Shutting This Down, Moving On

I’ve been blogging since I was in roughly the eighth grade. I earned a college scholarship because of a blog I wrote in high school. I blogged throughout college and have read (and managed) dozens of Christian blogs over the years.

Shortly after I arrived at LifeWay in September 2013, I ran into Trevin Wax in the LifeWay cafeteria (which is now a pile of rubble…this is not a metaphor).

I read his blog throughout college, but I didn’t know he worked at LifeWay, so I was confused to see him at my new workplace.

We got to talking and eventually he asked me if I would be interested in him mentoring me as a writer. I obviously said I would be interested, and in the spring of 2014, he told me he saw a need he thought I could fill in the Christian blogosphere.

I never thought I’d be talking to Trevin Wax about where I would fit into the “Christian blogosphere.”

He said he saw a need for older Christian pastors and leaders to better understand the Millennial generation. As he put it, most of the “advice” to pastors about reaching Millennials directed pastors to change their convictions to accommodate the more “liberal” beliefs of young people. I recognized this phenomenon as well, but I wasn’t sure I was the person to offer an alternative.

He proposed the idea of a blog dedicated to helping evangelical church leaders better understand Millennials. I didn’t want to be the “Millennial guy” and definitely didn’t want “Millennial” to be in the masthead of the blog.

Well. Trevin won that battle, obviously.

From the launch of the blog in June 2014 until now, a lot has happened.

I entered a partnership with a radio station in Minneapolis, MN. I still join them twice a month on Friday mornings. I love the radio environment.

I wrote a book after some prodding from friends to try it. I don’t plan to do that again.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak to groups of pastors, parents, and church leaders about Millennials and faith.

It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m thankful the Lord saw fit to give me this season.

On the first post at this blog, I wrote:

When I see a need, I want to fill it if I am able. A friend and I see a need for thoughtful conversation about Millennials in the Christian blogosphere. Countless Gen-Xers and Boomers write often about Millennials and Millennial Evangelicals. Nobody wants to be “the voice of Millennials” because nobody can accurately describe every Millennial all the time, even Millennials themselves.

My goal here is not to be “the voice of Millennials.” But, I thought it would be helpful steward the resources the Lord has given me to help the church understand and reach the Millennial generation: both Evangelical and not.

Every post on this blog will attempt to answer this question: “How does this post help God’s people understand, reach, and/or serve Millennials?”

If you’re looking for scientific research and analysis on Millennials, you might be in the wrong place. If you’re looking for the smartest Millennial on the Internet to share secret inside information on his generation, you’re probably in the wrong place. If you’re looking for a seasoned pastor sharing wisdom from his 30 years of ministry experience, you’re definitely in the wrong place. If you’re looking for an imperfect, but thoughtful, resource to help the church understand, reach, and serve Millennials, you’re in the right place. I claim no scholarly authority when it comes to the Millennial generation. I will likely make mistakes, using broad strokes to paint a picture of a diverse generation.

So, I come before you, the reader, humbly sharing my imperfect observations and personal experiences to help God’s people know and love the largest generation the world has ever seen. As far as I’m concerned, this is not my blog. This is the Church’s blog, and I’m just trying to keep it going. Feel free to send complaints, compliments, or blog ideas via the contact page. Let’s learn together.

I hope this blog has been that for you. But now it’s time to move on.

Why Shut It Down?

I lead the student ministry at our church, and one of the common refrains I hear from students (or others) is, “I don’t have time for _________.”

I used to say this often until sometime in college when someone said, “It’s not that you don’t have time. You make time for what you want to do.”

I have time to run this blog. But, I don’t want to make time to run this blog anymore, and that’s been the case for the better part of a year.

Like I said above, I lead the student ministry at our church. That currently takes at least two nights of my week and often some time on the weekends.

I need to be giving more time to my wife. The last thing I need to do when we’re together is shut myself in my office and hammer out a blog post for 1000 people to read.

I used to write much of this blog on the weekends. I basically don’t open my laptop on the weekends anymore because sitting in front of my laptop feels like work no matter what I’m doing.

These are just a few reasons I’m closing up shop here.

Sometimes you have to know when to shut it down, and it’s been time to shut this down.

What’s Next?

Quite frankly, I am 100% uninterested in building a personal “platform” anymore (more on that below).

As for this site, I will keep the website URL, but sometime before the end of the year, it will begin to re-direct to my new home on the web: chrismartin.blog. All of this site’s content will be available there at that time.

The new site is pretty basic. I’m breaking all the rules I tell people to follow when I coach them on how to design or run a blog.

I don’t plan to maintain any sort of “brand” anymore. I just plan to post anything I want to write there.

Why even have a blog if I’m not interested in platform-building? I still like writing, and if I can write and maybe encourage people, that is enough reason for me to write publicly and not just privately.

For more thoughts on not wanting to build a “brand” or “platform” anymore and some more on what’s next, I explain at my first post at the new place here.

It makes me sad to shut this down. I’ve spent a lot of time here.

Thanks for reading. It’s been fun.

-Chris

P.S. my book is still available here if you’re going to miss the inconsistent posts about ministering to Millennials.

I Don’t Want to Change the World Anymore

When I was in the eighth grade, I had it all planned out: I would attend West Point Military Academy. I would become a lawyer. Then a senator. Then President of the United States. I wanted to change the world.

When I was a freshman in college, I resisted the Lord calling me to ministry because I was afraid of living on food stamps as a youth pastor for the rest of my life. After a number of friends and mentors (and the Holy Spirit) convicted me of my fear, I recognized the calling like they did and submitted myself to a lifetime of ministry. I had no idea what that would look like, but I knew I wanted to change the world.

But in the last year or so, I think something’s changed.

I don’t want to change the world anymore.

I can’t say for sure if my heart was in the right or wrong place when I used to want to change the world. Sometimes I am sure my motives were mostly good.

But I know that, many times, I wanted to change the world so I would be remembered. So that I would appear in school history textbooks and documentaries you would never watch on your own time but that you love to watch at school.

I wanted to change the world because it was the only way I thought I could achieve significance.

But I don’t want to change the world anymore.

I don’t want to be remembered in history textbooks or documentaries.

I don’t care to have a lasting impact on the world.

It sounds depressing, but I promise it’s not.

Serving as the leader of my local church’s student ministry has made me care more about discipling the middle and high schoolers in my community than getting blog pageviews on this site.

Settling into my role at LifeWay, even as much as it has changed over the years, has made me more interested in equipping others to stand in the spotlight than standing in it myself.

Reaching five years of marriage to my wife, Susie, has made me more interested in learning how to best serve and love her than pursuing opportunities to impress others.

Publishing my first book, a lifelong dream I never expected to accomplish, has made me less interested in ever publishing another one, no matter what “groundbreaking” ideas may come along.

As I have grown into adulthood and settled into a home, a job, and a community, I have lost my desire to change the world.

And I think that’s OK.

Whether it be because of recent events or because of a general growing in maturity I’m not sure, but I have come to the conclusion that living a life of ordinary faithfulness is no less noteworthy than a life that fills volumes of biographical books and documentaries.

I don’t want to change the world. I just want to live a life of quiet, ordinary faithfulness. To Christ. To my wife. To my church. To my work.

Don’t get me wrong: wanting to change the world isn’t bad. Don’t let me stop you.

I guess I’ve just become more concerned with doing everything I can to serve the people in my midst than with impressing people on the internet or otherwise around the world.

I’ve barely posted on here lately, and a small part of me has felt guilty about that. But a much bigger part of me hasn’t felt guilty about it at all, and I’ve wondered why.

I think it’s because I don’t care to change the world anymore.

I’m thankful for the people I’ve met and have been able to help on here over the years, but I just don’t care to do it as much anymore. Other things have taken priority.

I want to still help and serve people online. But it’s dramatically fallen down my list of priorities the last year or so.

So I apologize that I haven’t posted much on here lately.

But I’m not really that sorry about it.

A Brief Word About Recent Evangelical Conduct on Twitter

I tweeted earlier tonight that I desperately want to write, but I don’t have anything to write about.

So, I made a cup of half-caff coffee, opened this blog post, and started writing about nothing in particular.

I deleted half of it. I changed the topic no fewer than five times. I rambled for about 1000 words and decided to cut it down.

And here we are.

This is pretty raw. Just a warning.


I have said this to some in the past, and I mean it more than ever: if my job did not require me to be knowledgeable about social media, I would be off of it entirely. Or, at the very least, I would have an anonymous Twitter account to follow the various sports, video game, and humor accounts I like to follow.

I must confess that I am becoming more discouraged with the ways evangelicals use Twitter every single day I am on the platform.

I’m focusing on Twitter specifically because it is hard to find the global, trans-cultural communication you find on Twitter on any other social media platform. Facebook has engineered itself to encourage conversations around content with friends. Instagram is for talking about whatever pictures people have posted. Twitter is where normal people, famous people, and everyone in between come to talk, complain, and argue (and mostly the last two).

The Twitter conduct I have seen lately, among evangelicals specifically because that’s most of who I am watching on Twitter, has been discouraging.

I’m not the only one, and to be fair, people are feeling this way outside of the evangelical sub-culture.

https://twitter.com/duregger/status/1013078652911792129

I’m not saying I’m exempt. I know that I have contributed to the negativity of evangelical Twitter in my time on the platform. Without a doubt.

Lately, I post very little beyond links to what I’m writing or random thoughts that come to my head.

You know what most of evangelical Twitter has become, at least from my little perch?

A place for all the cool, “woke” people to dunk on the “ignorant” people.

“Please shower me with likes as I quote-tweet and shame this ignorant person who replied to my very woke tweet.”

Much, if not most, of the time, I am 100% in agreement with whatever it is the cool, woke person said and am simultaneously disgusted with the way in which he or she shamed the other person.

What I’m seeing on Twitter from many of my evangelical brothers and sisters is straight-up bullying.

Bullying.

A bully is “a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.”

Twitter has become a place for evangelicals to bully other people—often other evangelicals.

Right now, you’re probably thinking either, “Bro where you been? It’s been like this for years!” or you’re thinking, “Well he’s clearly not on our side.”

No one has dunked on me (yet). No one has subtweeted me to my knowledge. I know this practice isn’t new.

It just seems to me that it has become more culturally acceptable for evangelicals to bully other people on Twitter.

Why? I think the answer is simple: hatred of President Donald Trump.

Woke evangelicals don’t like President Trump. And, whether they agree with it or not, whether they notice it or not, they believe his actions give them license to treat others on Twitter and other social media platforms with disrespect in order to communicate the misalignment of his agendas with the gospel.

The cool, woke evangelicals who bully others on Twitter through their choir-preaching quote-tweets or their slick subtweets believe that, in order to adequately communicate that the President’s policies do not align with the gospel, they have been given permission to dunk on others on Twitter.

I think this is wrong, and I’ve been silently watching it unfold for so long I finally decided to write about it.

What’s worse is that the vast majority of Americans (and thereby, evangelicals) are not on Twitter. So, the cool-kid, woke evangelicals express their frustrations into the Twittersphere to the tune of retweets and likes with little pushback because the average evangelical without a seminary degree who disagrees with them isn’t on Twitter, or at least isn’t verified.

And after the ways many average evangelicals have been treated when expressing dissent toward a cool, woke evangelical on Twitter, I can’t imagine many want to engage any more even if they have sincere disagreements.

God is not glorified when you dunk on someone who disagrees with you on Twitter.

Subtweets are passive aggressive and affirm the worst gossip-related stereotypes about the church.

Your shaming of someone on Twitter isn’t like Christ flipping the tables in the temple.

It’s like the pharisee who thanks God he isn’t like those other people.

“The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.'” (Luke 18:11)

Please stop.