At least 10 Southern Baptists are included on Newsmax’s list of the “top 75 religion bloggers” in America, with five appearing among the top 20.
“The Southern Baptist leaders who blog regularly have built influence, specifically in the niches they address,” said social media expert Marty Duren. “When compared to peers … I think our leaders who have engaged are doing very well.”
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. ranked second while Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore came in fourth on the Newsmax list. The top five Southern Baptist bloggers were:
Mohler (2), who writes at albertmohler.com and publishes two to five blog posts per month on theological and cultural events that are part of the news cycle.
Moore (4), whose russellmoore.com blog addresses cultural, ethical and theological issues and publishes multiple times each week.
Thom Rainer (16), president of LifeWay Christian Resources, whose thomrainer.com blog publishes daily and addresses issues pertaining to church life and leadership.
Ron Edmondson (17), pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., who blogs daily at ronedmondson.com on leadership, family and the Christian life.
Denny Burk (18), professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, whose dennyburk.com blog addresses cultural, political and biblical issues multiple times per week.
Other Southern Baptists in the top 75 included Roger Olson (41), professor of theology at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary; Trevin Wax (43), managing editor of The Gospel Project curriculum at LifeWay; James MacDonald (61), pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area; Beth Moore (62), women’s author and speaker; and Ed Stetzer (68), executive director of LifeWay Research.
Newsmax said “each blogger was considered through a variety of general factors including reach, popularity and cultural significance, as well as through more specific factors such as RSS membership, readership statistics, Twitter followers, and Facebook likes. Entries were filtered in order to ensure that multiple religions were represented and included, as well as various subsets of mainline denominations and sects.”
The rankings are “somewhat significant” and carry “a lot of weight with a certain range of news consumers,” said Duren, LifeWay’s manager of social media strategy. But he called the conservative news outlet’s selection criteria “subjective.”
The order of Newsmax’s list does not correspond to rankings from the analytics website Alexa.com, Duren said, and the purposeful inclusion of bloggers from multiple religions likely resulted in some more popular blogs’ not making the list.
“Newsmax did not hide this, to their credit,” Duren said, “and there’s nothing at all wrong with it, but it can explain why more popular blogs (even those with higher measurable rankings) did not make this particular list.”
Whether or not a Christian leader’s blog makes a rankings list, blogging is a valuable enterprise, Duren said.
“The advantages of blogging as a Christian leader are numerous,” he said. “Theology can be worked out in a public forum, devotionals can be published as frequently as desired, the cost of entry is low to nothing, and meaningful discussions about life can be hosted.
“Blogging is a viable tool to be used for discipleship, writing, apologetics, and things I haven’t thought of yet. I don’t know if there are any metrics for ‘number of people saved through reading a blog,’ but it isn’t outside possibility,” Duren said.
He concluded, “Not having a blog will not kill a person’s ministry or influence, but having a blog can greatly expand both.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)