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.

On Raising Our Hands in the Trenches

When I started MillennialEvangelical.com in 2014, I wanted to serve people and build a brand for myself.

At the height of the site, I was posting three-to-five times per week and doing everything I could to get my content noticed.

It was a lot of fun, but eventually I just got tired.

I got tired of trying to get noticed, and the whole thing stopped being fun, so my consistency dropped off and I lost interest.

I think I vacillated between having healthy and unhealthy motives for writing the Millennial blog at various points throughout the process. Sometimes my primary driver was to help pastors and parents. At other times my primary driver was to make a name for myself.

Ultimately, life has become pretty busy the last couple of years and I decided it was time to close the book on being “the Millennial guy.”

The Ugly Reality of Christian Platforming

Writing about this topic may seem hypocritical of me because I have the opportunity to coach a number of folks through a service called LifeWay Social. I help them understand who they want to reach with content online and provide them with tools to create helpful content on a consistent basis for their audiences. I am so thankful for the people I get to work with through LifeWay Social and their hearts to serve.

Whenever I start coaching people on social media strategy, I ask some pretty probing questions about motives. I want to make sure that I am not enabling anyone in their idolatrous pursuit of self-promotion. My goal is to equip them to serve others with the gifts God has given them. I have serious problems equipping anyone to pursue fame and fortune. In short, I don’t do it (knowingly, anyway).

Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians using the internet in all kinds of ways—manipulating people and programs—to make a name for themselves. It makes me sick. Makes me feel nauseous.

I have zero interest in looking like I’m trying to do that myself. That’s a big reason I’m shutting down the Millennial blog.

So what then? Why even have this site?

This site is just where I’ll post stuff when I feel like writing things I’m comfortable sharing with others, in hopes of helping or encouraging people.

I won’t be writing often.

There is no fancy blog name.

I’m breaking basically every rule I tell anyone to follow.

I have no brand to maintain or strategy to execute.

I just needed a “home on the web” for when I want to write. And this will be that.

Digging in the Trenches

I was texting with a friend about the epidemic of Christians building platforms for their own glory recently.

I said something to the effect of, “We just need more people working hard in the trenches of ministry and not raising their hands to be noticed.”

Ministry is hard work. I’m a bi-vocational student minister. I can attest that ministry often feels like digging trenches.

We need more people in ministry who are happy to be digging trenches to help the cause without any acclaim.

We need fewer people in the trenches raising their hands to ask others to notice how nice their digging is.

It’s better for others to recognize how God has gifted you than for you to beg people to notice how God has gifted you.

For about four years, my hand has been raised off-and-on.

It’s time I just keep digging and forget about all that.

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.