Moving On

This is the 777th post on BeDeviant.com. It’s also the last post on this site. There are also 777 words in this post. After seven years of actively posting, sharing, thinking, challenging and changing, I’ve decided to bring this journey to a close.

There are lots of reasons behind this decision, but I’ll briefly share three main ones.

Reason #1: Different Interests

It’s no secret that I’ve left my job working at a local church and joined the team at Monk Development. I’m also able to work with wonderful human beings like Charles Lee, Brad Abare and Tim Schraeder on a regular basis.

After graduating seminary, I realized very quickly that I did not want to be a local parish pastor. That might seem like the epitome of irony, or even that my experience at sem was negative. Quite the contrary, in fact. Bethel helped me to see, in fuller detail, the cost of being a pastor in the 21st century church. After graduating I quickly came to the conclusion: I am not a pastor.

Many of you reading this are, in fact, in pastoral roles. I cannot tell you how much respect and admiration I have for you. I’ve been in your shoes at one of the largest churches in the U.S. and can say, unequivocally, you have one of the hardest jobs on the face of the planet. The pressures, the demands, the struggles—you are most certainly gifted with a strength straight from God’s hand!

That said, BeDeviant.com was an online dialogue of the struggles I was facing as a pastor. The frustrations, fears and anxieties that I faced working for a church. Since I’m no longer on church staff, those struggles, thankfully, have disappeared. With that, most of my writing material has gone with it!

My focus is much more specific now, dealing primarily with web and online ministry. Rather than trying to continually morph BeDeviant into something it was never created to be, I decided it was best to simply stop the train.

Reason #2: Too Divisive

I was afraid this day would come because of the subject matter on this blog. My main intent through the years has been to challenge, but sometimes that’s difficult to do faithfully.

BeDeviant, by its very nature, causes eyebrows to raise. That can be a good thing until it isn’t. In the past 12 months, I’ve been asking the question if being divisive is what I want to be about. The answer, thankfully, is no. My intent, obviously, has never been to create conflict, simply reflection. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always translated well.

Some of  you have been hurt, angered and frustrated by the things I’ve written. I’m sorry for that. BeDeviant.com was started with the idea of challenging people to think differently about their relationship with God. I think BeDeviant has served its purpose in doing that, but at a price. Shutting this site down is me saying, “Holy Spirit, I trust you to challenge people where they need to be challenged. When appropriate, use me.”

Being a unified Body in this day and age, is more important than ever. I want to work towards doing that. I’ve tried to do that in the past few months, but moving in a direction is what’s need to make that happen more fully. Please join me!

Reason #3: Falling Flat

The traffic on this blog has plateaued for the past 12 months. I don’t think it’s reactionary to look at that and say, “This may be as high as the ceiling gets here.” If you know anything about blogging, you know that there are certain “niche” markets to get in to. I’m afraid the “Lutheran-postmodern-ex-pastor-theologically-generous” niche is all dried up :) .

That’s not to say the only reason that I write is for traffic, but the amount of time and energy that goes into writing a blog like this is, in a word, substantial. There are so many of you wonderful people who have read this blog since its inception and I cannot thank you enough for it. Your emails, notes, tweets and encouragement blesses me more than I can say. But sometimes, “You gotta know when to fold ‘em.”

So, What’s Next?

I’ll still be blogging. Quitting that would be next to impossible. I’ll be at JustinWise.net talking about blogging, social media, productivity, and my life (on occasion). I want to share what I’m learning in the space with all of you. I’d love it if you joined me or grabbed the RSS feed.

You can always reach me on Twitter as well. @JustinWise for those who don’t know!

Words cannot express what our conversations through the years have meant. I’ll simply wrap things up by saying “Thank you!”

May God bless you and yours.

Peace,
Justin

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10 Responses to “Moving On”

  1. Vince April 21, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    single tear

  2. Ryan Hervey April 21, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    “Lutheran-Postmodern-Ex-Pastor-Theologically-Generous” — if there was ever a reason for you to have your own t-shirt from Raygun, this is it. Throw a pic of you wearing a sweater vest above it. I’d buy that shirt. You could be the next generation’s Che.

  3. Melody April 21, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Having just come across Be Deviant last year, it’s hard to see the end of the website, but I have enjoyed going through the archive and will continue to do so for as long as it is up. You have been such a blessing and I love that you have caused Christians to think more about appreciating spirituality and spreading God’s message rather than making their relationship with Christ mainly about the politics of religion. Thank you so much! God Bless.

  4. Kyle Reed April 21, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Great stuff man.

    Miss this site but glad you will keep blogging.

  5. Buddy R April 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your heart Justin. I have enjoyed the discussions and insights over the past year or so.

  6. Derian April 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Been a fan of this blog for a few years now. I consider you a friend and love that you’re branching into new arenas that will continue to allow you to do the things you’re passionate about. You’ve certainly challenged things and caused exactly the reflection you’ve intended. I’ve had a number of conversations with those close to me that were sparked because of the content of this blog. I appreciate that you challenge people to seek out “why” they believe “what” believe!

    Thanks for all the hard work and dedication to this blog and for presenting the practical aspects of how God has influenced your life and what that looks like when you flesh it out. Your life models faith, risk, and passion. And I think God will continue to bless you in your life and ministry because of these things. And this inspires me, so thank you for keepin’ it real!

    I will definitely continue to follow your work at justinwise.net.

    Keep changing the world brother! God Bless!

  7. Sam Mahlstadt April 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    This has been one of the 2, sometimes 3 blogs that I don’t miss. Sad to see it go, but PUMPED for your transition, and what lies ahead, blogging and otherwise. All the best!!

  8. Graham April 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I’ve of course subscribed to your other blog now. It’s always hard to know when to change directions with a blog. I’m continuing to blog on my current blog but I know my subject matter is kinda all over the place. I’m starting to get serious about what kind of niche I want to grab next. Excited about what you’re doing next!

  9. Adam Hann April 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Excited to see what’s next for you. Thanks for sharing your reasons for shutting things down.

  10. Steve Brubaker April 22, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Justin,

    Thanks for a great blog that I’ve followed for the past couple of years. I, too, have subscribed to your new one. I like the challenges you’ve posed to this “old” man, but more importantly, as a “Brother.”

    Like you, I have a deep respect, appreciation and admiration for those who pastor the local church. I was a youth pastor in my early years, and I know, too well, the personal sacrifices they make.

    If I’ve learned anything in my 63 years, it is “embracing change” that makes our lives richer, fuller and worthwhile. So I’m excited to see you take this step in your life as you follow your passion; while assuring you that you will be rewarded in ways you have yet to imagine.

    I wish you, Kerry and Finn, all the best and Godspeed.