How to Start an On-line Ministry (Blog)
Is God calling you to start an on-line ministry? Maybe you’ve thought about blogging and sharing your faith with others but you don’t know where to begin? I hear you.
One question I get asked often is, “How did I start my on-line ministry?” Well, today I thought I’d share with you my answers and recommendations to help you get started.
I can remember back to December 2010 when God called me to write on His behalf. I was scared to death of the task and I had absolutely no idea where to begin. At that time, I only read blogs to get a gluten-free recipe! So the concept of starting an on-line ministry was completely new to me, and I had no one around to show me the ropes. But I stepped out in faith and obedience (although it did take me 3 months to write my first post because I was too busy wrestling with God about this writing gig.) But, I finally surrendered to Him and did my best to honor the Lord in this process. And He was faithful to equip me.
One thing I committed to when I began this journey was to show up here to write one post each week. Blogging for the Kingdom of God is not like showing up each week to hold a Bible study. You know if the study meets each Tuesday morning, then you need to be there! Well, you don’t have the same accountability here. Because of the uniqueness of this ministry, I knew I needed to determine and establish some standards of accountability.
From the get-go, I also never really called this site ‘my blog.’ Although this is how people view it, I view this site as an on-line ministry, and it’s what I tell others. I think this perspective helped me to view what I did here as a sacrifice unto the Lord because ministry is a sacrifice; it’s an outpouring of our lives as we use our spiritual gifts, time, and resources so Christ can be glorified.
Things to Consider
Your viewpoint toward ministry and your perspective and reasoning for starting a blog (the tool you use for ministry) is of utmost importance. Doing a heart check as to why you want to start an on-line ministry is something you should consider.
Ministry is not about us, and it’s not for our glorification. It is Christ’s name that we are to lift on high, not our own.
Which brings me to platform. The word, ‘platform’ is thrown around a lot in the on-line world and what I constantly hear is that we need to build our platforms. Well, this just rubs me the wrong way because it is not my platform I’m seeking to build. The premise of an on-line ministry should be to reach hearts and minds for the sake of Jesus Christ. Drawing others to Him so we could build His platform, aka, the Kingdom of God. My go-to verse as to why I write and speak for Christ is John 12:32
“And I (Jesus), if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Count the Cost
Are you willing to serve the Lord even though you’ve spent hours writing a post only to have no one leave a comment? Or worse yet, have complete strangers attack you for the content you just gave to them for free? Or the comments they do leave are those telling you all about your grammatical errors in the post?
Are you prepared to be attacked?
The on-line world is not a friendly world. For some reason when people are behind a screen, they lose all sense of decency. They no longer have kindness on their tongues, and they’ll type out venom and send it to you in a matter of seconds. I’ve had women who have told me I’m a horrible writer, a lousy Bible teacher, they’d never want to have a marriage like mine, and they’re thoroughly disappointed with my podcast…and these comments come from professing Christians!
Expect spiritual warfare. The more Truth you share, the more you’ll be attacked. And if you’re going to write about having a biblical marriage, don’t be surprised if you start to experience spiritual attacks in your marriage! The last thing the Enemy wants you to do is to encourage another wife to live out a Christ-centered marriage. If he can distract you with your marital issues to hinder you from writing on-line, he will!
Having an on-line ministry is not glamorous by any means. You sit in your home doing ministry alone. There are no prayer groups, potlucks, or fellowship Fridays where you’d gather with other like-minded women. An on-line ministry is just you, the Lord, your keyboard, and a screen. The extent of your ministry interaction is seeing a name with a teeny tiny photo of a human being who left you a comment.
Also, are you prepared to cover the initial expenses to start an on-line ministry? It does cost a few bucks to get started. The details are below.
You need a domain name for your site. My domain name is simply my name, JoleneEngle.com. You can either use your name or choose something more creative. Do a search on GoDaddy.com for domain names and then purchase the domain through them if you’d like. They charge about $10-12 per year for your domain name.
Website Hosting Service
Then you need to host your blog somewhere. I recommend a self-hosted site rather than a blog spot or a free WordPress-hosted site. Blogger and a free WordPress site are like renting space on the internet. A self-hosted site is like having a small piece of your land on the internet. If you rent space, Blogger or WordPress can take your content down anytime they’d like. When I started this ministry back in 2011, I started on Blogger because I didn’t know any different. During the years I made a move to a self-hosted site. This was a big technical headache! Learn from my mistakes and go directly to a self-hosted site and use WordPress.
Restored 316 Designs is a Feminine WordPress Theme
Unless you want to hire a blog/website designer who could cost anywhere from $500-$2,000, you can save some money and upload your theme and give it some customization. Most of the themes from Restored 316 designs are around $50.00. Since I’m a do-it-yourselfer, the designs from Restored 316 are the perfect fit for me. Also, I recommend that you use a theme that is mobile responsive. Almost half of my readers read my articles on their phones.
You’ll want to send your fabulous content to people who have subscribed to your site. My email provider is Flodesk and it’s one of the most user-friendly email providers I could find. Not to mention Flodesk sends out gorgeous emails! You can find out more about them here and when you sign up, you’ll get 50% off!
Don’t let the fear of writing or technology keep you from sharing what God is putting on your heart. Goodness, I’m the last person on earth that would ever have a blog. I don’t even like to write. And me and technology just don’t mix! And social media? Well, that’s just laughable that I’m even on any of that stuff. But, I do all of this because of my Lord. I love Him, and I want to proclaim His name. He has parted my technical Red Sea countless times, and He’s calmed the raging sea of this writer’s heart. If He is calling you to start an on-line ministry, He’ll equip you, too!
These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Luke 10:2 (NLT)
So, is God prompting you to the mission field of the internet? Will you follow His leading?
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products or services I personally believe will help you. Thank you for supporting this ministry!
Thank you so so very much! Your words could not have come at a more opportune time. I even of some where a tad scary haha. I am so blessed to have found so much encouragement from you. Thank you again.
Have an überfabulous week
Glad to know it helped you, Ruth!
Thanks so much for the empowering and encouraging words to motivate others to pursue a Hod- given talent. Your gift has truly blessed me and I, too, view blogging for Christ as an ” on- line ministry! Keep up the fruitful work in the Lord….it truly has been a blessing to me and others I’ve shared it with.
Aww, thank you for your sweet words, Shawanda!
I really appreciate this article because I have been contemplating continuing to write my blog. I definitely understand the reality of constantly having to check your heart and realize that you should be writing to glorify God. It’s funny you mentioned wordpress.com because that’s what I currently have. Eventually I would like to have my own domain name, but my husband and I can’t justify (at this moment) paying for that just yet. We are pretty young and hopefully all this will work out eventually. Thank you again and again, I appreciate what you do. 🙂
Hi Leslee, the Lord will provide what you need in His timing! Just keep writing for Him. 🙂
This is the start of great help. I have a ministry called People Project Ministries, which mainly is a prayer warrior page on Facebook, but my small team and I feel called to so much more. I looked at Godaddy and several other places and they talk about your 1st year being $10-$15, but sky rocket after that 1st year. Plus, I didn’t know that you then had to purchase an additional hosting site, themes, and email site. This seems truly overwhelming.
I was called to ministry as a young girl and took a variety of options to serve. I always pictured myself in some foreign country, but that is not what God had planned. I have Late Stage Chronic Lyme Disease, but my desire is to give all I can to the glory of God and His Kingdom. Facebook opened that up with The PPM Prayer Warriors page. We has witness the power of God in so many ways.
My team and I have been writing for years, but haven’t really published via Internet or in book form. We are feeling called to do so along with having the option for further ministry opportunities.
Here is the problem… money! Simply, we don’t have it. One of my teammates also has Chronic Lyme, plus she is married with a 4 year old daughter. My other teammate lives in South Africa and her and her husband are desperately trying to get pregnant. And then my husband has major issues with his shoulder that he is receiving multiple therapies for. So, with Lyme treatments, fertility treatment, and a variety of other health and family needs, finding money to pay for all these services nearly gives me a heart attack. Are there ways to ramp up this ministry, as we feel God’s call, without putting us into deeper debt.
I’ve debated blogspot and wordpress, but simply can’t decide, which leads me to wonder what else must be out there. Problem…technology is not my middle name and I’m clueless where to begin. Any additional help and direction you can offer me would be outstanding.
Oh, and how do you go about making your podcasts? Is there a specific program you use?
Thank you so very much Jolene!
God bless you in all you do to help further the glory of His Kingdom!!!
In His Name,
Hmmm, your GoDaddy rate seems high. We renew our domains every year but they are always around $15 or so. Maybe you saw a quote on a three year renewal plan?
You can always use a free theme. That’s what I did when I first started out. I didn’t even know you could buy themes (but it didn’t matter because I didn’t have the money. We could barely afford to keep our internet running at the time this ministry started!) You don’t pay for Mad Mimi until you hit 501 subscribers and if you want, you don’t have to use them. I didn’t start using a third party email system until last summer.
Financially, my husband and I had absolutely nothing when this ministry began. I started on blogspot and when I had a bit of money either for Christmas or my birthday, I would put it back into the ministry to buy a theme. As your ministry grows, you’ll want to do everything I shared above. But you can start with a free WordPress site. I’d recommend that instead of blogger because it’ll make your transition easier when the time comes.
I had NO plans to write a book, but when I did, I decided to use the proceeds from the book sales to put back into the ministry. I also started running ads this past year to off-set ministry costs because they do add up!
I use a plugin for my podcast but there are other technical aspects involved in having a podcast. It’s best if you do a google search on how to start one because it is pretty involved.
Just step out of the boat and keep your eyes on the Lord. He’ll take care of all of your concerns; financial and technical!
God bless you my dear sister in Christ! You and your blog and your willingness to answer my questions all came along at the perfect time. God is so good! I can’t thank you enough for your direction and encoragement. Earlier this year I was studying about how God had the Iraselites at the Jordan River after the spies had seen the giants, the lands of milk and honey, and all were afraid but the 2 that knew they were God’s people and this was to be their promised land. So by faith they stepped into the Jordan preparing to see their home. After that study I was so on fire for God and what His plan was for me that in my commitment to Christ I jumped into the Jordan with both feet. It’s been a slow crossing, but my teammates after prayer jumped in with me and we have continued at time to doggie paddle across because we needed this information to come at the right time. I think we are near the shore getting ready to see God’s next step in His master plan for us. I’ll keep you posted. Again, I thank you my friend!
God bless and much love,
Great article! This resonated with me as we also are an Online Gospel Outreach Ministry that began with a blog. Recently God blessed us with the tools and resources to launched a Podcast. We offer a practical application page for individuals to contact us with any physical, spiritual or emotional need within our region. We don’t spoon feed these needs instead through the leadership of our home church we facilitate these needs to already established ministries. Nice to meet you and connect. I am going back up top now to find ways to connect via social networking. God bless you, God keep you, grace and peace.
Awesome to hear, Jeff! Glad to hear you’re helping others for the sake of the Gospel!
Jolene, thank you for sharing this info. I have wanted to start a blog for some time now. It occurs to me that our culture has so many ideas of Christianity. My specific goal is to relay things I’ve learned during my journey with the hope of helping others avoid mistakes I’ve made. I am a grandmother of five now, so I have a deep desire to help younger women in their personal walk with Jesus.
Your article is so timely for me. So thank you for sharing!
May God be glorified in the lives of His people! God bless you and those who read your posts!
Yes, Gail, please do share your heart with others! I’m sure your wisdom is much needed. 🙂
Jolene, I have loved reading this reminders, reminding me why I do what i do. Thank you!
You are welcome, Ngina. Blessed to hear you were encouraged!
Thanks for sharing. A loved your teachings that I could view to the right here.
I feel that we need to step up as women and dauthers of Christ. I’m seeking His will for my life and your teaching helped me!
Thank you so much for your posting on “How To Start an On-line Ministry”. I am a newly married Christian. I also believe the Lord is calling me to begin an on-line ministry. I have started and have a site…www.honoryourworth.com. However, I am a little discouraged because I don’t have any followers. I have had my site for quite a while and not one viewer. 🙁 I would appreciate your help on how I can build a following and how I can get God’s message to women. I feel like I have a lot to say and it would be a huge confidence booster if I could get someone established (like yourself) to help me along the way. Thanks in advance for your help.
All well-said! And I love the fact that we both started our online ministries in December 2010. 🙂
SUPER ENCOURAGED to start up again. I have four boys that I homeschool and a photography website to maintain so I have been busy. God is shutting down my photography and this is my heartbeat, to encourage women. Thank you so much for this post.
Thank you, Jolene, for your words of inspiration. I minister mostly to the Spanish speaking community with a multi-faceted ministry: The Lord has called me to ministry and I write, sing the songs He gives me, and lead a growing prayer ministry. I am an author, and am currently working on another book. For a while I had a websiste, but took it down for financial reasons. I have four FB pages-one for every aspect of ministry, so I am trying to learn the ropes to build an online presence again. Your post is definitely inspiring, no matter how many times you’ve been discouraged by unkind words. Please continue to work for the glory of our Lord and Savior. God bless you!
God bless you! I just found your online ministry today and this is exactly what I feel called to do. I feel so encouraged and I look forward to reading your blogs and supporting you. Thank you for sharing your gifts and for the information on how to do this!
Peace & Blessings
Whew, Jolene, This seems both exciting and terribly overwhelming all àt the same time. May I ask…do you personally fund your site or do you have donors or a non-profit to pay for everything? And when you mentioned the themes, are you saying it costs $50+ per picture? Yicks! Can you post your own pictures or must they all come from a graphic designer? Thank you for your help!
God bless and love,
Yes, you are right friend, any ministry that God calls one to can be both exciting and overwhelming! The theme is just $50. The images I create on my site I pay for, but when I started this ministry, I would search out free images to use.
At the beginning of the ministry, my husband and I financially supported it for several years. When I wrote my first book, The Wives of the Bible, I then used the proceeds to help financially support the ministry. I don’t solicit donor support. I do have ads on my site now that provide a small income to cover the cost of the ministry as it continues to grow.
One step at a time, my friend. If God is calling you to it, He’ll provide what you need when you need it!
What a blessing to find your blog and this article! It was truly an answer to my prayers and calling! Thank you for having the courage and Glory to God for not allowing those who are lost to sway you and your calling! Thank you for the information & blessing!
Blessings to you!
I came across your blog while searching on Pinterest under blogging for ministry 🙂 Thanks for sharing your resources. I am in the process of looking for an email provider. I am keen on either Mailchimp or Mad Mimi. BUT I have read that both are anti-affiliate links.
You recommend Mad Mimi. Do you not have affiliate links? If you do, have you had any issues with them from Mad Mimi?
Yes, Mad Mimi does have affiliates and I’ve had no problem with them!
Oh I do not mean if Mad Mimi has an affiliate program but rather have you had issues with them when you *promote* stuff with affiliate links. I remember them stating in their policy that they are against affiliate marketers.
I am not aiming to be an affiliate marketer of course! 🙂 But to occasionally offer these products if they serve my readers. You have not encountered issues with them on this?
Thank you for your response!
I’ve had no issues. 🙂
Thank you for replying and may God bless your ministry bountifully as you seek to sow into His Kingdom!
This is very helpful, thank you…
Also, thank you for allowing God to use you.
Earlier today I was thinking about how I don’t have a home church nor a license to go attend a church in my city. It dawned on me that I should try and find some online resources for my weekly (well daily) dose of Jesus but all I could find was a couple of churches that did some live streams but nothing that really matched what I needed. I’m big into the internet and being on the computer. I am technically a new christian (16 year break from Jesus has just ended! Let his love flow in!!) and coming across your post while researching had causes a teary eyed and passion filled moment of revelation. Though I am new at this, I want to do this. I am called to create a blog just to share his word.
Thank you so much for writing and posting this post.
This is such a lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing your own personal experience with on-line ministry. As a young woman who’s just starting to pursue this myself, I found what you had to say very information and insightful. You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about and even equipped me for possible setbacks I hadn’t thought of yet.
you are really a path to God’s glory.
This is really great jolene, i see this as a stepping stone to starting an online ministry which has been in my heart to establish…but my question is..how do i run the same ministry in a social media platform like facebook and tweeter…having people to follow up with the activities…i already run a ministry but want to take it into social media platform….
Amen. Thanks so much for the encouragement. It is incredibly hard sometimes and lonely especially in the beginning phases.
I was lead to this post by God.
I have a heart for mission but a mind and body that is incapable of going the traditional routes. I felt so discouraged, why would God ask me to help people, to speak with them? I just couldn’t understand. I recently started actually utilising Pinterest and decided to search for articles on mission and minstry and there on the first page was this article.
It never occured to me that the internet could be a mission field (wonderful phrasing, by the way).
Financially to start is going to take much effort, but whilst I save my pennies I am making notes and researching and speaking with God more than I ever did.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge
Hey Jolene! That was an awesome blog! God has been putting it in my heart to start my own online ministry, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about and doing it. It was definitely a blessing coming across your blog. It was filled with a lot of useful information that I will definitely use. Thank you so much for sharing!
Glad to hear it ministered to you!
How do you get others to follow your blog? I am getting ready to launch a blog
When I started, I sent my posts to 23 women I knew personally. I also posted on social media. But it was God who grew (and is growing) my blog!
GREAT POST! GREAT ARTICLE! EVEN GREATER MINISTRY!!! God bless you, Sis. Jolene! May the Lord continue to bless you and your household ABUNDANTLY!!!! Thank you so much for the words of encouragement, honesty, and wise guidance!
Thank you for this Blog. It is exactly what I needed to read. I am feeling called to share our great God and I want to do just that. I am looking to start my own online ministry, but feel completely overwhelmed. Your words and honesty have helped me believe that I too can do this. After all, I have faith that if God has called me to this then He will equip me. Thank you for being apart of that!
He will equip you, just step out in faith, my friend!
I loved this blog! Thank you
I love your work…Many thanks for sharing! God Bless.
God has moved me to launch a ministry….not a Church.
This has been a blessing, thank you so much, please continue your work for the lord because its a true blessing for god’s children, God bless you!
Thank you so much for this inspiration. I do feel a calling. I greatly appreciate what you are doing and how you are serving our Lord. God bless you and your family.
Hi, Jolene, my name is Marilyn and yes, Jesus told me to start a on-line ministry a few days ago and I didn’t have the slightest idea what or how to do it. , But like you, I want to be obedient and I decided, to check on line today to see if there is help out there for ‘newbie’ on this sort of stuff to start ministries online and thank God I clicked on YouTude search engine and found your site. Just this morning, Jesus gave me John 12:32 during devotion and prayer as bible reading and I read the entire chapter. Well, when I looked on your site and saw you posted the same scripture verse Jesus gave me today, well, I knew your site was the right place the Spirit lead me to get information to help me get started with my online ministry and let me tell you I need a lot of help because I’m internet and computer ill-literate and not that great a writer either, but there’s nothing Jesus and I cannot handle together!.
Thank you, for obeying God. I’ll be checking you out tomorrow. The library, is closing now, so I’ll have to catch you tomorrow. In the mean time, I signed up to receive your newsletter or blog alert.
Jolene, thank you for this post! It is filled with such good information. I currently have a (neglected) blog but am feeling led to start a women’s ministry after some career changes. As you know, getting started can feel daunting, but you set my mind at ease with your tips and also your reassuring replies to everyone who commented. Such a good & necessary reminder to trust God with all the details and provision!
God bless & keep you,
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