As we approach the end of this year and the beginning of a new one, I have taken some time to examine this blog and evaluate the “effectiveness” of its exposure. I have taken a look at where it is “ranked” within various search engines, what keywords are being queried in order to find it, etc. I have also taken a look back at the amount of web hits it has received and the statistics pertaining to it. In doing so, it occurred to me that this information can be quite revealing, but it only tells a very small portion of the overall story.
Churches have historically considered the measure of the success of their ministry based on their membership and weekly attendance. Statistics have been used to evaluate the growth of their congregation, and that is usually summed up by the total number of bodies filling the pews. “Just get as many people in the seats as possible, and everything else will fall into place.” Many Christian bloggers and webmasters (myself included) have adapted a similar view of their own work for the Lord. We check our web statistics and see how many people have visited our sites, how long they spent on them, which pages they’ve read, and so on. We then proceed to gauge the efficacy of our endeavors based primarily on these results.
While such statistics and data are beneficial for secular websites, and downright crucial for those of a business nature, do they really provide the blogger whose purpose is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ a complete picture? For those whose visitors are viewed as potential customers and whose goal is solely conversions (those visitors who end up buying a product), the bottom line is all about how many sales were generated by the information produced on a website. That is all there is to it. But visitors to our websites are not customers any more than congregants within a church are (although, sadly, some church boards tend to think of them as such and their measurement of success consists of the size of the tithes and offerings collected). We are not selling anything and consequently have no real means of knowing for certain if our efforts have been fruitful or not.
The truth is that our success is measured by nothing more nor anything less than our faithfulness to God. It is the very rare servant of the Lord who knows on this side of eternity what type of impact they truly have made for the Kingdom of God. The day will come when all the “statistics” will be counted and everyone will fully know the fruition of their service. Until then, we must trust that God will bless those things that we do in His name for His glory. If God can use even one thing that we write to reach one single individual, then we have succeeded indeed.