One year ago today I began this journey! It was a year ago I started working on this website, www.passiontoknowmore.com - Connecting the Dots.
And so all day I am going to be humming, Happy Anniversary, Baby, got you on my minnnnnddddd. Love that song by Little River Band.
It all started when one of my students in my Connecting the Dots of the Bible class stayed after class and helped me carry things to my car. She has a national women's ministry website and she said, "Carolyn, you just have to get a website and put this stuff on it." At first I was like, "No, I just want to teach."
I was sure about the content of my classes. I had spent countless hours over years developing them and revising them to make them interesting and informative. Many people don't understand the basics of the Bible; why it is organized the way it is, how we know the text is reliable, the biblical historical eras and how the time between the testaments prepared the way for our Savior to be born, key words in the Bible to pay attention to, geography then and now...
I am a gifted teacher, but I didn't know that when I began. I was quite nervous when I first started teaching and when I actually did it, I was really surprised by the way people responded. I was very aware of James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. I had to make sure what I conveyed to my students was truth so I would check my sources and facts over and over. Then I realized I was a role model for some and that made me uncomfortable. While I have come a long way in my spiritual journey, I am still very much a flawed individual. God still has a lot of work to do on my mind, heart, and actions. Head knowledge sometimes takes awhile to get to my heart and transform me.
I was teaching classes of 4 to 24 people at a time. Small in what I could reach by the internet. The word wasn't getting out about my classes. Let's just say no one was knocking down my door. I had dreams of going to Davidson College or UNC- Charlotte and teaching Connecting the Dots of the Bible to their student ministries. I wanted to reach the youth at churches in the area before they went off to college. I wanted to reach adults so they could teach this information to their children and grandchildren. And so I prayed about it.
My friend continued to encourage me and I decided to start this website. I'd like to say initially God told me to do this. He didn't. That confirmation came later when I wanted to give up.
Talk about a learning curve! The technology was challenging to say the least. I really struggled to do anything. Want to change the mobile view? - I'd do one thing and it would be all screwed up! Want to add social media, comments section, pictures,...? Nothing was easy. It would take 3 hours to fix something I had messed up. The help desk probably knows me by name. Deciding if I wanted to be an affiliate of any company and how to go about doing that. Trying to figure out copyright law - can I use this picture or quote? But as the year went on it got easier.
At first I wasn't going to do blogs - just set up a page with my classes on it. But I was encouraged to blog at least a little just to get people to visit my site. What would I blog about? I'm a teacher, not a writer. I'd write something, it was awful, delete, begin again. Then God very clearly spoke to me to write about what I teach about. And blogs started to pour out. I wrote 74 blog posts this year!
And then the whole Analytics thing. I became a bit obsessed with numbers. Hardly anyone was visiting my page. And so I read articles about promoting websites and how to market. Discouragement would set in. Why am I spending hundreds of hours doing something hardly anyone is reading? Wouldn't my time be better spent teaching to small groups? Discouraged. Prayed.
My friend said it takes awhile before people begin finding you. She also said my posts are somewhat convicting. This comment I gave a lot of thought to. Another person said 'I was too scholarly.' I don't know if you have perused the internet for Christian websites. There are a gazillion out there. So why do mine? A lot of them are fluffy, feel-good, encouraging, kind of devotional type sites. A lot of them are just look up information, commentary sites. And some are very scholarly. So I thought about the content of my site a lot. Do I make my site fluffy to gain readers? No! There are too many fluffy sites already out there. By that I mean they have little substantial content. Was I really too scholarly? No. You all are intelligent and I wanted to treat you as such. I don't like this trend to dumb down to the lowest common denominator. Was my site convicting? Perhaps. But that is because I'm trying to balance between telling you how loving God is and getting you to recognize how holy He is. I wanted to teach you key concepts and the mechanics of the Bible. I wanted to pique your interest and encourage you to read the Bible for yourself. I wanted to explain ideas I had wondered about on my journey. No, the content wasn't going to change. I wasn't going to fluff it up, dumb it down, or focus only on God loves you. I wasn't going to push product and advertisements on you. I was going to treat my reader like an intelligent human being.
But discouragement often set in because of the lack of people reading what I wrote. And then someone would tell me she checks my website regularly to see if I have posted anything new. She said she has read every word and she is new to Bible reading. A woman at work told me she thinks it is so good and interesting and reads my blogs. One of my former students is one of my biggest supporters. And I just found out he is starting seminary! Every single time I would get discouraged, God would immediately bring someone in contact with me who poured encouragement into me. God made it very clear it isn't about the numbers and so now I very rarely check the webpage analytics.
And besides the challenging technology issues and lack of numbers, discouragement came in another form. A couple of my very close Christian friends are strangely silent about the whole thing. I have gotten absolutely zero support from them. Why I wonder? These are women I count as my sisters in Christ. And deafening silence. I honestly thought they would be my biggest cheerleaders. It hurt my feelings for a long time. Not so much anymore because God continues to ask me, "Who are you doing this for? Are you doing this for affirmation from them or for Me?" "Where is your heart? Are you doing this for My glory?" "Are you going to be obedient or not?" I am doing this website because I feel an urgency to share what I've learned. I don't know the number of my days. I want you to know the truth I've found in my search. I truly believe if you read the Bible it will transform your life. And I want you to read It. Yes, I'm doing this for Him.
And so I focus on those of you who are reading this.
The internet is a strangely anonymous thing. People who aren't sure they buy into this Christianity thing or believe the Bible is God's Word are curious and can spend time in the privacy of their home checking it out. I don't know your story. Maybe you think Christians are judgmental or brainwashed or ignorant. We aren't. Maybe you have been burned by a Christian (I'm sorry) and so you write the whole thing off. But a voice in your mind says "What if it's true?' It is. Maybe you never were taught about the Bible and you want to learn. Maybe you are in a dark pit and need encouragement. This website is for you. My prayer is that you find what I post to be genuine and that it encourages you to read the Bible.
I don't know how God is using this website. I just know He is.
So HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Passion to Know More!
Happy Anniversary baby, got you on my minnnnnddddd.