What Readers are Saying

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my reader survey via surveymonkey. Your responses are a great encouragement to me and help shape the way I seek to engage readers and to contribute positively to our shared life of faith.

Given the volume of responses, I’m not able to include all of the comments and suggestions here, but I’ve compiled the major themes that emerge from the survey, including the most popular and the most unexpected(!) responses. Here are the results below.

Theme #1: I’ve recently returned to publishing articles once a week:

I love it – keep the articles coming once a week! – 42.86%

Since I started this blog, I’ve experimented with blogging once a week, several times a week, and every other week. So far the rhythm of blogging weekly with periodic breaks is my favourite. So for the coming year, I plan to blog weekly, but take a break over Christmas, New Year’s, and other holiday times.

If you’re up for even more articles from me, please consider subscribing to When You Work for the Church: the good, the bad, and the ugly, and how we can all do better. When You Work for the Church is a separate website with its own focus and rhythm. Articles appear on alternate Thursdays and relate more specifically to church members, volunteers, staff, and anyone engaged in the church and/or other Christian organizations. In the survey, one reader commented, “I do think you have a good niche for resourcing pastors and other leaders.” If you’re looking for more resourcing, please check out When You Work for the Church.

That’s fine – I’ll just keep reading when I can – 48.05%

I appreciate your writing–my life has gotten busier lately so I don’t have as much discretionary time for reading, but don’t give up on me!

I never give up on readers! And I well understand the challenge of keeping up with life online and off. That’s one reason why every subscriber email includes links to previous articles, plus you can always go directly to my website to see what you’ve missed. That way you can read at your own pace without the pressure to read every email when it arrives.

My inbox gets so full, I’d rather go back to every other week – 9.09%

I love hearing what you have to say. It’s true that I don’t get every blog read, not even every second week! But I love to “dip in” when I can.

Love reading your writing whenever it comes and whenever I get around to reading it. Set your schedule to fit your life and work.

I especially appreciate that last bit of advice for me to set a schedule that fits my life and work. That applies to all of you as readers too. Dip in when you can however that fits your life and work, and feel free to delete any email that seems too much.

Theme #2: What content would you most like to see more of?

Creativity and finding your voice – 32.43%

Focus on Scripture and application to daily life – 50.00%

How to pray and other spiritual practices – 43.24%

Personal reflections of life in ministry – 14.86%

Sacred pauses – 36.49%

Self-care – 31.08%

Stories and practical ideas related to faith in daily living – 62.16%

Writing as a spiritual journey – 22.97%

Some noted that it was difficult to choose just three topics, and some overlapped. But the collective response and comments seem to indicate the greatest interest in spiritual growth and Christian living:

I love how you balance the sacred stuff with the practical stuff. Thanks.

Thanks for sharing your gift so I can deepen my walk with God.
Thank you for writing…that challenges me to continue to write and to press forward to knowing Jesus more.

Theme #3: Which of the following topics would you like to see as my next short e-book for subscribers?

101 Ideas for Self-Care – 30.56%

How to Wait Well When You Just Can’t Wait – 41.67%

Unnamed But Not Forgotten: Five Women in the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them – 40.28%

I also appreciated the comments suggesting additional topics for e-books and/or blog articles:

  • Out of the depths – thoughts for when you or a loved one feel overwhelmed by life
  • Down-sizing as we age
  • How to make end-of-life decisions
  • Scripture connected to preaching
  • Prayer for those experiencing life-threatening illness
  • Sharing the gospel
  • Confession in prayer. I have followed Take Our Moments and Our Days over the years and have often wondered why there is so little guidance regarding the Confession part of the daily readings and prayers. Have you ever wondered about this? (Yes, I’ve noticed that about confession in general, and will plan to blog about this.)

I introduced my first e-book for subscribers, How to Pray When Prayer Seems Impossible, at the beginning of 2018. Given these responses, I will plan to address the theme of waiting as my next subscriber bonus, so look for that at the beginning of 2019 (sorry, we’ll just have to wait until then!). I’ll keep the other topics in mind as I plan my blogging schedule.

Theme #4: What other blogs or websites do you regularly subscribe to?

Only a third of survey-takers answered this question, and responses ranged from none to just yours to too many to list.

Most often mentioned: Richard Rohr, Ann Voskamp, Christianity Today

Most popular categories: blogs by friends, blogs by other authors, Anabaptist Collective and related blogs, other faith and church-related blogs

Most elegant response: A few related to Mindfulness, meditation, and Buddhism. I keep the list simple so I can actually attend to what I’m getting. Your work adds a beautiful, authentic voice of Christian spirituality.

And on the other extreme, the most unexpected response: “the vomiting chicken so I can vicariously enjoy farm life” (and yes, I did google that so I know that site’s for real!)

Theme #5: What other questions and comments do you have for me?
Just under half of you skipped this question, and most left comments rather than questions. Thank you for all of your kind and encouraging words! I’m saving them to re-read when I’m feeling blue, like this one submitted with the most exclamation marks:
I LOVE your writing & always find it practical & encouraging. I heard you speak in Leamington in the Spring. Thank you!!!!!!
These are just a few questions that I’m able to address here:
I am a student in a Ph.D. program on Leadership, and I have repeatedly referenced Sacred Pauses as it is applicable in class conversation and assignments. Do you ever offer review copies of books? I just added Four Gifts to my wish list! Blessings to you in all you set your heart, your hands, and your mind to!
Thank you so much! I’m glad that Sacred Pauses continues to speak in your context, and I hope that Four Gifts will too! Review copies are generally handled by the publisher (which is Herald Press for both of the books you mention), so you could inquire there, or if you write for publication, you could ask your journal or magazine to ask Herald Press for a review copy.

How to get the congregation interested in your book when you are not the pastor?

Getting the word out about a book is a challenge! I think any author today needs multiple avenues: endorsements from respected individuals, listing on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book sites, reviews in church newsletters or other publications, author events, sharing on social media, excerpts on blogs or in other publications, word-of-mouth.

Would you have time for tea this week or the next?

Since this survey was anonymous, I don’t know who asked this, but if you’re still interested, please use my contact form to be in touch with me.

Haven’t read your book on gifts but am currently enjoying your Where Two are Gathered for evening devotions and have used your Ordinary Time with Jesus for several group devotions. Finally, I’m now looking for input for my up-coming Christmas Letter & want it on “Gifts” (Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh) — can you point me to any “helps”? THANKS.

This article is an interesting place to start: Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh?

 

Thank you for all of your responses and for reading. If I missed your question, please use my contact form so I can respond to you.

 

Writing/Reflection Prompt: Choose one of the themes above and add your comment below.

 

And if you’re not already a subscriber,

please sign up for my free email updates and get a copy of my e-book

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