Friday, January 26, 2018

Why My Borders Need to Expand


Six months or more ago, I viewed my blog analytics and realized my "audience" included a smaller age range than I intended. Where were the younger people? I was neck-deep in caring for Sam and writing the Caregiver Chronicles, so I assumed my blog posts might not be pertinent to 30-something's, but the problem gnawed at me.

I looked at my website one day and realized it was terrific for a woman of a certain age, but it wasn't a modern website, nor one that might catch the eye of a younger reader. I talked to a mid-twenties colleague and asked for suggestions. 

"You need to update your site," he told me, so I did. The "new" design looked much better, to my way of thinking. I grabbed my laptop and hurried down the hall to show my young friend. 

"What do you think?" I asked him.

"Do you want me to be honest?" 

"Yeah. I really do."

"Okay. It looks great. For a 1990's site. Let me show you what websites can look like now." With a few clicks, he opened up a new world of technology and design. 

"Can you make something like this for me?" I asked him, dizzied by the possibilities.

"Yep."

I hired him on the spot. It's taken a while, but the new website is finally in the process of "migration." I'm not really sure what that entails, but it's somehow moving from the old site to the new one. The domain's the same, leannahollis.com, so I don't know why this takes so long, but it does.

The new website's been a lot of work and has required a lot of thought. There's been expense, too, for the new site, the new hosting service, new software to allow me to work more efficiently and with greater skill. The blogging course to help me "up my game" wasn't free, and it's taking quite a bit of time to work through.

Why all this effort? My objective in the blog is not to have a cool bit of technology or capture millions of views, although I'd like to have both. The goal of this blog is to demonstrate the life of a disciple by sharing the stories of my faith and God at work in my life. If I can expand my audience with sharper technology, if I can draw younger people to a life of faith lived out loud, my words can help expand the Kingdom of God, change lives, and make a difference in the world around me.

This morning, I read Mark 1 and the words confirmed the importance of what I'm trying to do. Jesus was in Capernaum. He'd taught in the synagogue that morning, then healed Peter's mother-in-law. The news spread like wildfire through the little town. After sundown, the "whole city" came to His door. 

They'd heard about the miracle of healing and wanted Jesus to do a miracle for them, and He did. He healed the sick, cast out demons, and loved the people who came. 

Just after dawn, Jesus slipped away to a quiet place to pray. Before long, His disciples found Him. (Leanna paraphrase coming up.) "Hey, Jesus, everyone's looking for you."

"I know. But we need to move on to a different town."

"What? You're an overnight sensation. Everybody wants to see you!"

"I didn't come here to be an overnight sensation. We need to move to another town so I can preach the good news. That's the reason I came."

There were sick people who wanted to be healed. Jesus cared about their illnesses, but He cared about their sin-sickness even more. Preaching, sharing the good news, was His priority. He chose to move along in order to accomplish that goal.

Therein is the reason for the new website. If sharing the Good News of Jesus is my priority, I need to continue to move in a direction that allows me to share with all who will listen (or read). If I can widen my technological borders, it's important to do so.

This is Great Commission work, and one to which we're all called. Share Jesus with all who will listen, as effectively as possible, wherever we are. For me, that includes time in the digital space. 

Today, let's spend a few moments considering our own witness. How effectively are we communicating the love of Jesus and His soul-saving power? Are we living out the Great Commission in our slice of the world? Do we need to "up our game" to widen our own personal audience? 

The Great Commission is not a suggestion. It's an assignment. Let's be sure we're doing our part.

"And He said to them, 'Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.'" Mark 1:38 nasb
_______________

In case you missed it, here's the most recent post: The Walk Down Memory Lane that Filled Me with Joy