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What does a “mommy blog” have to do with local church ministry?

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Our local church is hosting a missions conference unlike any missions conferences I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot).

The “Grace on Mission Conference” is running for the entire month of March, and this is what it’s all about:

The Grace on Mission Conference is for the church to become aware of outreach that is already taking place, as well as to become equipped to move out with our faith. God’s love has been poured into our hearts – so let’s be intentional about living in the outflow to magnify Jesus Christ.

Rich Powell – Senior Pastor

As part of this conference, members of our local church are presenting the para-church ministries with which they are involved to the congregation through the form of 5-minute verbal testimony (what our local church calls a “Living Picture”) as well as missions-conference style displays set up in our main “Gathering Room.”

I was approached about presenting my writing as one of these ministries.

While initially I was excited, I was also filled with trepidation. My blog existed long before I was a member of our local church. The idea of my blog being a ministry of the local church is scary. Because, let’s face it: it’s kind of a mess. 


I was 21 years old and nine-months married. My husband was five months into a year-long deployment, and I was living alone in Texas, over a thousand miles away from my closest family members. I was 11 ½ years ago when I hastily started a no-name blog on a no-name host server in order to keep all of my caring friends and family members up on the latest family news, like how Russ was doing overseas and where we would be living when he returned home. I had no idea on that evening in my 1-bedroom apartment sitting there in my pajamas that I was embarking on a life-changing endeavor that would impact people around the globe…and also my local church(es). 

That’s the first paragraph of the first draft of my 5-minute “Living Picture.” My notes for said presentation are already 4 pages long. #writerproblems

I’ve been struggling through thoughts about this for the last week. I have so many ideas of how to share this “ministry” with my local body, but they all seem so…self promotional.

How do I talk about the dauntingly massive opportunity in reach that I have literally at the tips of my fingers – because I have a combined Facebook audience of over 41,000 “fans” in everywhere from Winston Salem to the Philippines and Malaysia with whom I can share truth on any given day?

How can I share about the people I’ve been able to speak to on my computer because of that one blog post that “went viral” and got 100,000 hits in a day or a Christmas video about autism that has garnered 30,000 followers over the last three Decembers without sounding like I’m obsessed with my own stats and platform?

How do I connect this ministry…MY ministry (my very messy, often rambling, maybe-not-always-theologically-correct word-vomit of a ministry) to my local church? How can they come alongside me in this?

What does a “mommy blog” have to do with local church ministry? I was approached about sharing my blog as a ministry with my local church. The idea of my blog being a ministry of the local church is scary. #blogging #blogger #blog #church #ministry #missions #momlife #bloggerlife
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My angst was also impacted by a recent thought-provoking discussion I had on Facebook with my missions-minded friend Laura (you can read her blog here) calling attention to some of the problems with “mommy blogs.” This discussion garnered a lot of great comments from some other young-married-with-kids friends of ours in our church. She reached out to me and told me that my blog wasn’t what she was talking about, which I so appreciated. But…the whole discussion made me think and think and think and to be honest I’m still thinking about it:

Laura: I think there’s a danger in mommy blogs, especially faith-based ones. The premise is always the same: you’re a victim – an innocent victim who has one heck of a job to do and you need their daily dose of grace and patience and Bible verses to survive. I can’t think of any mommy blog I’ve seen that doesn’t tether you to this idea of victimhood. As soon as your kids jump on your bed or whine to get out of their crib, these writers have conditioned you to check your phone and lean on their daily posts to muster through the day. Before you’ve even done a single thing or heard a single word out of your child, your favorite blogger has already reaffirmed to you that this day is going to be full of rough moments, meltdowns, thanklessness, breaking up fights, and no one’s going to see all you do except God, and it’s the hardest job in the world, and girl, you’re going to reheat your coffee in the microwave four times before you finish your first cup, but God, he made you into a booboo-kissing superhero. You are enough and he’s got this and all these hard things you will do today and the tears you will shed he sees and counts every one.

Are things like that actually helpful? It’s a disparaging message disguised as life-giving. Maybe the same thing we think is setting us free to enjoy and find fulfillment in motherhood (blogs) is actually *precisely* what’s holding us captive to constantly fighting the feeling of nothingness in our role as a mother.

I’m not saying throw out all blogs…I just think they can be dangerous because they typically point to Christ in an underhanded way by starting off with the premise that parenting is terrible and it’s the hardest job in the world and moms have sacrificed everything by being moms. I think anything that points to Christ out of that premise is already very flawed, and it’s not healthy to put your mind there every day.

Ugh – because I think she has a point here and double ugh – I’ve totally done this. 

Not just once or twice but some of my top-viewed content is this kind of stuff.

A (male) friend-and-father-of-two countered:

A lot of them though are probably grappling with a massive shift in thinking. The philosophy of the age tells women that to fulfill their destiny as a woman they have to climb the corporate ladder or do every job better than a man does and thus proving their worth. They go to college and get a degree and start their career and begin to realize they are missing a major portion of their life which is the desire to start a family of their own. It feels like a real sacrifice to go home and be a stay at home mom after all that time spent in pursuing what the world told them was right all along. Not saying this pursuit was right or that it really is a sacrifice in every scenario but that this is a real struggle women face. Of course there is a lot of nuance to every story but again I would use a scale- how much does this victim mentality actually play a part of the blog and how much is actually grappling with this massive shift in worldview that women are often faced with?

Yes, yes, yes, and more yes.

I replied:

Even for those who planned for motherhood instead of a career…a lot of bloggers and writers are grappling with a lot of emotions…also learning to parent in general, but as well as this first generation of moms in the digital age, there’s no manual for this! I found mom life to be much harder than I expected and a lot of posts I wrote as a brand new mom in my young 20’s fell into this victim mentality, but it was all part of what led me to the more mature place I am now.

Laura’s husband gave me more to think about:

The ends don’t justify the means. If someone is writing from a culture-or-Christ torn mind, it’s not going to benefit the reader unless the conclusion falls in line with scripture. If through one’s writing, they eventually realize that they’ve been wrong, how do they undo the damage done to their readers? The problem is almost unavoidable, though, because you can’t expect an immature believer to act maturely. The only influence we can have is to downplay what is anti-scripture and offer truth until their mind changes. When our brothers/sisters in Christ err, a duty to correct them [in love] falls on us. I don’t think it’s especially helpful to throw all blogs under the bus, and it would be more productive for the discussion if actual blogs were mentioned as a way to be definitive in your opinions.

So then, what do I do with 11 1/2 years on my very “actual” blog? Do I go back over every post with a fine-tooth comb looking for theological errors? I know they weren’t talking about me, but these comments resonated deep within me and raised more questions than answers.

And then a month later I was approached about sharing my blog as a ministry with the local church.



I squeeze through the crowded, noisy Gathering Room of our local church, eyeing the displays on the outskirts. It’s always so loud, sometimes it’s hard to hear the person next to you. I both revel in the fellowship and breathe a sigh of relief when I escape the sensory overload and pick a seat in the quieter sanctuary.

Throughout the morning my thoughts keep racing about what my display would look like. How do I put an 11 1/2 year messy digital ministry on a poster-board or squeeze it into a 5-minute presentation? I start jotting notes in one of my many spiral journals in blue and purple fine-tipped Sharpies, in between working on my latest scripture coloring project. This particular journal has my blog’s theme verse on the cover. “He has made everything beautiful in [his] time.”

“engaging the culture” is a note to remind me about the content of the Adult Bible Fellowship we had experienced the hour before.

The moment you open your mouth, many things—your cadence, accent, vocabulary, illustrations and ways of reasoning, and the way you express emotions—make you culturally more accessible to some people and force others to stretch and work harder to understand or even pay attention to you. No one can present a culture-free formulation of biblical truth.

– Tim Keller in his book Preaching

As I mentioned in this class, we all are apart of many subcultures within our greater American culture. Mommy blogs and social media accounts are, in fact, their very own subculture. How am I engaging this subculture for Biblical truth and sharing of the gospel? Am I doing this right?

Just below “engaging the culture” are the words “sit down and bleed,” a reminder of this quote:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

{Quote possible attributed to Ernest Hemingway}

What you have in this space is 11 1/2 years of bleeding all over laptop keys, my friends.

Below that is a note about an article my pastor referenced in a message months ago called “Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?

Tish Harrison Warren lit up the internet with an essay from Christianity Today when she asked this question: 

“Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?”

In her piece, Warren addressed “a crisis of authority” and the cult of celebrity it has wrought resulting from so much de facto discipleship on social media rather than in the church. 

I further read the article in full:

The rise of the blogosphere in the early 2000s yielded the genre of the “spiritual blogger.” From the comfort of their living rooms, lay people suddenly became household names, wielding influence over tens of thousands of followers. A new kind of Christian celebrity—and authority—was born: the speaker and author who comes to us (often virtually) as a seemingly autonomous voice, disembedded from any larger institution or ecclesial structure.

In this new cyber age, authority comes not from the church or the academic guild but from popularity. Hits on a viral post lead to book deals, which lead to taking the conference stage. Winsome, relatable writing, good storytelling, and compelling life experiences are often as crucial to audience size—and therefore to authority—as theological teaching, presuppositions, or argument. Christian bloggers and conference speakers have become a sort of cyber-age equivalent to megachurch pastors, garnering huge followings based on a cult of personality and holding extensive power and influence, yet often lacking any accountability to formal structures of church governance.

In the vacuum created by a lack of women’s voices in the church, Christian female bloggers became national leaders who largely operate outside of any denominational or institutional structure.

The broader church has a responsibility to provide formal support and accountability to teachers, leaders, and writers—whether male or female. If we don’t respond to this current crisis of authority institutionally, we are allowing Christian doctrine to be highjacked by whomever has the loudest voice or biggest platform.

We need teachers and writers who can break our hearts with beauty and who also do the hard work of biblical interpretation, of learning the doctrines and history of the church, and of speaking clearly out of a tradition that they name and know. As Christian women, all of us can embrace writing and teaching that is relevant, compelling, and down to earth, and also ask that our leaders—both male and female—embrace theological study, intellectual rigor, and church hierarchy and accountability.

And I’d like to submit to my fellow female writers and teachers, in particular, that part of our responsibility as Christian leaders is to take on the burden, the joy, and the accountability of being deeply rooted in the church—not only privately and personally, but publicly and institutionally. If we are to help build not just a personal brand but a beautiful, faithful church for generations of women (and men) to come, we must work to strengthen and shape institutions larger than ourselves and submit ourselves to the authority and oversight of Christ’s church, even as we are honest about its frailty and faults.

When I read these words I felt like I had been sucker-punched in the gut with truth. How do I operate within the authority of God, my husband, and the local church in regard to my blog and its ministry? Is it an extension of the local church? If so, to what extent? Have I made errors in this regard? 


My pastor’s message yesterday starts to provide a bit of clarity as he talks about the eternal hope we have in Christ and how it can impact our daily lives in all their hardships.

Hope – that is what we have to offer. You can’t share what you don’t have.

– Rich Powell, 3/1/20

My husband takes my boys to grandma’s for the afternoon, and Pastors words continue to resonate with me until I’m pouring over my blog archives to recenter myself on my blog’s mission:

I’ve had people ask me why. What is your purpose? What do you hope to accomplish by writing so vulnerably?

For me, the answer was never more clearly answered than when my husband wrote this about me:

“She doesn’t hide her mistakes. Instead she pretty much broadcasts them for the sake of giving hope…”

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” C.S. Lewis

I am convinced that one of the devil’s most powerful lies is the lie that we are totally alone in our struggles, our hurts, and our sins. And I believe it is in the breaking of that lie that he loses his power and the hope of Christ can shine through.

I’m not the best encourager, the best advice-giver, or the best problem-fixer. But what I can do for hurting, messy people is show them that they are not alone.

I want that person, whether she be a regular reader or a random Google searcher, to leave here saying, “Wow, I thought I was the only one. But now I know I’m not. And if Aprille can find hope and beauty in Jesus in the midst of that, then maybe I can too.” 

On Writing Vulnerably ~ Part 2: The Motivation, December 13, 2013 (portions)

After pasting more portions of my own writing into the ever-growing Google Doc, I ended up digging through my Google Analytics.

Now, before your eyes glaze over…stay with me here.

In years past I spent an unhealthy and considerable amount of time analyzing my blog stats. I don’t do this so much anymore, but one area I found immensely helpful was reviewing Google search terms or queries that led them to my site.

Explained more simply, when a person ends up reading my blog because it came up in a Google search result, what did they type in the search bar?

Some of my top content has been written directly in response to these terms:

(You can view even more terms that desperate moms search on Google in this video.)

I was yet again astounded and humbled at the very real search terms typed into the search bar by very real, hurting people that Google has sent me (just over the last three months):

  • adhd medication success stories
  • ritalin success stories
  • introvert wife
  • accepting god’s grace
  • extrovert husband introvert wife
  • healing from legalism
  • too tired to play with baby
  • songs about marriage struggles
  • too tired to take care of baby
  • how to accept god’s grace
  • songs about fixing a broken marriage
  • too tired to play with my child
  • advice for an introvert married to an extrovert
  • spiritual abuse ptsd
  • too tired to be a good mom
  • difficulty accepting god’s grace
  • songs about hard marriage
  • songs about staying together through hard times
  • introvert marriage problems
  • songs about struggling marriage
  • songs about saving a marriage
  • songs about failing marriage
  • what the grace of god can do
  • exhausted mom of 6 month old
  • recovering from fundamentalism christianity
  • introverts and marriage
  • deployment encouragement
  • leaving fundamentalist christianity
Who is in ministry? I AM.

I’ve offered a lot of questions here, and – just being honest here – I don’t have the answers to most of them.

So when you see my display at church or hear my Living Picture in a few weeks, please understand that I am not holding myself up as some great writer with an epic ministry in which I share 100% gospel truth 100% of the time. I can’t even guarantee that my own motives are always where they should be.

I’m just a mom with a blog. I can guarantee that most of my posts were written on my couch…where I sat in my pajamas, wrapped up in a fleece blanket, with a cold cup of coffee on the coffee table next to me.

I can guarantee that I’ve written things on my blog and social media accounts that probably should have gone left unsaid.

I can guarantee that there are things in my archives I’ve written out of sorrow, anger, bitterness, depression, and hopelessness.

I can guarantee that there are times I’ve put my blog before my family and my online community before my marriage.

I can guarantee that there are times I’ve focused too much on my platform and not enough on the gospel.

I can guarantee that, being the imperfect human that I am, I will probably do all of these things again. And I think that’s the part that scares me the most. Because if this space is an extension of the local church (because, if I am in ministry, it follows)…then this space should be a reflection of the beauty of the local church. Because, as Pastor Rich says, “When the church is being the church, she is beautiful.”

As I have grappled with this reality over the past week, the following quote that I “memed” way back in 2016 has been tumbling around in my brain:

What does a “mommy blog” have to do with local church ministry? I was approached about sharing my blog as a ministry with my local church. The idea of my blog being a ministry of the local church is scary. #blogging #blogger #blog #church #ministry #missions #momlife #bloggerlife
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Our Grace on Mission: Ministry Expo portion of the conference has this as its stated purpose:

The purpose of these presentations is to make us aware of the various ways our members are ministering to the FRAN in their lives. We encourage you to engage the presenters during the fellowship time between services.

There may be an opportunity for you to plug in with their ministry in different ways. 

Once again, I find myself searching for what this means for a mom in her pajamas bleeding all over her laptop keys trying to make a difference in her own little corner of the internet.

Below are some suggestions of how people in my local church can participate in this ministry alongside me:

Get to know me through my blog. Come talk to me.

I am cringing as I write this because I feel it sounds so self-promotional. But on Sundays you will either find me wrangling my two hooligans or playing the piano, and I’m not going to be as fully engaged in being as vulnerable with you as I am in this space.

I recently joked with a friend that, “When I meet someone new, I want to just tell them, ‘go spend a few hours reading my life story on my blog and then come talk to me and we can be friends!'” And it’s pretty much true. While I’m an introvert, I love to talk with people. I will probably be awkward and fumble over my words because I’m far more eloquent hiding behind my laptop than I am in person. I’m just not a small-talk person, and I like to go deep.

I know you don’t have 11 1/2 years to spend on this project or even maybe an hour, but if you do have some free time, click on the “Start Here!” part of the menu at the top of your screen (or the “Menu” drop-down if you are on a mobile device). Or, start out by picking a topic that’s close to your heart by using the Categories dropdown menu in the footer.

I hope that if you do read even parts of my story, we can talk about it further and maybe I can encourage you in your faith. Although, it’s probably far more likely that you will encourage me in mine.

Follow my social media accounts.

One of the key agents of growth for this ministry was a decision I made in 2016 and 2017 to segment my social media presence into four separate Facebook pages. I felt that, while my “big” topic categories like marriage, motherhood, special needs, faith, and mental health intersect in MY life – they may not intersect in others. I wanted people to be able to follow the parts of my life story that are parallel to their own without being overwhelmed with details about things that are less related to their own story.

While there is some content that I share across all four pages, most of the content on each page is unique to its stated topic.

Subscribe via email

If social media isn’t your thing and/or you don’t want to clutter your news feed, another option is to subscribe to receive posts via email. You will only get emails when new posts are added (which is fairly infrequently these days), and you further have the option to select which categories of posts you want to receive.

React. Comment. Share.

As I primarily use Facebook to share my blog’s content, I am very much at the mercy of the ever-elusive Facebook News Feed Algorithm. What this means is that while I have 40K “fans” I potentially can reach, Facebook only shows about my content to about 5% of them. Any time you interact with something I’ve posted on one of the above pages (be it a “reaction” such as a “like” or a “love,” a comment, or a share), that percentage goes up.

Pray for me.

I want this space to be part of the “outflow” of my relationship with God. Furthermore, I want this space to be an “outflow” of my engagement within the local church…part of that “culture of discipleship” we say is our passion. “For there to be an outflow, there must be an inflow.”

This is still a huge struggle for me (which you can read about here and here and here). Pray for me that I can find both the time and emotional resources to really immerse myself in God’s Word and connect more deeply with the local church.

Also pray that I submit to His leading regarding content creation – that I say what needs to be said and keep my mouth (and laptop keys) silent when they need to be silent.

Call me out when I’m wrong. Pray that I can respond with grace when I get mean comments or constructive and needed criticism.

Pray that I can “take on the burden, the joy, and the accountability of being deeply rooted in the church—not only privately and personally, but publicly and institutionally.”

Above all, pray that I never stop seeking God’s beauty in my mess.

Wanting others to know and have what we know and have by grace, live the gospel with boldness keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus Christ.

– Rich Powell, 3/1/20

Further reading on the role of my blog in ministry within both the global and local church:


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