I started doing this in January 2009. That’s close to four years of blogging and well over a thousand posts. I didn’t know what I was doing when I started. I never really thought I would be blogging four years later. I certainly never imagined my readership would increase like it has or that I would end up taking hours each week to keep the blog going.

To tell you the truth, I have a love-hate relationship with blogging. There are weeks when I hate the time commitment. I usually write a week’s worth of blog posts on Monday. It’s a serious investment. It’s not like I’m pining for more responsibilities or more due dates in my life. I also dislike the controversy that comes with blogging, whether it’s necessary controversy or a result of excessively critical comments and nasty trolls. And then there are the times I post something too quickly, too sloppily, or too harshly. That’s when I hate blogging the most, when I make a mistake or say something that proves inaccurate or unwise.

But then there is the other side of blogging. Whenever I’ve thought about hanging up my blogging boots, every person I ask tries to persuade me that the effort is worthwhile. When I travel and meet new people they often tell me “I read your blog all the time” (and more often than not they mention Monday Morning Humor). It seems that my time is not spent in vain (though I’m proud enough to wish they mentioned my preaching instead of my blogging). I’m thankful that years of plodding along in the blogosphere gave me the platform to write a review of Love Wins and allows me to weigh on current events, books, or controversies. I’m thankful for Collin Hansen and Ben Peays and John Starke and all the folks at TGC for giving me a home. I’m thankful for Justin Taylor; without his links in the early days my blog would have never gotten off the ground. I’m thankful for everyone who reads, especially those who have taken the time to say so. Most of all, I’m thankful I can do something I (usually) love. I enjoy all the reading, thinking, and writing that goes into blogging. Hopefully it honors Christ and opens up the Word of God.

All of this is by way of preface. For several months I’ve been thinking, praying, and talking to others about how to make my blogging habits more sustainable. Unless you are a regular blogger, it’s hard to understand how much time and effort it takes to keep a blog going. I don’t say that to complain; it’s a privilege to write and be read. But I’ve realized over the past six months or more that if I want to continue blogging into the future, I need to change the way I do some things. I have five kids, a growing church, books I’d like to write, places I’m supposed to go to, and a number of outside organizations, committees, and projects I’m a part of. How does blogging fit in to all that? I struggle to keep up with my blog on most weeks, but especially when I’m traveling, when I’m working on a book, when I’m on study leave, or when I’m on vacation (and actually want to be on vacation!).

I’ve toyed around with a number of ideas, everything from making the blog a team endeavor to stopping altogether. Here’s what I’ve come up with instead. It’s not drastic, but these small changes should help me, and hopefully they will only make the blog better for you.

  • I will continue to do Monday Morning Humor (first things first!).
  • I will continue to (almost) always take Sunday off. In general I will take Saturday off as well.
  • I’d like to write 1-2 substantive pieces a week. Working on these will be my priority. With all the noise and tweets and blogs and commentary out there, I figure quality is more important than quantity. It seems better for me and more useful for the kingdom to write one truly important piece as opposed to filling up space with four immediately forgotten entries.
  • As a new feature, I’m going to try posting a sermon excerpt most weeks. With the help of some friends from my church, I’ll pick a brief short segment from my sermon, post the transcript, and link to the short clip (and the sermon itself). The goal is not to push my own stuff, but to use content I’ve already produced and put it on the blog in a digestible way.
  • With any days left during the week I may post a quotation I come across in my reading, jot down some thoughts that are dying to get out, or simply do nothing at all.
  • I’ll continue to use Jason Helopoulos and other members of our church staff to spot-blog on occasion. They do a terrific job.
  • Finally, one of the biggest burdens of blogging is the feeling that you never get a break. I preach over 40 Sunday a year. That’s a lot, but I can easily build in breaks. I can take four weeks off in the summer and not have to think about sermons for a month. But up to this point, I’ve not done that well with blogging. Instead, I’ve kept on blogging during overseas trips and study leaves, or I’ve worked ahead to keep the posts coming over holidays and vacation. For everyone not named Tim Challies, this feels like an unsustainable pattern. That doesn’t mean I’ll disappear from the blog 10 weeks a year. But it does mean there will be more times when I take a week or two off and tap my gifted friends to fill in. It may mean that the blog goes silent for a week every once in awhile. There are worse things in the world than having one less blog to check for a few days.

I hope these small but important changes don’t feel like I’m backing away from blogging. To me they feel like big steps toward making the enterprise more worthwhile, more enjoyable, and more long-term. I write too much as it is. Few people can keep up with multiple blog posts over 1000 words. Few people have read this whole post word for word. The world isn’t clamoring for more information. And, if truth be told, they aren’t clamoring for more of Kevin DeYoung. The biggest obstacles to making these necessary changes have, no doubt, come from myself. I need to trust my readers won’t curse my name if they show up on a Wednesday and find the same post from Tuesday. I need to be okay with staying silent more often. I need be fine with others entering the fray in my place.

The global Church is a big body and I’m just a little pinky finger. It will be okay if this little finger pounds out fewer blogs each year. Everything will be just fine, and the pinky may even do some better work.

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Comments:


44 thoughts on “Blogging for a Sustainable Future”

  1. Annita says:

    I appreciate the time and thought that goes into your blogging because I really enjoy it (and I do read every word). I am looking forward to your sermon quotes and links. Your priority list is admirable and wise. May God bless you, your family and your work to His glory.

  2. Adam Ford says:

    I think this is the right track. Some of the best blogs out there only post 1-2 times per week.

    Thanks for what you do.

    Adam

  3. Terry says:

    I am always looking forward to reading your posts—and I read this one word-for-word all the way through. Thanks for continuing to blog!

  4. Mark says:

    Continued wisdom and thoughtful discernment from your posts…this one included–look forward to the changes and wish you well in sustaining for the benefit of your family, your readers, and the Kingdom.

  5. Thanks – have really benefited from your posts this year. Much humble insight.

    Quality rather than quantity and a sustainable future sound good!

    Because I read you through Google Reader (and I imagine many others do too, or through something similar?) it doesn’t bother me if you don’t post for a while…they simple show up in my feed when you do, and I don’t get any frustration of checking a webpage to find nothing new. So don’t worry about that, at least from my perspective. God bless.

  6. Judy G says:

    Your blog is the first one I read every day after my devotion time, Kevin! And usually the only one I read on a consistent basis. As a mom of four who DOESN’T blog, I have actually often wondered how on earth you find the time to do this every day along with all that you do. :) I will continue to enjoy whatever you share, and am thankful for your wisdom and insight and perspective on so many topics! God bless you and your family!

  7. Dorothy says:

    I agree with the reader above. I get your blog in Google reader and when it’s there I read it (all!) and when it’s not, I don’t worry about it. So do what is best for you and your family. Saying that, you bring a wisdom and refreshing honesty to the table that is wonderful to read. You are definitely offering value and not just filler in all the clamor of voices that are out there. I appreciate your blog so much – thank you! To God be the glory.

  8. Cristiano says:

    Blogging was always an activity that helped me a lot: by writing, I can stop a while a think more deep about things I like to do, I enjoy, and especially about God, His Word and Work; if I put all of it in the Internet and help others along the way, for the glory of God, well, that’s really good.

    Since I began, I had this “internal rule”: only make post when you really have something to blog about. Curiously, this means the average rate of 3 posts/month, but this is just coincidence. And sometimes I have my “silence periods”, when I simply don’t want to say nothing.

    There are also people who read me and encorage me to keep going, and this is really nice. It’s good to see that you’re able to help people on subjects that are not well discussed enough, especially in our christian community. But you’re right: it demands time, and we have to find some balance.

    Your work on this blog was always really important to me, and I’ve already said, it’s very good to see your books being translated to Portuguese in Brazil: I can say for sure that many people thank God for you here. Whenever I cite you in my own blog, or recommend one of your works, many people read and comment about it. May God continue to bless you always.

  9. Brian says:

    Kevin –

    I think the idea of blogging with portions of your sermon is a fantastic idea. It will be good stuff, takes little preparation, but most importantly will be a great opportunity for your church members to dwell and chew on the sermon a second time around. Some things have more flavor as leftovers.

    Thanks for continuing to serve the greater church in this way.

  10. Brian says:

    Kevin –

    I think the idea of blogging with portions of your sermon is a fantastic idea. It will be good stuff, takes little additional preparation, but most importantly will be a great opportunity for your church members to dwell and chew on the sermon a second time around. Some things have more flavor as leftovers.

    Thanks for continuing to serve the greater church in this way.

  11. Jason Norbo says:

    It sounds to me like a wise decision! I just started reading your blogs and I enjoy them. I also have 3 kids (with another due in December :) ) so I know how busy and enjoyable that can be. Thanks for your service to the Lord and your thoughtfull blog. Your updated cover pic on Facebook is great!
    One other thing, I think you are going to be at the basics conference next year at Parkside with Alistair Begg. I look forward to having the chance to hear you and meet you in person. Take care and don’t overwork the pinky, it needs rest too!

  12. zKatherine says:

    Looking forward to your sermon excerpts! I’m thankful for your voice on the web, whenever you have time to share.

  13. Chuck says:

    I have never understood the need for “guest bloggers,” or for that matter, the need to have a daily posting of material, conceding that there may be some who would suggest that by missing a day you lose readers. My rebuttal to that is, good material will keep readers coming back for more, whether there are 7 posts per week, or some number less than that. And, if you are concerned about losing readers by “going dark” for a day or two, simply publish a post with a comment to the effect of “I’ll be back on Thursday”. No offense intended (and I have read from top to bottom some of your guest bloggers in the past and they are okay), when I visit your blog, I come to read DeYoung, not someone else.

  14. Derek says:

    This sounds very wise. I’ve read this blog nearly every day for two years, and I deeply appreciate the work you do. Thanks for all your work!

  15. malin says:

    Kevin-

    As McDonald’s use to day, “you deserve a break today!” I always find the blog to be informative, theologically sound, measured, and funny. I’ll keep reading.

    Malin

  16. LoisW says:

    Thanks for modeling a thoughtful approach to managing many demands on your time, and for communicating that process to us in such detail.

    I would second the above comment about not needing to fill in the blog space with guest bloggers. Let the absence of a new post be a reminder to pray for the blogger, Kevin DeYoung.

    One of the aspects of your blog that I most value is your willingness to take on big issues, and so evoke lengthy discussion. Those discussions, while occasionally lacking in charity, often are helpful, as members of the body of Christ share their thoughts.

  17. Colin says:

    Your posts/sermons/books/book reviews are some of the richest and deepest spiritual blessings for me.

  18. Davy says:

    My dear brother, You are falling into the trap of the last days… Please heed the warning of Apostle Paul.

    Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
    24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
    25 Not forsaking daily blogging, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    I look forward to seeing a new blog every day including most Sundays…

    Davy

  19. Wesley says:

    Well, aside from Davy here, i think the general consensus here is you’re making a good and wise choice here. We all appreciate your efforts here and believe they have been used for the Kingdom of God. Also look forward to seeing some of your sermon clips/reflections as well. I know you’re efforts for the kingdom will not slow, just b/c you don’t have a blog post every day ;)
    God’s peace bro.

  20. Davy says:

    No hate… Just joking of course…

    Davy

  21. I’ve always enjoyed longer well-written posts over bite-sized 140 character fragments of thought. You’re no exception, Mr. DeYoung. Thanks for your insights. Over here in Denmark, we appreciate every word.

    And for the record, I read them all.;-)

  22. Tony Chapman says:

    We ponder ” Does this change mean that Kevin has become less Deyoung, restless, or reformed?”.

    Shalom,
    tony

  23. Andrew says:

    I think this makes good sense, Kevin. I’m grateful for your writing, and I admire your desire to be wise with your time and energy.

  24. Erin Pakinas says:

    Thank you for all your work that has gone into your blog over the years. It has been of great benefit to me spiritually. Not only that, but I went to the eye doctor yesterday, and about halfway into it remembered your post on opthalmology and had to explain my guffawing episode to the Dr. Thanks for good thinking and laughter all in one blog, and we will continue to pray for you as you press on in whatever direction God is taking you!

  25. Ben G says:

    Your new direction sounds very wise. I have been tremendously helped by your writing, and I am glad you are taking steps to make it sustainable and enjoyable for you. I appreciate your humor, your wisdom, and your example. May all of us, your readers, learn to seek balance in this way.

    God bless.

  26. Ryan Howard says:

    Thanks! I love Bob Newhart! And the Guy on a Buffalo!……….But even more, thanks for your insight and wisdom in the bold proclamation of the true Gospel.

  27. Kim says:

    Love the prospect of seeing you share excerpts from your sermons!

  28. Noel says:

    Kevin,
    I’ve been following you for quite some time, and I think your blog is awesome. I tend to only comment when I disagree…which is very rare. But your blog feeds me. I give your books to my kids and other people and post your posts on my FB account. As a blogger myself, I have no idea how you keep up the pace. I thought at first you were saying you were going to quit. SO relieved you’re not. Thanks for all you do. And I’ll keep reading!
    Joint heirs,
    Noel

  29. Martin Cramer says:

    If God can be silent for 400 years, though working behind the scenes no doubt, I think it’s ok to take a day or two off. I also agree with Ryan Howard, thanks for the “Guy on a Buffalo.” It brought much joy to many in our household. Thanks for all your contributions in proclaiming the Gopsel. And, thanks to your family for sharing your time and messages with us!

  30. Kevin,

    I am thankful for your commitment to Christ and the insights you have brought to us through your blog posts. Look forward to continue reading and I pray that the Lord will continue to use you for the sake of his name.

  31. Henry says:

    With all the noise and tweets and blogs and commentary out there, I figure quality is more important than quantity. It seems better for me and more useful for the kingdom to write one truly important piece as opposed to filling up space with four immediately forgotten entries.

    Totally Agree! Don’t feel like you have to always be saying something, I’ve very content for you to post only when you have something worthwhile.

  32. Kevin DeYoung says:

    Thanks everyone for all the encouragement. It really means a lot. I will try to keep plugging along with something worth saying.

    And when a week is hard, or the time isn’t there, or the words won’t flow, I’ll just think of that guy on a buffalo.

  33. Eric says:

    Really looking forward to some sermon excerpts.

  34. I check your blog constantly, but as a blogger myself I can completely relate! Even though I don’t have nearly as many responsibilities as you do, I know how it feels. Thanks for taking steps to ensure that the blog will still continue, if somewhat more slowly than before.

  35. John says:

    Pastor DeYoung,

    I really appreciate the time and effort you put into blogging. Your posts help folks where they are: striving for the well-lived, if mostly mundane, ordinary Christian life. Keep up the good work!

    Gadsden, AL.

  36. Tom says:

    Thanks so much Kevin for your honesty and desire to serve Christ better. I am encouraged by your willingness to take a step back and reevaluate. This is a good reminder to all of us that life is short and we all have the same number of hours in the day and should make sure that we are mindful to make the best use of our time.

    Thanks again for your blog and sermons!!

  37. Bob Dodd says:

    I’ve often wondered, along with others, how KDY does it. Writing is HARD, even when there isn’t a shortage of time. Hats off!

  38. Bill N. says:

    Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and etc, are to be our tools not our master. I appreciate your blog and appreciate your thinking through the the need for discipline and a plan to keep your blog from becoming your master. How did the early church get along without blogs and the internet? Blessings….

  39. KB says:

    I got a little nervous when I read your intro–I was like, “NOOO!!! Don’t stop blogging!” Whew, glad you’re going to keep at it. Love your blog, love your books, wish I lived closer and could go to your church too–but I’m looking forward to sermon excerpts. You are a true gift to the body of Christ. Keep up the great work!!!

  40. Traci says:

    Thank you for your posts. We are young in the reformed manner of thinking, and your blog and books are such blessings to us! (And yes, we love Monday Morning Humor!) We recently had a long stint without internet access and your site was one of the first we pulled up to see what there was to read! I can only imagine how much is on your plate! May the Lord continue to bless your family and ministry!

  41. kyle says:

    Kevin,

    I regularly read your blog and while don’t always agree with certain viewpoints am glad to have your perspective on things. People who don’t have a blog probably don’t realize all the intangibles that come with sustaining a blog. There is a constant tug on your being from various directions. Especially the continual thought, “Oh that would be a great post.” And what most people don’t realize is how much time most bloggers spend reading and commenting on other people’s blog. I’ve been blogging just over a year now and love staying up to date on the blogs I follow and having the chance to write myself. I think there are huge benefits in blogging despite the manifold burdens it creates. The Lord told John in Rev 1:11, “What you see write…” That is a big encouragement for bloggers everywhere.

  42. Simon says:

    Kevin greetings from Australia!
    I have your blog bookmarked to my browser toolbar. It is one of a few sites I routinely browse and have done so for a couple of years. I have a high degree of confidence in your writings. It is apparent you have a high view of scripture and like D.A. Carson you have the gift of digesting the word for the body.
    I once asked Carson if he could publish a “recommended reading list” as I trust his discretion. His response was he doesn’t because he cannot account for people’s reading levels. My suggestion was perhaps he could break it into 3 different levels like they do at bethinking.org.
    So if I could humbly make one request – could you occasionally do likewise? Could you perhaps even share some of the blogs ect. you enjoy reading? There are many voices, opinions, books which all which claim authority in issues. I would appreciate your wisdom on such matters and appreciate the book reviews you already do.

    With respect to your blog – I too will gladly take quality over quantity. Blog when you can and don’t sweat it! We’ll still be here so long as God gives us access to the net :)
    Keep up your faithful sevice and may God continue his blessings to you as you serve our Lord Jesus.

  43. Flyaway says:

    Your blogs have been extremely helpful to me. I think you are wise to try to cut back a bit so you don’t burn out. I look forward to more as you are able. I thank God for you!

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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