of our value as a person.
Remember to pray for those who come to your blog. Sometimes I’ll keep the “Real Time” window open in Google Analytics (that shows you who is currently on your blog and what they’re viewing), and I’ll pray for that person according to what post they are reading.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:10, Jesus will judge our blog (and the rest of our work for Him) by the quality of our motives and not necessarily by the quantity (size) of our readership.
I have to ask myself regularly, “Could you let go of the whole thing tomorrow if God asked you to?”
6. How many times have you been to the Holy Lands, and why do you keep going back?
Our trip to Israel in March marked my 9th journey to Israel. I keep returning because significant life-change occurs on these tours. My first trip had such a profound impact on me that I did some serious research to see if my reaction was standard for Christians — and it is.
My purpose in going back over and over is to help others discover the “context” of the Bible — and thus, to grow deeper in their personal understanding, study, and application of God’s Word.
7. What’s one thing about Wayne Stiles that few people know (that you’re also OK with being published on the Internet)?
I majored in classical guitar for my undergrad degree. I also love woodworking. And English toffee.
Tell me what you think: What question would YOU like to ask me? To leave a comment, just click here.
If you have never checked out
FaithVillage, you would enjoy it. You can connect with other Christians across the Web or launch a private, online community for your church. It offers loads of inspirational content and social spaces for daily community. I recommend it!