Interested in writing for The Creative Little Church?
Before you go any further, our writers are NON-COMPENSATED. If you’re still interested, keep scrolling!
By submitting an article to our site, you are stating that you have read this page and agree with our standards.
WHO WE ARE:
Thanks for your interest in contributing to The Creative Little Church!
We’re on a mission to transform small churches by changing minds about small church ministry and providing resources and encouragement for healthy small church ministry. More than a website, The Creative Little Church is a community of people in small churches focused on joining God where He’s at work.
Guest bloggers are not compensated, but most enjoy the benefit of greater social media presence and promotion, backlinks, and connection to an amazing community.
In addition to guest bloggers, we have a team of regular Content Creators who contribute to our site at least monthly in specialized ministry areas. Our team of Content Creators arises from those who are actively invested in our community and have proven to be reliable guest bloggers. We look for writers who follow our guidelines, are involved in our community, and take initiative. If you’re interested in being featured on our website as a regular Content Creator, write a few posts, get active in our community, and reach out to Laurie @ thecreativelittlechurch.com
Regular Content Creators, in addition to the benefits mentioned above, are gifted with discounts to a variety of CLC resources and have access to additional leadership training.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines and recommendations for each piece of content that you submit.
GUEST POST GUIDELINES:
All guest posts should be written to meet the needs of small church ministry. If you are a Bible Study writer, we have created a space to offer Free Bible Studies through The Creative Little Church! Click here to check out those guidelines.
Guest posts should fall into one of the following ministry areas: Women, Children, Youth, Worship, Creative Arts, Outreach, Special Needs, Missions, Prayer, Church Communication/Media, Administration, Leadership, All-Church Events, and Volunteers. Our audience loves step-by-step solutions for events, activities, volunteer development, and more. Please familiarize yourself with the content on The Creative Little Church; more of that is what we are looking for.
Length & Content:
Articles should fall between 1000-2000 words in length, contain specific actionable content, and be written clearly and professionally.
The author of the post should be actively involved in small church ministry and be writing from experience. Occasionally we accept posts by those in larger churches who have a knowledge and love for small churches and have something specific to share to benefit our audience. By submitting a post, you are stating that you have read and stand in agreement with our Statement of Faith, Ministry Philosophies, and Core Beliefs. Click here to read >>What We Believe.
The focus of the article should be to encourage and equip small churches. Any self-promotion posts will not be considered, although a single link to a helpful article or resource is encouraged.
We love short sentences, bullet points, and lots of subheadings. Articles featuring lists, headers, bullet points, and/or other engaging formatting are preferred and go to the top of the pack!
Author Box for Self-Promo:
We use Gravatar for our author boxes. Once your article is accepted, we’ll reach out with the easy steps for you to set this up. You’ll be able to include a brief bio with your article that contains a headshot and links to your website, social media, and/or available books, services, or resources.
More Guest Post Content Tips
- Headings & Subheadings. Yep, we’re saying it again, because it’s that important! Break up your content so it’s easy to read.
- Lists and Bullets. We’re huge fans! Most people skim articles more than they read. They are looking for valuable points they can apply. Bullet points make this easy.
- Natural, conversational tone. We want to share content that is authoritative, but not robotic. Our audience loves personal and practical rather than stuffy or overly-professional.
- Shorter sentences. If a single sentence exceeds 2 lines, that’s not good. We live in an ADD world, so please don’t make people work too hard. If we have to re-read a sentence to understand it, we’ll probably change it.
- Active voice. If you don’t know the difference between active and passive voice, please look it up! Keep your article engaging by using active voice. Example: Susan married Bob. (YES!) Susan and Bob were married. (NO!)
- Positive & hopeful. We maintain a friendly, forward-thinking culture. In addressing challenges, we don’t do sarcasm or fatalism. God is always bigger.
- Think “How-To” not “Look what I did!” Keep your article less about your own experience and more about THEIR future experience. Instead of telling them how your event went (first person), give them clear steps to their own success (second person) – more like a HOW-TO article than a testimony.
Even MORE Guest Post Content Tips
- Original Content. We don’t accept duplicate content as guest posts. If your post has appeared anywhere else on the web, we can’t publish it on our blog. You’re welcome to tease the article on your own website or in your newsletter with a link to the full copy on The Creative Little Church.
- Name your sources. If you use any statistics, link back to the original source – not another blog post.
- Talk from experience. Talk about mistakes you’ve made and programs you’ve led. Draw on your own personal experience to speak about what you know.
- Include the word “small church.” Please include the phrases “small church” or “small churches” or “small church ministry” throughout your article and in at least 2 of your headings or subheadings. If that doesn’t fit your article, then your article probably isn’t right for us.
- Internal & external links. We’d love it if you’d link your post to 2-3 other related posts on The Creative Little Church website. You may also include one link to a related post on your own website (in addition to your Author Box) or on another authoritative site.
- No images. Because of branding and the fact that we don’t have time to check copyright issues, please don’t include images. We will create a title image for your post. If you feel an illustration is necessary to the content of your post, email Laurie @ thecreativelittlechurch.com to inquire.
- Spell Check before you send. Before you submit, please copy and paste your post into Grammarly or Microsoft Word and run a spell check. This will save us time in editing and make it more likely that we will publish your post.
FOR A SUPER GREAT POST DO THESE 3 THINGS
1) Pay attention to SEO.
If you want people to find your post, DON’T BE CREATIVE in titles & headings. [yep, it’s true!]
We want people to find your article, so focus on being clear and obvious in headings & subheadings.
Think about what people will be searching for if they try to find your article. What will they type in the google search bar? Those are the words you want in your headings.
Here’s an example …. say you’re writing about how to have a pajama day for children’s Sunday school: Pajama Day Fun (NOPE! Terrible! A Sunday school teacher will never find this!) Pajama Day Theme for Children’s Sunday School (YES! PERFECT!)
2) Format your post well.
Don’t worry more about word count than content. If your topic needs more or fewer words to explain clearly, please go for it and submit it. We’ll let you know if it’s too long or short. We don’t enforce a strict word count on the blog, but most articles fall between 1000 – 2000 words.
The best blog copy is skim-able and meets a need. Keep sentences simple and clear and don’t use fluffy vocabulary. Use your natural voice, avoid unnecessary filler words, and lead to a solution to a real problem!
3) Journey from a need to a solution.
Here’s a great outline to follow when you are writing:
- Begin with a clear 1-2 sentence opening paragraph: what is this article about? (This is the meta-description of the post that appears in a google search.)
- Grab attention with a short story, a promise, or a claim.
- Gain interest by defining the problem. (What do most churches do wrong? What are the pain points? Why do you need to read this?)
- Outline the solution with clear steps (often progressive), bullet points, and facts.
- Get them dreaming about the outcome if they put the solution in place. Remind them why it’s worth it!
- Grow their confidence. Reassure them they are not alone and that they can do this!
Check out these 3 articles for examples of what we love. All three are fabulous examples of Great SEO, Great Formatting, and a Great Journey from need to solution:
- >> 5 Steps to a Perfect Lock-in for a Small Youth Group by Laurie Acker
- >> 3 Things Your Small Church Should Know about ADHD by Holly Sharpe
- >> 7 Ways to Build Community on Your Worship Team by Amy Satterfield
STYLE GUIDE: FREQUENTLY CAUGHT ERRORS
We’d love it if you’d fix these before you submit:
- The word “Bible” is always capitalized when referring to the Word of God. The word “biblical” is not.
- Leave only ONE space between sentences. (If you grew up with the 2-space rule between sentences, this was before digital publishing.)
- The words pastor and pastor’s wife are NOT capitalized, unless they are used as a title. Example: Pastor Mark Hensley (CORRECT) … the pastor said … (CORRECT)
- A 7-year-old boy is hyphenated. The boy was 7 years old is not hyphenated.
- The word “ministry” is NOT capitalized unless used in a title: 1) St. Mark’s Women’s Ministry held their first event (CORRECT). The women’s ministry at St. Mark’s held their first event (CORRECT). To have a great youth ministry … (CORRECT).
- Sunday school is not a proper noun, but Sunday is. Unless used in a title, here’s the correct capitalization: Here’s a great Sunday school idea! (CORRECT)
- For quotation marks, please follow this guide: https://www.thepunctuationguide.com/quotation-marks.html#adjacent-punctuation
- For ellipses, please leave a space – 3 …’s – and a space. If you want to … feel free to … you get the gist …
- For scripture quotations, please follow this format for references: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
- Worshiper and Worshipper are both correct, but we prefer 2 p’s. So keep it consistent: worshipped, worshipper, worshipping. Yep, 2 p’s please.
- If you abbreviate The Creative Little Church … we like The CLC. (not TCLC)
- For comma rules, please follow this guide: https://www.iue.edu/student-success/coursework/commas.html
- The most frequent comma error we see: apples, oranges and bananas (INCORRECT) … apples, oranges, and bananas (CORRECT) … yes, in a list there IS a comma before the “and.”
What We Won’t Accept
There are some things we simply can’t accept:
- Anything that’s been covered on our blog before. Please do a search of our site before submitting your articles.
- General topics that aren’t specific to a small church (under 200). Keep the specific needs of small churches in mind, and write to them.
- Anything that is self-promotional. We give you a shout out and a link in the author box – that’s where you get to promote.
- Anything that doesn’t agree with our Statement of Faith, Ministry Philosophies, or Core Values.
- Anything that’s overly critical of your church experience — this is not a site to air grievances.
The Not-So-Fine Print
- While we do naturally proofread, our time is limited. We hope by the time you send your article to us, it won’t require much editing. If it’s too much work on our end, we won’t be able to publish it.
- Once we publish your article, you cannot publish it on your own blog or anywhere else on the internet. So be sure you want us to have it before you send it in.
- The Creative Little Church reserves full editorial control and may edit or tweak submissions as we see fit. These tweaks may be large or small and include anything from removing too much self-promotion to optimizing for SEO.
- We also reserve the right to include calls-to-action to The Creative little Church content, including but not limited to upcoming events, email newsletters, ebooks, and other downloadable content.
- If people leave comments on your post, you should be happy to respond.
TO SUBMIT AN ARTICLE TO THE CREATIVE LITTLE CHURCH
- Email your article to laurie @ thecreativelittlechurch.com.
- Type “GUEST BLOG SUBMISSION” in the subject line.
- Google doc or PDF is preferred.
- Depending on our time demands, it could take a month before you hear from us.
- If we don’t feel your article is a good fit, we’ll let you know and you are welcome to submit the article elsewhere or publish it on your own site.
- If we decide to publish your article you’ll receive instructions on setting up a Gravatar for the author box. We can’t publish until you complete that.
- If we do publish your article, we’ll promote it on Instagram, Facebook, and in our weekly newsletter. Your article will be housed permanently in the blog archives and becomes the property of The Creative Little Church.