So… you have visioned, prayed, applied and been accepted to serve as an AIMer. Now what?
Now you start the check list (…the dozen or so checklists, if you’re anything like me), you know the one… the “I-have-so-many-things-to-do-and-I-don’t-know-where-to-start” checklist.
See… I knew you had it too.
There are many things on that list and a number of factors will influence how you prioritize the things on that list. If your AIM appointment begins 6 months from now and you must raise a $10K budget, fundraising and visa considerations better be pretty high on your prioritized list. If you have a longer lead time, then you have the luxury of being able to do a few other things first.
Marketing your Project…
The “M-word” is so UN-spiritual!
Yet it’s very necessary.
Really it’s simply a question of getting the word out about your project. The better you are at doing that, the easier some aspects of fundraising and ongoing support will be.
Enter… The BLOG.
A blog is not…
…something to replace official communication with AIM2Go leadership in St. Louis. There is still regular reporting that they need to see in their preferred format.
A Blog IS…
…simply a way to regularly communicate with your supporters, be they pastors, church-members or interested friends, about the following:
– Developments in the preparation of your AIM term.
– Happenings while on your AIM term: What God is doing both in & through you.
In our context (Short Term Missions), a blog is getting your message out… It’s
– Testifying to God’s faithfulness, goodness and His power to change lives.
– Raising the faith level of our supporters.
– Including supporters in victories won through their support.
By including supporters regularly… the term “Partners in Mission” truly becomes more than the name of a funding program… they do feel like partners in the fullest sense of the term.
How & Where to start a Blog?
I began my blog (AIMLong.ca) roughly 15 months before I left on our AIM appointment. I started early because our term was to be longer than typical term; as furlough replacements for the Brochus in France.
Where to blog?
I did a bit of research on the various blogging platforms and landed on WordPress.com, which I highly recommend! It’s possible to have a WordPress blog that is completely free.
*Note: WordPress.com & WordPress.org are NOT the same…
.ORG is much more complicated if you’re new to blogging.
How to start?
Start Simple. Give supporters and potential supporters the following basics:
Who: Tell them a bit about yourself and about those alongside whom you will be serving. Give them a reason to get behind you (but don’t over-exaggerate who you are… be confident but keep it real).
What: What role will you be playing during your term? We know you don’t know every detail at this point… but share what you do know.
When: When do you expect to begin and how long do you expect to be onsite?
Where: Where will you be serving and what needs are particular to the churches there and or the people.
Why: What is the “back-story”? How did you come to feel led to this AIM appointment, in this particular area at this particular time?
If you start off answering those questions… you’ve got the first building blocks of a great blog… dare I say it… a great “marketing tool” to help “sell” your vision.
Caution: If you have already checked out my blog… don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed, remember, it began in October 2013 with weekly updates since then (2x weekly during the first year)…
Breaking down Blog Content…
*WARNING: don’t let me lose you here*
Answering the five W-questions above gives you static content; content that does not regularly change. This essentially makes up a “website”.
When you make regular updates (eg. regular blog-posts)… you are adding what’s grandly called dynamic content.
A great site needs to have BOTH…
and WordPress.com makes that VERY EASY!
The Challenge: Setting up your Blog
SO… if it’s that easy, why doesn’t EVERYONE have a blog?
Like with so many things, “the devil is in the details”…
Many people would have very little problem posting regular updates (blog posts) to a blog, but they aren’t confident setting up their blog in the first place.
Can I help you with that?
If you are an appointed AIMer who…
- Recently began serving or will be leaving within the next 12 months,
- Is serious about wanting to include supporters & potential supporters and
- Feels unable to set up a basic WordPress blog structure on your own,
doesn’t know anyone who could help or
is financially unable to get help…
I’d love to help you…
I’m willing to take on 1 blog set-up per month – no charge – and will…
- …set up a 3-4 page website portion (for static content)
- …set up a blog area (for dynamic content)
- …customize it to you & your country (You provide images & theme ideas)
- …give you some pointers on how to add blog posts & make basic changes (remember, it’s WordPress… so it’s easy to learn!)
Here’s how it will work.
1. I’ll post a reminder on the AIM Forum toward the end of each month, for the following month. You’ll then have until the 4th day of the month to Email me your ‘proposal’.
Click here to email me.
(Please, please, PLEASE… write a complete email, introducing yourself, telling me a bit about your project, timeline, etc. Treat this email like a support letter to someone who might contribute to your AIM appointment. It doesn’t need to be a 6-page dissertation but it should be well-written.)
2. If more than one person contacts me by the 4th of the month… names will go into a hat & one of my kids will draw. I’ll spend that month, working with the person whose name was drawn, to come up with their site.
You’ll have 1-week to provide photos & information (I recommend having it all ready at time of submission). This will allow us time to build the site, make necessary tweaks and do a basic training.
The following month… everything starts fresh.
CONSIDER THIS the reminder for February.
If you’re interested… contact me by Feb. 4th.
Why help with your WordPress Blog?
My life has been totally CHANGED by Short Term Missions (STM) involvement (first trip in 1983) and many people invested in me so I could go.
(Want to read about my STM path; recent experiences & lessons learned?
Click here to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
When you confirm your subscription, I’ll immediately send you two PDF documents detailing my STM path)
I am SOLD on young people’s involvement in Missions… so if you’re serious about AIM and I’m able to do one thing to help you succeed, then we all win and God’s Kingdom is advanced.
Thank you for AIM-ing!
If you (or someone you know) are NOT an AIMer, but you’ve wanted to begin blogging and would like/need help setting one up. I’d be willing to help you as well, as a means of raising support for our own AIM appointment here in France. You could simply make a one-time donation via Pay-Pal: Email me if this is your case.