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Web Hits, Blog Stats, And The Gospel

As we approach the end of this year and the beginning of a new one, I have taken some time to examine this blog and evaluate the “effectiveness” of its exposure. I have taken a look at where it is “ranked” within various search engines, what keywords are being queried in order to find it, etc. I have also taken a look back at the amount of web hits it has received and the statistics pertaining to it. In doing so, it occurred to me that this information can be quite revealing, but it only tells a very small portion of the overall story.

Churches have historically considered the measure of the success of their ministry based on their membership and weekly attendance. Statistics have been used to evaluate the growth of their congregation, and that is usually summed up by the total number of bodies filling the pews. “Just get as many people in the seats as possible, and everything else will fall into place.” Many Christian bloggers and webmasters (myself included) have adapted a similar view of their own work for the Lord. We check our web statistics and see how many people have visited our sites, how long they spent on them, which pages they’ve read, and so on. We then proceed to gauge the efficacy of our endeavors based primarily on these results.

While such statistics and data are beneficial for secular websites, and downright crucial for those of a business nature, do they really provide the blogger whose purpose is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ a complete picture? For those whose visitors are viewed as potential customers and whose goal is solely conversions (those visitors who end up buying a product), the bottom line is all about how many sales were generated by the information produced on a website. That is all there is to it. But visitors to our websites are not customers any more than congregants within a church are (although, sadly, some church boards tend to think of them as such and their measurement of success consists of the size of the tithes and offerings collected). We are not selling anything and consequently have no real means of knowing for certain if our efforts have been fruitful or not.

The truth is that our success is measured by nothing more nor anything less than our faithfulness to God. It is the very rare servant of the Lord who knows on this side of eternity what type of impact they truly have made for the Kingdom of God. The day will come when all the “statistics” will be counted and everyone will fully know the fruition of their service. Until then, we must trust that God will bless those things that we do in His name for His glory. If God can use even one thing that we write to reach one single individual, then we have succeeded indeed.

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8 responses

  1. Thanks Loren I needed that word of encouragement today,for we do tend to measure our Blogs by the comments or hits.But as you said if we reach just one with our encouraging words that’s wonderful,and truly in the end we’ll see our true Stats! Lovely I enjoyed the read so much,and “Happy New Year” to you and your family I hope this year is the best.

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  2. Hi Loren,

    You are so very right. I would like to share a story that happened to me that illustrates just what you are saying.

    A few years ago I was contacted on the internet by this man that lives in the Middle East (for his safety, I’m keeping hiding all identifying info including his country). He saw me on a discussion board. To make a long story short, he saw how I was responding regarding Christian theology. He was not a member of that group but would read sometimes. Anyway, we started talking via email and he wanted to know everything I could tell him about Christianity. As a Muslim, he had an incredible amount of misconceptions about Christianity and what the Bible taught. We corresponded for quite a few months and he would ask me questions — just fire questions at me because he was hungry and wanted to know. He got to the point where he believed that Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God and that through Him came salvation and through none other.

    But he was scared because of the persecution he would face in his country of origin. He was married with two children and a third on the way. One of the last things he said to me was how could he go to heaven if his wife and children did not. You see, he loved his wife and children very much and he was in anguish over their salvation, yet he believed.

    What I’m saying is that God used me to plant a seed. I lost contact with him and don’t know what happened but I am utterly convinced since God brought him this close, God finished His work in that man’s heart. I have no doubt in my mind. I just didn’t get to see the finished result of God’s work in that man’s heart. The work that God had for me in this man’s life was over. That season closed and God finished the work in that man’s life in another way.

    That’s what you are doing on your blog — what we all are doing. We do not know who we are touching, who is being affected — that’s not for us to know. What we are commanded to do is preach His Good News. He does the rest.

    I can say that your blog is an incredible blessing to me. If you are writing and you are a blessing to only one Christian (and I already know it’s more), then you are doing His work that He has for you.

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  3. Thanks, Pat, Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  4. “What we are commanded to do is preach His Good News. He does the rest. ”

    That’s it exactly. It is great when we get to be the one who leads a new believer in the “sinner’s prayer”, or we get to see someone make a decision to follow Christ in response to what we have told them. But those times seem to be the rare instances. Usually, we are but one stone in a very long path that leads a person to the Lord. Sometimes we are closer to the end of the path when the person is on the brink of receiving Salvation, other times we are closer to the beginning when their heart is still hard and their response to our witness is hostile. Sadly, there are other times when our sharing of the Gospel is rejected outright, yet our words will serve as a squandered opportunity of which the unrepentant will be reminded of in the Day of Judgment. It is certainly no fun to think about those instances, yet they are a part of what God has commanded us to do. Fortunately, we do not know which times are which in the grand scheme of things.

    Great example that you gave, thanks for sharing this touching story.

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  5. Loren,

    This is a very good and well-put observation….. Over the years, the “church” has been greatly at fault for looking only for numbers, and not at preaching according to God’s will….. God does not hold His children responsible for getting great numbers to turn to salvation in Christ — He only holds us responsible for rightly speaking the truth of God’s word…..

    As we read through the Old Testament, none of God’s true prophets were particularly “popular”….. They were actually unpopular for preaching the truth about sin….. Nevertheless, God wanted them to continue preaching.

    Even Jesus’ preaching was not popular with the religious leaders and those who did not want to admit their sinful nature….. That unpopularity eventually led to His death, which was all according to God’s plan….. So, we don’t understand God’s plan, but we do understand His command to spread His word throughout all the world….. We do continue to put forth our best efforts as did Paul and all the apostles and early Christians….. It is God who opens doors and hearts.

    Thank you for this timely post….. I hope many true Christian bloggers come to this realization and continue to be faithful in speaking God’s word.

    Margaret

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  6. Excellent points, Margaret, thanks.

    I was reading the other day about a crisis that the preacher G. Campbell Morgan faced early in his ministry. He was confronted with the question of whether he was going to be “A popular preacher or a faithful messenger of God.” We must decide which of these two we are going to be.

    Preachers who faithfully and unflinchingly proclaim God’s Word are not likely to fill huge arenas or have a #1 Bestseller book. Neither are Christian bloggers who stick to the Word of God likely to reach the top of the “blog catalogs” or receive 10,000 web hits a day. We all must decide whether we are seeking the praise of man or the praise of God.

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  7. Hi Loren. I just came across your blog. And can I tell you, you are right on, on this one. The Lord too spoke to me about this through a good friend of mime. Its not about the statistics…but rather, THE SOULS OF MEN… of which eternity will reveal the full intention of our labor towards them and GOD, the father. YOU ARE A BLESSING.

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  8. Thank you, Gladwell, for reading this and sharing the kind words!

    May the Lord remind us always that what we do is about the souls of men and not statistics.

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