Category Archives: Blogging

2013 in review: Most popular

The top 10 most visited posts in 2013

  1. 11 ways to #BeChristInChristmas – I’m glad this was my most-read post. It was also the one I shared the most on pages like The Christian Left.  I was a little disappointed that they never shared it.  The Christian Left has over 150,000 followers on Facebook, so when they share something, it has a dramatic affect.  When they shared my Happy Holidays post in 2010, I had more traffic in one day than I usually have in three months.
  2. Memorial Day Liturgy – Written in 2010, this page spikes twice every year.  Thanks largely to The Text This Week, where many worship planners go looking for material to use in worship.
  3. 2013 Mascot Bracket – A Fat Pastor tradition, the Mascot Bracket is one of my favorite, and most time-consuming, blogs to write every year.  It also gets shared beyond my normal audience, which is nice.  Readers usually learn something, and hopefully get a chuckle or two along the way.
  4. Veterans’ Day – I have to thank Jenee Woodard at The Text This Week for the high traffic of all my liturgies.  This is another one that I wrote a few years ago, but has staying power because it is a link on http://textweek.com.
  5. Maundy Thursday Liturgy – I wrote this liturgy for Maundy Thursday in 2012.  It works for Good Friday as well.
  6. 40 Notes in 40 Days – Inspired by Rethink Church’s 40 Photos in Lent, I decided to work on developing relationships by writing 40 hand written notes though Lent.  I don’t think I was able to write all 40, but I did a lot of them.  Nearly 9 months later, I’ve had people tell me what a blessing this activity was in their life.
  7. Take up something for Lent – Written in 2011, this was the outline of an Ash Wednesday sermon.  I think it has resonated with people that felt their tradition of giving up something for Lent had lost its meaning.
  8. 2012 Mascot Bracket – I find it funny that this was so popular in 2013, but a lot of the traffic comes from those searching for images of mascots I used in the post.
  9. Longest Night: For those that mourn at Christmas – I wrote this in 2012, and it was adapted on the General Board of Discipleship website by Taylor Burton Edwards.
  10. Yo mama’s so nice – Written in 2009, this was really a collaborative effort of a group of pastors bored at a conference.  We started telling Yo Mama jokes in a skype chat room.  This one has endured because of Google searches.  Every day there are a number of people that search something like “nice momma jokes.”

Looking at this list it is clear that I owe a good amount of traffic to people coming here from The Text This Week.  It might be time for me to make a donation.  It really is a remarkable resource.  It makes me very happy to think that some of the prayers and liturgies I have written have not only been read online, but used in worship in churches across the country.

Only three of my posts that I wrote this year were in this top 10 list, but five of the next six most popular were all written in 2013 (Slow Cooker Pulled-Pork, Rape-Prevention Checklist, ABCs of Christmas, Why I’m rooting for the 49ers, and Prayer for the scariest room in the school).  Next, I’ll go through my posts written in 2013, and pick my favorite 10.  I’m wondering though, if any readers have a favorite.

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The 85th Christian blog you should be reading

ImageLast week Christian Piatt, a Patheos Christian blogger, conducted a survey looking for the “25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading.”  Readers and bloggers nominated over 400 Christian blogs.  While it seemed to me that most of them leaned toward the Progressive end of the theological spectrum, there was a pretty wide array of blogs nominated.  I discovered the survey a couple of days into it, and added The Fat Pastor.

I first sent the link to vote for my blog on Facebook at 11 p.m. on Friday night.  I did it once again on Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon.  I tweeted it twice, I think.  I shared the link a few more times on my personal facebook page.  I never thought I’d make the top 25, but I thought I could break into the top 100.

The final vote finished with The God Article as number one, Rachel Held Evans as number two, and The Fat Pastor tied for 85th.  You can see the whole list by clicking here.  I was pretty pleased with finishing tied for 85th, but what was really touching were the comments people made.  I went through the top 100, and mine was one of only four blogs that had seven comments.  And it was not just the seven comments that touched me, but the kindness and appreciation that was expressed in those comments, largely from people I’ve never met face-to-face.  Sure, one of the comments was my brother, but even his words meant a lot to me.  The comments made in the survey read like the back cover of a book.

It was a pretty exciting couple of days as I watched my blog rise through the ranks.  I was thankful to see a couple of my facebook friends not only vote, but share the link with their friends.  I received a little bit of criticism on the Facebook page for the self-promotion, but it was good-natured.  And rest assured, there was nothing anyone said there that I had not already thought of.  Should I care where I am ranked on some list?  Should I care how popular I am?  Why do I write?  Is it to gain a big audience?  What is the mission of this blog?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the nature of self-promotion on a Christian blog.  It takes a certain amount of hubris to write a public blog in the first place.  The moment I started The Fat Pastor, I remember thinking, “what do I have to say that other people should care about?”  Nearly five years later I am approaching 300,000 page views.  In the big picture of internet usage, that is barely a blip. At the same time, I think to my self “THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND!”

Does it matter that I’m approaching 300,000 views?  Am I being more faithful to God because I’ve reached this milestone than if I had not reached it?  I remember when I approached 1,000 Facebook followers.  I made a big deal about it on the page, and it turned people off, so they left.  Does the fact that I now have over 2,500 followers on Facebook make me a better writer?  Does that mean I’m a better pastor, or a better Christian, or closer to God?

None of the questions about self-promotion on a Christian blog are easily answered.  It all boils down to the question of mission.  What is the purpose of this blog?  Or put another way, if I suddenly had no facebook followers, no subscribers, no twitter followers, and no page views, would I keep doing it?  If I had a million followers and high traffic on the blog, what would change?

I am a writer and a preacher.  I will write about the love of God and preach the good news of Jesus Christ for as long as I have breath.  I will tell people about the transforming power of God, and I will share that with as many people as I can for as long as I can live.  I will struggle.  I will fail.  I will have doubts and questions, but the truth of who I am will never change.

Is it wrong to seek a larger audience for what I do?  I don’t think so, as long as what I do is point to something greater than me.  As long as what I’m doing is bringing people to the table of grace, then I’m going to keep going.  If my self-promotion takes precedent over God-promotion, then I’m in trouble.  In the meantime, I’m going to search for new audiences, because each audience is full of people – real people – who are longing to hear about the God that loves them, the God that errs on the of grace, the God that can lift all of us out of whatever hole we’ve dug ourselves, the God that can melt hearts, transform communities, and topple kings.

So yes, I wanted to be in the top 25 – because making the top 25 would have allowed me to speak to more people.  I believe in the story I have to tell, so I will continue to tell it. 

I’ve been grappling a lot lately about the future of this blog and the nature of my ministry.  How far should I push this Fat Pastor brand?  And if you’re turned off by my use of the term “brand,” I apologize, but that is exactly what I’ve created here.  I try to write from my heart.  I try to share my passion, joy, and frustrations.  I try to let you into my journey, but no reader will ever know the real me.  I don’t write every thought that pops into my head.  I make choices, and these choices create a separate entity that is not Robb McCoy, but the brand The Fat Pastor.  The Fat Pastor is me, but it is not all of me.  It’s not about being inauthentic, it’s just about having boundaries.  I create logos, and buy domain names, and craft a motto and wonder, what can I do with this blog?

Can I be the next Rachel Held Evans?  Do I even want to be?  Should I open a Fat Pastor store?  Should I sell t-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise?  Can I raise money through this blog to advertise in places to reach more people?  Can I raise money to support ministries?  Can I create a company that could help make a difference in the world?  Are there investors out there that could make it happen?  Should I write a book?  Should I seek more speaking engagements outside my congregation?  Should I open a youtube channel?  Should I live stream worship services?  How many people can I reach?  What does it mean to see “the whole world as my parish?”  To John Wesley it meant that he could get on a box and preach in a park and be just as true to his mission as he was inside a grand Anglican Church.  To me it means something different, and I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to guide me in understanding what it means to me.

I have a big vision for what The Fat Pastor can be.  I have to make sure that it isn’t just my vision, but a God-breathed vision that will build the Kingdom of God, not feed the kingdom of Robb.

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Lion and Lamb Festival

lion lambHeatherlyn, Amy Cox, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Andrew Peterson.  These are not household names, but I’ve spent the last few weeks listening to them on the Lion and Lamb Festival Youtube and Facebook pages.

They are wonderful, original artists, and I am looking forward to spending two days with them, and with the rest of the Lion and Lamb Festival community.  For two days over Labor Day Weekend, I will be in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Lion and Lamb Festival.  I am one of a group of speakers, artists, and musicians that are coming together for worship, conversation, and community.

The mission of the Lion and Lamb Festival is to build a “community of hope gathering to share gifts, inspire authentic conversation, and passionately follow God in the world.”  As I read through the list of speakers, I am humbled by my own inclusion.  The gathering speakers are people doing the hard work of justice in the world.  They are an inspiring group of people, and I feel so honored to be a part of it all.

Rachel_Held_Evans_t580The keynote speaker of the event is Rachel Held Evans, whose writing I admire greatly.  She is speaking three times at the festival.  On Saturday she is a part of a “Conversation on Millenials and the Church.”  Later that evening she is a part of the main gathering.  On Sunday she is sitting down for a Q and A about her book “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”  This is a remarkable book, which I blogged about once.  One of the highlights of my blogging career was when she started following me on Twitter, and retweeted the link to my post.  Imagine then, my excitement to find out that my time slot on Sunday comes on the same stage, immediately after her.  

I am looking forward to this festival for so many reasons.  It is going to include some of my favorite things in this world.  I will be there with my family, camping away from home for first time.  We will listen to inspiring live music.  We will soak up the energy of powerful leaders.  I will have a chance to tell my story to a new audience.  Above all, we will build community.  We will create relationships.

It is going to be an exciting two days.  And I want you to come along.  I have two free passes to the Festival.  If you want to go, let me know in the comments section or on my Facebook page.  Every name that comments (with a valid email address on this page, or on the Facebook page) before Monday, August 19 will be put into a hat.  I’ll draw the winning name on Monday, and post it with a new blog post.

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Light of the World: Be the Change

A portion of the poem, “Light of the World:Be the Change”

Our world was left smudged, marred and despondent
Until…..
Mercy ran back into carnage and extended its human hand

Read the rest of the poem at the Queen Book Buff blog

Light of the World: Be the Change.

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The Queen Book Buff is a book lover. She is a Mom, a reader, a Christian in ministry, a writer, and a wee bit royal. She blogs about her joyful journey with books. It is a beautiful blog. She is one of the people in this world that calls me “pastor,” and every time she does, I am humbled. And it pleases me to call her friend.

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40 Notes in 40 Days

40notes40days2014Rethink Church has come up with a great Lenten discipline focusing on taking pictures of different themes.  It looks like a great spiritual discipline, and I’m looking forward to seeing the creativity that gets shared in Pinterest and other sites.  A week ago, I decided that one of my Lenten disciplines would be to write 40 notes to people in 40 days.  Inspired by Rethink Church’s effort, I created my own list.  Below is a list of 40 different people to write a note to.

There are no real rules to this idea.  This is just a way to write a note to 40 different people, and pray for them in the process.  I’ll leave the content of the note up to you.  Only share what you feel comfortable sharing with others.  For example, you don’t have to tell someone that you’re writing them a note to fill in their “might be fearful” slot, and you don’t have to offer forgiveness to the person on March 27.  Any note could be as simple as saying, “During the course of my prayers today, you came to mind.  I hope you are doing well.”

And if any readers feel compelled to take this idea, and create a better-looking picture to share, I wouldn’t mind (just please send it to me before you share it).

If you try it, and want to share experiences on twitter, use #40Notes40Days or #FatPastor.  Also, you can go to the facebook page and share on the wall.

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Thank you to two readers who took the idea, and redesigned it for me. I think either of these look a lot nicer than the one I created a couple of years ago.

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MLK quote in cover photo dimensions

MLK quote in cover photo dimensions

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929)

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January 15, 2013 · 12:54 pm

Redesign

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything since my 5K a couple of weeks ago.  I’m in the process of rethinking this site.  When I started blogging three and a half years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing.  I knew little about tags or RSS feeds.  I wasn’t on twitter, and facebook was an interesting new fad.  As this site has grown in popularity, and as my knowledge and social media connections have grown, I feel like I’ve outgrown this old template.  Over the next few days I am hoping to redesign the site.  I’ve been thinking about what sections I want to keep, what sections I want to ditch, and what sections need to be added.

I’m also researching the costs of adding a new design, a new logo, and new domain name.  This will take some conversations and prayer with my finance department (my wife and me) as we decide how we can invest more into this ministry. My hope is that by the end of the month, there will be a new, streamlined, more professional Fat Pastor site.  Thanks for following my journey to live well and do good in the world.

If you’re interested in investing in this ministry, please let me know in the comments section.  You don’t have to leave your actual name, but you do need to enter your email address so I can get back to you in a more private way. )

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In Case You Missed It

All I can say after the last week of activity on The Fat Pastor is, “wow.”   On November 15, I posted the blog called “Err on the Side of Grace.”  My faceb0ok status that day told my 72 followers that the blog had just reached 70,000 views.  A few days later I posted “Congratulations Coach,” my commentary on the Penn State tragedy.  A few days later I sent that into a newspaper in hopes of being selected as their “Guest Sports Columnist,” a gig which would have given me a sports column every five weeks for an unknown amount of time.

Then one night I decided to create a picture.  I worked on it for a few hours.  I agonized over the wording of it (I had about four different versions before going with the Micah 6:8 version).  I posted it, shared it and then something amazing happened.  In the 12 days since posting it, over 68,000 people have come to The Fat Pastor.  It took one day for December 2011 to be the second busiest month on this blog.  In this short time period I’ve added over 800 FB fans and 125 email subscribers.  The picture I created has been shared 837 times.

So now I have this new following, and I can’t help but think, “I’ve written some good stuff before that picture.”  It also kind of bothers me that the most popular blog I’ve ever written “Happy Holidays,” is also the sharpest, angriest blog I’ve ever written.  I’ve written 197 other blogs, and some of them (I think) have been pretty good. 

So this post is for all the new followers.  Consider it my “Greatet Hits.”  They might not be the most popular blogs I’ve written, but they are a few that tell the full story of what this site is all about.

And it Was Still Hot – Where the Wild Things Are was my favorite book as a boy, and this was my reflection about the movie before it was released.

Doug Rees – My wife and I saw Doug in a very intimate concert, and had a great time.  It was a night of great music, and the beginning of a friendship.

Why Church? 

Why I love baseball 

Come to the feast – What does it mean to “do this in remembrance of me”?

10 years later in a 9/12 world – A reflection on the 10th anniversary of 9/11

Translators Needed – To speak the gospel to a new generation, we need to know the language.

USA! USA! – A response to the death of Osama Bin Laden

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Inspiration

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