Do you have some creative, practical, encouraging ideas about small church ministry? If you can write about them in a clear, concise manner, CTPastors might want to publish an article from you.
For the first time ever, ChristianityToday.com has a section entirely devoted to small church ministry! And they’re looking for great content from pastors like you.
If you’re interested, here are some ideas about how to get started.
How to Submit Your Idea
Don’t send an entire article. Send a title and a paragraph or two describing your idea and how you plan to develop it.
Even if you’ve already written the article, just send in the summary (called a “pitch”). They get too many submissions to read entire articles until they know what they’re getting.
Add a couple sentences about you and your ministry, so they know why you’re qualified to write on this topic.
How to Write a Pitch
Here’s an idea of what a successful pitch might look like:
Title: Running an Effective Internship Ministry – In Any Size Church
Description: I plan to write a 900-1,200 word article about the value of small church internships. It will include practical principles for finding that elusive first intern, plus 10 principles for running a successful internship ministry. I especially want to emphasize that the best reason to start an internship ministry is not for the free labor, but because the church wants to invest in the next generation of ministers.
About the author: I pastor a small church (approx. 150 in attendance) in California. We have run a successful internship ministry for 13 years, helping prepare and send over 100 interns into the ministry.
Once you have your title, pitch and short bio written, send it to the small church section editor, Kyle Rohane, at krohane@christianitytoday.
Feel free to link to the CT “Writer’s Guidelines” page for more info on writing your pitch.
How to Write Your Article
If your idea gets approved, here are some guidelines to help you write an article that fellow pastors will want to read, and editors will want to publish. (In addition to making sure your idea is biblically sound and covered in prayer.)
Write with Church Leaders In Mind
The small church section is a division of CTPastors, so the readership is church leaders. Write for them, not for the general market.
Get to the Point
Stay away from cute titles (the editors will likely tweak or change it, anyway). And don’t start your post by telling a long tale about where you were sitting one day when this idea came to mind. Instead, follow this simple template:
- Write a title that tells readers exactly what the post is about
- Tell them the main point of the post in the first paragraph
- Write the post with as little fluff as possible
- Then stop
Speak from Your Area of Expertise
If you’ve been able to turn a dying church around, tell us. Planted a successful church or ministry? Tell us.
Haven’t done either of those, but think you know how to do it anyway? Don’t tell us.
And yes, you do have an area of expertise. For years I wanted to write books and articles to help other pastors, but I didn’t have one of those ‘our church grew from 30 to 3,000 in three years’ stories.
But I did have something. I pastored a dying church out of a long, downward trajectory to become healthy, strong and have an impact way beyond our size.
It turns out I know what it means to pastor a healthy small church. So that’s what I write about.
Offer Practical Ministry Ideas
What have you or your church done that others might benefit from? You might be surprised at how much you know - and how much it can help others.
Have you adapted your facility in an innovative way? Do you have some favorite ministry apps you use? Tell us about your experience and expertise in a way that others can learn from.
Speak with Your Own Voice
You know that great story you got on the internet and used in last Sunday’s message? Don’t write about that. It may have been new to your congregation, but pastors have seen it already. We probably used it last Sunday, too.
Instead, tell us what you’re thinking, feeling and doing successfully. We want to hear from you and your experience.
Break It Up Into Short Paragraphs Or Bullet Points
People don’t read online articles like they read books. They want to scan it first, then they’ll read it if the scan goes well. If it’s not scanable, they’ll click to the next one.
That's why so many online articles have bullet points and lists.
The points don’t have to be as short as the ones in this article, but most paragraphs shouldn’t be any longer than three sentences.
Have Someone Check Your Grammar and Spelling
If your spelling and grammar are bad, it doesn’t matter how great your idea is. No one, including the editors, will read past the first paragraph.
Even if your grammar and spelling are generally good, it's hard to see our own mistakes, so send it to a friend before you send it to CT.
Cite Your Sources
When you do use material from elsewhere, like stats, news and so on, be sure to cite and link to your source.
Plagiarism is a serious offense. One of the fastest ways to make sure editors never want to publish you is to be known as a plagiarizer.
It’s Okay to Be Challenging, But Don’t Scold or Be Combative
We want to unite, not divide.
Sure, there’s a place and a need in the church for polemics. But that’s not what the small church section is for.
Write to encourage and resource your fellow small church leaders.
If you have an opinion or idea that challenges the status quo, that’s great! Just present it in a way that elevates the conversation instead of debasing it.
Give Readers a Positive Takeaway
The best blog posts, like the best sermons, don’t just teach us, they drive us toward action.
Don’t just give readers information. We can find that anywhere. Give us ideas and action steps that we can implement in our own ministry and life.
Read Other Online Church Leadership Articles
If you’re not sure how writing articles for the internet is different than other forms of communication, become a regular reader of well-written church leadership blogs. After a while, you’ll understand how the online conversation works and how you can jump in.
I’m looking forward to welcoming you as a fellow CT contributor!
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