Earlier this week, Kent Shaffer over at ChurchRelevance.com released his latest ranking of the top 200 ministry blogs. The list reflects many of the changes we have seen over the past few years across the broad evangelical spectrum.
Here are a few observations I made while scanning the list:
Women are becoming more prevalent in blogging
Something many observers have noted in the past was the absence of women-authored blogs. It became such a talking point that Kent added a note about it in the FAQ at the bottom of the list. However, this year's list includes more women than any list previously published. This is a good thing. There are several women joining the conversation online with unique perspectives on biblical issues. I try to encourage this through my Thursday is for Thinkers series here on the blog. There are some very smart, biblical, engaging women bloggers, and we would do well to read more of them.
Reformed Theology continues to dominate blogging
Depending on how you define "reformed," as much as 70% or more of the top 30 blogs could be considered reformed or reformed-leaning theologically. Kent's list began in 2009, and even in that first list there was a distinct reformed flavor. However that has only increased over the past four years. I suspect had there been a list in the mid-2000s, there would have been more of an emergent church flavor to the list. As the emergent movement's influence has waned, so has its online presence. If the current YRR movement were to slow, it would likely be reflected in future editions of this list as well.
"Blog Malls" and Group Blogs are more popular than ever
Bloggers for Patheos and The Gospel Coalition dominate the top 200 rankings. Most of the TGC sites fall within the top 40 while the Patheos blogs range from 8th (Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog) through the remainder of the list. These large conglomerated sites and other group blogs benefit their writers by providing more exposure for the authors than they would likely gain individually. It is something I have explored and may even move to one day myself. But those details are for another day.
Several "big-name" authors and pastors have disappeared from the list over the years
Looking back over previous iterations of this list, some names stick out as missing today. Some have stopped blogging, and others (like Michael Hyatt) simply don't fall in the "ministry blog" category. And a few have just lost influence over time and their absence reflects that. Some names I noticed that were missing (for various reasons) from previous lists: Cathy Lynn Grosman, Steven Furtick, Don Miller, Anne Jackson, Pete Wilson, Ed Young Jr., and Dan Kimball.
I appreciate Kent for managing this list. He gets a lot of undeserved (and sometimes irrational) grief for these rankings. Are they perfect? No, and he admits to that. But they are fair and rely on facts for the rankings. And as well all know, facts are our friends.
Go take a look at the complete list then come back here and let me know your thoughts. Who is missing? Who did you think was ranked too high? Too low? Share in the comments below.