Almost every time I update the Top Church Blogs list, one question arises:
Where are all the Christian women bloggers?
It is a good question requiring several answers.
(1) Look at the Criteria
The phrase “church blogs” is vague, and with each new update to the list the qualifications get stretched to new definitions as I add more blogs. Since Church Relevance is a ministry-centric blog, it makes sense that in this context church is loosely used to mean blogs about ministry, ministry leaders, or living out the gospel in a way that fulfills the great commission.
To put it simply, a blog is a “church blog” if it offers content that is useful to ministry (according to my subjective opinion).
There are, however, a number of blogs on the list that do compromise a bit on this criteria. One example is prominent church leaders that are read because of their influence but whom lack substance to their writing. Another example is certain Bibliobloggers or theologians that do not directly discuss ministry but offer intellectual insights that could be useful to sermon preparation or be formative to key ministry philosophies.
A number of Christian women bloggers have questioned why some women make the list and others do not. The ones that talk about ministry or Great Commission-centric theology often enough get included as long as those posts represent a good portion of their overall posts.
The list has become popular enough that many would like to see it to include all Christian blogs, but doing so would make the list too broad scoped and worthless. Newspapers ask me to have their religion sections included. Political blogs have wanted in the mix. Christian poems, family blogs, crafters, current events, and potluck faith would like to be represented, too.
Currently, there are a few blogs I have been made aware of that I would like to add, but I know that if I do so, it would only be fair to broaden the criteria to include blogs that I know offer little to no ministry value.
(2) Some are Undiscovered
The only way I can improve the scope of the top blogs list is through reader recommendations. I know there are still great church blogs by both women and men that I don’t know about but should be on the list.
Please use the comments below to share your recommendations for blogs to consider for the next update.
(3) The Gender Gap (for now)
Historically, men have occupied the overwhelming majority of church leadership positions. As most of you know, this disparity is deeply rooted in denominational and theological beliefs. At the same time, there have always been more male bloggers than female bloggers.
However, the gender gap among bloggers has now shrunk to roughly a 60/40 ratio according to Technorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the percentage of women in key ministry positions also continue to grow significantly over the next few decades.
I think a significant gender shift among global Church influencers is inevitable because of:
- The progress made for women’s rights within the last century.
- The average Christian globally shifting from being a white, Western, 48-year-old male in 1907 to being a black, African, 28-year-old female in 2007 (see Philip Jenkins’ research).
(4) Look Closer
At first glance it may look like there are only 8/200 top church blogs written by 8 women. However, many of the blogs are written by multiple authors. So if you look closer and include the blogs listed as “Various” authors, you will actually discover that 41/200 blogs are written by 175+ women to some degree.
In other words, 20% of the top blogs are written by women.
- #3 – Faith & Reason: Cathy Lynn Grossman
- #7 – GetReligion: Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Mollie Ziegler
- #10 – The Resurgence: various women including Elyse Fitzpatrick, Kristen Gilles, Lindsey Holcomb, Rachel Jankovic, Julie Smith Lowe, Jen Schmidt, Hilary Tompkins, Trisha Wikerson
- #13 – Desiring God: Gloria Furman, Noel Piper
- #14 – Internet Monk: Martha from Ireland
- #16 – Christianity Today Live Blog: Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Adelle Banks, Morgan Feddes, Kelly Henderson, Annalisa Musarra
- #20 – Rachel Held Evans
- #21 – Compassion International: various women including Caroline Atuhwere, Katy Causey, Jill DeRaad, Vera Mensah-Bediako, Shaina Moats, Jacquie Parella, Nadia Soberanis, Amber Van Schoonevald, Gail Taylor
- #32 – Ministry to Children: various women including Mimi Bullock, Kristin Charles, Jenny Funderburke, Mandy Groce, Brandi Riddle
- #33 – High Calling Blogs: various women including Laura Boggess, Claire Burge, Michelle DeRusha, Dena Dyer, Lore Ferguson, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Lyla Lindquist, Deidra Riggs, Kelly Sauer, Christine Scheller, Charity Singleton, Emily Wierenga
- #34 – Church Marketing Sucks: Jennifer Armitage, Amanda Gagnon, Danielle Hartland, Kelley Hartnett, Katie Strandlund, Erin Williams
- #44 – Call & Response: Lisa Nichols Hickman, Carol Howard Merritt, Amy Thompson Sevimli, Melissa Wiginton
- #49 – Gifted for Leadership: various women including Ginger Kolbaba, Lindsey Learn, Marian Liautaud, Anita Lustrea, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Ashley Moore, Shauna Niequist, Eve Nunez, Gina Rago, Patricia Raybon, JoHannah Reardon, Caryn Rivadeneira, Beatrice Rusu, Sarah Scherf, Melinda Schmidt, Amy Simpson, Sherry Surratt, LaTonya Taylor, Kelli Trujillo
- #54 – ChurchLeaders.com: various women including Rachel Blom, Jody Capehart, Nicole Cottrell, Katelin Hansen, Lauren Hunter, Amy Fenton Lee, Brooklyn Lindsey, Gina McClain, Kem Meyer,
- #57 – Believe It or Not: Kate Shellnutt
- #61 – People of the Second Chance: various women including Joy Cannis, Sara Evanchick, Karen Hammons, Alex Headrick, Laurie Mackay, Lindsey Nobles, Kera Package, Alethia Schmidt, Desirae Schneider, Ashley Smith
- #63 – Catablog: Ashley Williams
- #89 – Church Mag: Danielle Luna
- #93 – Pastors.com: various women including Diana Davis, Cheryl Lewis
- #95 – Relevant Blogs: various women including Alyce Gilligan, Crystal Lovelass, Roxanne Weiman
- #99 – M and M: Madeleine Flannagan
- #112 – Godspace: Christine Sine
- #116 – Christ and Pop Culture: Erin Wyble Newcomb, Carissa Turner Smith, Erin Straza
- #118 – Modern Reject: Nicole Cottrell
- #120 – Think Christian: various women including Amy Adair, Diana Anderson, Alison Backous, Robin Basselin, Michelle Crotwell Kirtley, Kimberly Davis, Maureen Herring, Bethany Keeley-Jonker, Adele Konyndyk, Kristy Quist, Caryn Rivadeneira, Karen Swallow Prior
- #124 – Your Church: Marian Liautaud
- #134 – Small Group Dynamics: Amy Jackson
- #139 – Digital @ Leadership Network: Stephanie Plagens
- #143 – The Forbidden Gospels: April DeConick
- #145 – Nadia Bolz-Weber
- #155 – The Briefing: Sandy Grant, Rachel Macdonald, Jane Tooher, Jean Williams
- #156 – Black, White, and Gray: Becky Hsu, Margarita Mooney, Amy Reynolds
- #157 – Orange Leaders: Sarah Anderson, Sarah Bragg, Joy Bowen, Jennifer Davis, Kendra Fleming, Betsy Garrett, Amy Grisham, Kathy Hill, Cara Martens, Jessica McKee, Sue Miller, Beth Nelson, Kristi Porter, Yancy Richmond, Angela Simpson, Deb Springer
- #162 – Stuff Christian Culture Likes: Stephanie Drury
- #163 – Plywood People: Gisele Nelson, Kathryn Taylor
- #166 – The Evangelical Outpost: Renee Bolinger, Amy Canon, Robin Dembroff, Jennifer Gaertner, Jennifer Hardy, Rachel Motte, Lindsay Stallones
- #175 – Everyday Christian: Gina Burgess, Julie McElroy, Lisa Phelps, Lili Richey Willard, Judy Riddle, Dionna Sanchez, Amy Vogel, Brenda Wood
- #185 – Margaret Feinberg
- #191 – Christian Research Network: Erin Benzinger, Sarah Leslie, Christine Pack, Marsha West
- #192 – Faith Forward: Deborah Arca, Cynthia Bolbach, Jennifer Gutierrez, Erin Wathen
- #198 – Church Tech Today: Kim Conley, Lauren Hunter
So while there is a gender gap, keep in mind that the disparity isn’t just among gender. There is an even greater gap with racial disparity (most are white), and the greatest disparity is that very few of the bloggers are not from the United States. With time we can hope that things are better equalized.