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2016: A Year in Review

Each year, we try to take a little peek back at the previous 12 months. Each time we do that, we are grateful.

We are so thankful that anyone actually comes to our site or subscribes to our email list, but when we look back on the previous year, we see that thousands have read our posts and/or listened to our podcast. Trust us, we are humbled!

Goals for 2016: Reviewed

We try to set goals for our site each year, and 2016 was no exception. We met one of the goals, and got very close on the other two.

We set a goal of crossing 1500 subscribers to our site through email. As of when this post is being written, we are well over that goal, at 1581.

We set a goal of having 1750 Facebook “likes” for our site. We did not reach that goal, but are very close, with 1647.

Finally, our goal was to average 600 downloads per podcast (within the first month of release). The average is slightly over 400 per episode, which is still very encouraging.

Top 10 Posts of 2016

The following list shares the 10 most viewed posts since January 1, 2016. Keep in mind that these articles were not necessarily written this year, but they have garnered the most views this year. (Original publication date in parenthesis)

10. “On What to Wear in Worship” (October 12, 2016)

9. “What about Sunday and Wednesday Nights?” (January 5, 2016)

8. “An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue church of Christ” (December 4, 2014)

7. “You Think You’re the Only Ones Going to Heaven?” (January 19, 2016)

6. “How to Vote as a Christian in the Upcoming Presidential Election” (October 11, 2016)

5. “About Video Games in Worship” (May 18, 2016)

4. “Hymn Reflection: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” (July 5, 2013)

3. “7 Reasons Why We’ll be in Worship on Christmas Day” (December 14, 2016)

2. “5 Things Elders Need to Hear Regularly” (August 10, 2016)

  1. Are You Church of Christ?” (June 1, 2016)

Goals for 2017

With all that in mind, we begin to think about the upcoming year. As we said earlier, we want to set some goals. These are not done for our own pride or just for the sake of “numbers.” Instead, we set these goals to motivate ourselves to try to get this material before the eyes of as many people as we can.

So here are three goals for the upcoming year, but we hope to reach and exceed them all.

Email Subscribers. This is, easily, the most important goal, because it helps us track how many people are desiring the content we produce. By the end of 2017, we hope this list has grown to over 1800 subscribers. If you’ve never joined the list (which is totally free), you can do that here.

Facebook “Likes.” The vast majority of the traffic to our site comes from Facebook, so it is important for us to grow this page. We would like for it to at least equal our email list, so we want to have over 2000 likes by the end of the year. If you’ve never liked our page, here it is.

Produce Podcasts All Year. Our podcast has been hit-or-miss in the past, but we have really started to stay on track in the last few months. We produce a program every two weeks, and that is our goal: to never miss a program–producing one every two weeks–throughout all of 2017. (Though we may have a change in format coming. That’s still in the discussion phase. Stay tuned!) If you’re not familiar with our podcast, or would like to see what we have produced so far, here is a link to our archives.

Conclusion: Thank You!

This site exists because of you. You come here. You share articles. You interact with us on Facebook. You download the podcast. We are grateful and humbled by it all.

So, as we start heading toward 2017, we take this opportunity to say a heartfelt “thank you!”

Merry Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving

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Our Podcast Returns Next Friday: Here’s Why You Should Care

After a short break for the summer, our podcast from A Legacy of Faith will return next Friday.

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First of all, let me define the terms. In case you don’t know, a podcast is like a radio program, but is broadcast online, and can be downloaded or even delivered directly to a tablet or smartphone. So, in addition to our usual “text” articles that we share on A Legacy of Faith, we have an “audio” format, too.

The program features Adam as the host of each episode. In some episodes, he is alone, but most of the time, there is a guest with him. That’s why you should care: the list of guests we have lined up for the fall is impressive!

This summer, we have worked hard to set up a list of programs for the fall, and some have even already been recorded. Guests that you will hear from this fall include Westley Hazel, Brad McNutt, and Jeff Archey. In addition, Leah will join Adam on a couple of programs (including next week’s), and there is even a special “roundtable” discussion with Jim, Donna, Adam, Leah, Mary Carol, and Turner!

If you are new to our site, or just have not understood what a podcast is before, take a few moments and visit our archives. This page shares more information about the podcast, and also contains links to all 59 previous episodes.

We are thrilled to be back with you starting next week, and the podcast will continue through the end of the year. We will release a new episode every other week until the end of December. Make sure you subscribe if you use iTunes (or another podcast app on your phone or tablet), or come back every other Friday to listen on our site. Either way, we look forward to sharing A Legacy of Faith: The Podcast with you again, starting next Friday.

Am I a Participant or a Statement-Maker?

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The football team of the University of Alabama will be playing for the national championship tonight. (I can almost hear the “Roll Tides” from some of the readers of these words now.)    

Before the non-sports fans among us quit reading, this post is not about football. It is not really about any sport for that matter.

While the idea came from a quote made by the head coach of the Alabama football team, the application is about a philosophy of life. More specifically, it is about how I see my role as a child of God.

Just after Alabama won the semi-final game, I watched a television interview with their coach. The reporter reminded him that his team has lost the semi-final game last season. He was then asked what the difference was in that game and the game this season which his team had won convincingly. 

I found his response fascinating, interesting, and challenging. He said (and I think this is a direct quote), “Last year, we just sort of participated. This year, we made a statement.”

As I listened to his response, I thought that the first part was basically “code” for: “We just went through the motions last year. Our hearts were not really in it.”

I’m wondering if people who know me see my concept of Christianity as “just sort of participating.” As they observe how I choose to use my time, talents, and energy, does it look to them as though I’m just going through the motions? 

Even if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, is it evident that I am motivated by a sincere love for the Lord and burning desire to please Him? After all, Alabama ran plays, made tackles, and did all of the other things a football team normally does in both games. According to their coach, the difference was in attitude and effort. 

It might be a good idea for all of us to look into the mirror. Much more than an athletic championship is at stake.

In the words of the apostle Paul (who used athletic analogies): “…Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown” (1 Cor. 9:25, NKJV).

In the final analysis, there is really no such thing as not making a statement with my life. I am making one every day. Others are observing every day. The Lord is observing every day.

What kind of statements are our lives making?

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A Week Off, But……..

We are taking this week off at A Legacy of Faith. We hope you enjoy this week with family and friends, and we will return on Monday, December 28 with a week of posts dedicated to preparing for the new year.

But…….

In this week off, if you are part of our Facebook page, we will link to some classic posts over the next couple of days. Maybe you missed one because you are a new reader, or maybe you’ll see one you just want to read again. You can be part of that page right here.

Have a great Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Look What’s Coming Back!

Today, we are excited to pass along some news that we hope will be exciting for many of you.

From the beginning of A Legacy of Faith, this blog has been the centerpiece of what we do. However, we also had planned a podcast to go along with the site. We waited a few weeks to get it off the ground, but then launched A Legacy of Faith: The Podcast. After 29 episodes, though, we closed it down.

Today, though, we are excited to let you know that the podcast is coming back!!!

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The format will be a little different, but we hope it is just as helpful as the previous programs. Instead of Adam and Leah co-hosting, Adam will be the solo host. (Leah will probably be on the program at times, though…I love being behind the microphone with her!) Also, instead of every post being about family, the program will reflect more what we do on the site. So, there will be some episodes about family life and some about church life. We might even do some book reviews at times.

Also, taking a cue from our friends at The Light Network, we are not going to produce programs every week throughout the year. Instead, we will take the summers off (as well as a few weeks around Christmas), and run guest posts during those “off” weeks. In total, we will probably produce about 30 episodes during each season of the show. The program will be released on Fridays now, instead of Thursdays, to keep our posting schedule consistent.

We hope this news is exciting to you. We are thrilled to relaunching.

However……..

we are not relaunching until Friday, September 4. So, why go ahead and make this announcement now? It is for two reasons:

1. We wanted to let you know about it now so that, if you are new to our site, you can be listening to our archives. As we said, we have 29 episodes already in our archives. You might want to take these few weeks until we relaunch to listen to them (or at least to pick out a few to enjoy). You can find those archives here.

2. If you listened to the show before–or if you are catching up on the archives–and have not done so, would take some time during these weeks to rate and review us on iTunes? A relaunch is difficult, because we will not be eligible for the “New and Noteworthy” section of the iTunes store. Therefore, it will be up to ratings and reviews to help us move up the search rankings in iTunes. Each rating and/or review really helps us with that. You can find us in iTunes here.

Again, we hope you are excited about this news. We want to produce all the good and helpful content we can to encourage you and your family. The podcast, we hope, will help us reach even more people.

So be looking for episode 30, the first of our relaunch, on Friday, September 4!

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Our 2014 Year in Review

A year that began as the Faughn Family of Four ended as A Legacy of Faith. This has been a major year of transition for our site, and we are amazed by the reception our family site has received. From Facebook likes to email subscribers to podcast listeners, we have been amazed by the way you have helped us get through the switch to A Legacy of Faith and then helped us hit numbers that we have trouble believing are real.

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So, as we end this calendar year, here is our 2014 year in review, and our plans for 2015. Enjoy!

Top 14 Posts of ’14

As 2014 comes to a close, we thought it would be interesting to see what articles drew the most views this year. Here are our top 14 posts, by number of views, from 2014 (publication date in parenthesis).

#14: “Before Your Kids’ Eyes” : 6 Things Your Kids Need to See You Do Daily (March 28, 2014)

#13: Why Your Son Doesn’t Answer: Understanding a Boy’s Brain (February 12, 2014)

#12: Welcome to A Legacy of Faith (June 12, 2014)

#11: Our Tearful Announcement (September 15, 2014)

#10: 5 Mistakes Parents Making (September 30, 2014)

#9: 10 Budget Basics for Families (March 12, 2014)

#8: We Homeschool, but You Don’t Have To (or, “Why a Lot of Homeschoolers Give Homseschooling a Bad Name”) (January 17, 2014)

#7: 6 Small Things that Erode Marital Trust (July 9, 2014)

#6: The Implications of Goodbye (August 12, 2014)

#5: On Disruptive Children in Worship (October 21, 2014)

#4: The Main Issue is Not the Role of Women (or Instrumental Music or…) (December 11, 2014)

#3: A Response to Victoria Osteen about Worship (September 2, 2014)

#2: Dressing Our Daughter for Who We Want Her to Be (March 4, 2014)

#1: An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue Church of Christ (December 4, 2014)

Some Observations from the Top 14

From those top 14 posts, and the rest of the articles from this year, here are some things we observe.

1. Draw a line at #14. These top 14 were clearly the top 14 posts, but interestingly, starting at #15, there were a lot of posts clumped together in number of views. From #15 through about #30 the numbers were almost exactly the same, as far as the number of views each post had. It was almost as if it were meant to be “14 for ’14!”

2. Mondays are not a good day for blogging. If I am correct in my calendar-ing, only 1 post in our top 14 comes from a Monday. No matter who is writing the articles, the middle days of the week easily get more page views than Mondays on a consistent basis.

3. Lists still draw views. We do not write a lot of “5 of this” or “10 of that” kind of posts. But nearly every post like that we have written this year was in the top 14 of the year.

4. Surprise post tops the list. Our #1 post of the year is also the most viewed post of all time on our site. When I wrote it, I didn’t think it would draw many views, and did not worry about how “SEO-friendly” it was. Sometimes, just writing from the heart touches a lot of people, and that is really why we have this site.

Plans for 2015 at A Legacy of Faith

With the year 2014 behind us at the end of today, what are some of the things we are looking forward to in the coming year? Here are some goals and announcements for the coming year.

1. For one thing, starting tomorrow, we are going to experiment with a weekly podcast, instead of having just two episodes each month. Several will be shorter, “devotional-style” podcasts (including tomorrow’s New Year’s program), but we think this will be fun to try. The plan is to try this experiment for two months and evaluate how effective these weekly programs are. (Don’t know about the podcast? Click here to learn more and find out how to subscribe for free.)

2. We also hope to continue to grow our email subscription list. This is the easiest way for readers to get our posts, and we want to see the number of subscribers grow. (More about that in a moment.)

3. Finally, we hope to have at least one new book produced in the first half of the year, and a few of other things–from free printables to other materials–throughout the year.

Goals for 2015

As the year begins tomorrow, we have some goals for the site. We do not seek these numbers just for the numbers themselves, but because each number represents someone else who we are honored to help through this site.

Email subscribers (currently 612): This is a big goal, but we would like to get the number over 1000 this year.

Facebook fans (currently 921): Again, this is a lofty goal, but we’d like to see the number nearly double, going to 1700.

Podcast downloads (currently averaging about 450 per program): We know these numbers usually grow slowly, so we would like to see our number grow to about 600 per program.

Help Us Reach These Goals

Join our email list for free. We’ll never spam you, and you will simply get our posts delivered to your email inbox, plus we’ll send you a free eBook.

Join our Facebook page.

The final way you can help is to donate to the work we are doing on the site. We do not seek to make A Legacy of Faith a big money-maker, but it does take money to run the site, blog, and podcast each month. In recent weeks, we have received a few donations to help, and we are touched by each one. If you are willing to make a donation to help with our efforts, every bit helps. Click here to make a donation–of any size–to A Legacy of Faith.

As we bid 2014 goodbye, we say “thank you” again. We enjoy putting each article, printable, and podcast out there for you to enjoy. Just know that every page view, email, podcast download, and interaction through social media helps spur us on to keep doing the best we can do with our little corner of the internet. Thank you for making 2014 so much fun.

We simply pray that 2015 provides even more opportunities to share encouragement and information with you and your family through A Legacy of Faith.

Lord willing, we’ll see you next year, and we’ll keep trying to help your family survive the day, plan for tomorrow, and always keep an eye on eternity!

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Photo background credit: Matt Crane on Creative Commons

Disagreeing without Being Disagreeable

Dealing with people, disagreements are sure to come. These disagreements are not always a bad thing, either. If we can keep the conversation civil and informative, we learn a great deal by working through disagreements.

Whether in face-to-face conversations, phone calls, or even through email and social media, disagreements are expressed through words. However, if we are not careful, we can let a disagreement spiral downward into something is unproductive as best, and downright destructive at worst.

Since we know that disagreements are sure to come, how can we still have positive communication experiences? Following are five suggestions, none of which I am perfect at, but that I know will help keep these times as productive as possible.

1. Discuss issues, not personalities. When the discussion turns to the personal, nothing good will come from it. While it is impossible to avoid having a personality, the issue at hand needs to remain the focus, because that issue is what is being disagreed about.

2. Keep the language clear, concise, and clean. When emotions are involved, this can be difficult, but using confusing or even cruel language help nothing. Further, while not everyone has the same “standards” of what is foul language, keeping language as genteel and civil as possible always helps in keeping the focus on the issue. (As a side note, this is one reason I try not to read a lot of blog comments. Too many people use sarcastic or cruel language, instead of clearly and cleanly stating what needs to be said.)

3. Talk about one issue at a time. When I have been asked to help with informal marital counseling***, this is one thing I do my best to insist on. There may be a myriad of issues to work through, but focus on one at a time. There is no reason to try to solve three or four issues at the same time, because it is virtually impossible to gain depth in the conversation. Work through one thing at a time to maintain focus.

4. Use your mind primarily, not your emotions. This is the hardest thing on this list, in my opinion. When we disagree, emotions are naturally in play, but they simply cannot drive the conversation. Emotions that are out of control lead to accusatory language, or phrases like “you never” or “you always.” When emotions are strong, it is also much more difficult to remember the real context of the disagreement. Let the other person know how you feel, but do not let those feelings drive how you express yourself.

5. Remember that non-verbal cues matter, too. Of course, in the digital world, it is impossible to read sarcasm or to see someone roll their eyes or smile as they talk. And that is one reason that face-to-face conversations are always preferred in times of disagreement. They are not always possible, but when people can sit down and talk, we can not only hear what is said, but notice how it is said.

There is nothing wrong with disagreements, and even passionate and heated exchanges are going to happen at times. But God’s people should be the ones who know how to disagree without being disagreeable. It is easier said that done, but with the help of God, it can be done. May we all work to that end.

***When I speak of counseling, I am not a licensed counselor, but am asked quite often to help others. Any suggestions I give are from a person just trying to help, not from one with a degree.

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