Interview with Christopher Gallagher
1. Tell us about your blog.
The Preacher’s Pen website started off as a small communication tool and has evolved into a full fledged website offering articles, sermon outlines, PowerPoints, eBooks and other resources to assist others in “creating a better day today for a better life tomorrow based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
2. How did you get started as a blogger?
The Preacher’s Pen got started when my family and I were moving to South Carolina and the site allowed family and friends to keep up with our move and the congregation. When we moved to Mount Pleasant, the congregation was only two years old and people wanted to stay in touch with our work.
As the work grew so did the Preacher’s Pen website, even evolving it into a site with plenty of free resources. I pray the Preacher’s Pen website continues to grow and develop throughout the years.
3. What are the best lessons you have discovered through the years?
Focus on your top three abilities and spend 90% of your time there! As a minister, I get called on to do many things: from preaching to fixing a toilet at the building to visiting the sick. In the midst of a day I need to ask myself what my top three abilities are and then encourage others to step up and take charge. I do not have to do everything, but I must do something. There are others who are much better in their given field or gift, and I need to let them use their God-given abilities and focus on mine.
The more readers you have, the more varied your feedback will be, so get ready for any feedback you can imagine. As the Preacher’s Pen website has grown, the feedback has been great; some very uplifting and some very disgruntled. People from all over the world have visited the site and contacted me publically and privately to express their appreciation, thoughts and criticisms. I have learned that each comment and email is a step to growing as a writer and speaker. Let every comment be an encouragement because you are challenging others and they are challenging you.
Other lessons I have learned are:
- Read more to write better.
- Carry a notebook (not a cell phone) and record ideas and information to develop later.
- Pray many times about what you are doing. Prayer works in amazing ways.
- Share your ideas with others; they will assist you to grow in your abilities.
- Write a lot, even if you do not publish everything.
- Don’t “sugar-coat” your message, readers know.Be honest, yet sincere.
- Thank God everyday for the abilities you have!
4. What is your strategy for promoting your website?
Promoting the website starts with networking. I have found Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email to be great tools to promote the Preacher’s Pen website. Facebook has allowed me to connect with Networkblogs and publish my material so it shows up on my personal Facebook page as well as the Preacher’s Pen Facebook Fan Page.
Twitter and LinkedIn allow me to reach a totally different crowd than Facebook because I have a different set of followers on Twitter and LinkedIn than Facebook.
I also add my websites to the signature file of my email and that has generated various visits. Surprisingly enough, people still check out the signature file of an email.
Another way I promote my website is talking about it. Whenever I hold a meeting or preach somewhere I mention the website and let the folks know there are resources on the site they can download for free and some resources they can even adapt to their congregations.
5. What are your feelings about Twitter?
Twitter is an excellent communication tool if used properly. Twitter only allows for 140 characters, so your messages need to be concise. Twitter can provide a powerful addition to spreading your influence on the Internet. I have had people recognize me at lectureships because of my Twitter account.
Twitter also allows me to keep up with the writings and sites of others. I believe a communication tool like Twitter can provide some powerful connections with everlasting results.
6. What is your strength as a writer?
First, I am my most active critic. I see my strength as a writer to be brainstorming (aka – development). I love to take an idea and develop it to its full potential. Take the ‘Stop Doing Church” information on the Preacher’s Pen That series of lessons, PowerPoints and resources in the “Stop Doing Church” series started as one article and has developed into many different things as a result of a brainstorming session. This is an example of what I mean by brainstorming (developing). I love taking one idea and developing it into a series or a workshop format.
7. In what areas can you grow as a writer?
Patience. Many times I have developed an idea and I want to get it out as quickly as possible, so I write it fast and publish it. Sometimes I do that too quickly and I should have spent more time developing the topic. I will go back later and revise the article or paper.
I have found that in order to write better, you need to read more. Finding time for reading and even reading books about writing will be vital to the future of writers. Reading what other people write and say about writing expands our thought process and in turn develops us as writers.
8. What plans do you have for the future?
My plans for the future are different than they were five years ago. I believe God has opened, is opening and is closing some doors in my life. I have found writing and speaking to be two of my top three attributes where I need to spend the majority of my time. Spending the majority of time on my top three abilities will open doors and also assist others in “creating a better day today for a better life tomorrow.’
With many prayers involved, I have made the decision to venture into the motivational/corporate speaking world. I believe the combination of writing and speaking can feed off each other and create some powerful opportunities. My long term plans are to leave “local work” and becoming a full-time motivational/corporate speaker (as well as to churches). Finding an income outside of “local work” will provide opportunities to travel and encourage across the nation. More information can be found here.
In hopes of a speaking career I have created a website called “The Gallagher Institute.” More information can be found at the site.
9. How important is the design of a blog?
The design of a blog is important because people like to see a fascinating design, but then if the content is not solid and even consistent, readers will leave. Specifically, I have found the menu bar (also called the navigation bar) is vital to spreading the influence of your blog or site. Directing people to the resources they need will keep them coming back for more and more information.
10. What do you see is the future of spreading the gospel online?
Unending and limitless…the power of technology is something to be grasped for its full power. With so many social networks, communication tools and ways to spread information, Christians and churches need to take advantage of the technology in front of them.
If the church does not take advantage of the resources, another group will. If we have the truth, then why aren’t we using each available means to share it? Technology should not scare us, it should encourage us to accomplish more each day!