If Kent Shaffer’s list of influential church bloggers went to 225, I would be golden.
But alas, it only goes to 200. So instead I’m just one of the faceless, unwashed masses.
I hate lists. It can be so easy to get caught up in who is in and who is out and the successes and failures of those who are “above” and “below” us. We tally up the numbers and figure out our ranking. She’s better than me. I’m better than him. This person shouldn’t be on the list. That person got completely screwed over by the list.
Influence is such an odd thing. The most influential female writer on Kent’s list was Rachel Held Evans. I found her blog by way of my best friend Tina about four years ago, before her first book was out. Rachel wrote about things that resonated deeply with me in a way that I wasn’t able to articulate. She wrote brave and beautiful words. At a time when I was questioning everything I believed, she was able to provide a safe place for those questions.
She wasn’t a huge blogger at that point. She wasn’t on lists. She wasn’t on the front cover of Christianity Today. She wasn’t even 30. But she wrote out things that I needed to read. And those words were instrumental in saving my faith.
On Thursday night at Story, a group of nearly 30 of us got together for dinner and drinks. Some of the people there were on Kent’s list of influential bloggers. And some of the folks probably weren’t in the list of 330 blogs that were evaluated. But when we went around the tables and everyone shared who they were and where they wrote, we clapped. And we clapped just as loud for the small blogs as we did for the big blogs. We even clapped for the dot net blogs. Regardless of status, everyone was cheered on in what they were doing. It was, by far, my favorite moment of the entire conference.
The truth is, Rachel’s blog is influential. Scot McKnight’s blog is influential. David Hayward’s blog is influential. All of those top 200 writers have things that connect with an audience and shape opinions. And because they have larger platforms, they are able to shape more opinions. That’s okay. I like seeing people who I admire being honored for the hard work that they have done.
But please don’t think that you need to be on a list to be influential. Here’s the list of things that I appreciate about bloggers who have influenced me:
- They show up. You can’t influence if you’re not around.
- They share their heart. Your story is good enough. Really.
- They talk with people rather than at them. We’re talked at all day. Conversations are nice.
- They don’t take themselves too seriously. We’re all nerds. We’re bloggers, for heaven’s sake. Get over yourself.
You don’t have to be on any lists to do those things. You don’t have to have thousands of readers or hundreds of subscribers or a good Alexa score. If you write, you can influence.
Though I think you should all petition Kent to extend his list to 225.