Behind the Scenes on this Year’s Top 20 List

Today I published the YS list of top 20 bloggers in youth ministry. It’s the second year for publishing it (third year I’ve done it) and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

I thought it’d be cool to pass along some notes from the process:

  • Overall, there was exceptional growth this year. In 2010, the YS Blog was the clear #1. Statistically, it was well ahead of the pack. This year that same blog came in at #5. What happened is that the YS Blog was largely flat in growth, lost its lead, then got passed by 4 blogs to drop it to #5.
  • There were a few new entries to the top 20. Kenda Creasy Dean, Greg Stier, Terrace Crawford, Rethinking Youth Ministry, and Doug Fields are all new to the list in 2011.
  • At quick glance, you’ll notice few women, which continues to baffle me. With what I index, there is a ratio of 5 men for every female youth ministry blogger. What’s weird about that is that the field is typically evenly split with 50% men and 50% women. For now, Kenda Creasy Dean and Kara Powell (Fuller Youth Institute) are our female bloggers. (Kara does about half the blogging for FYI, Brad Griffin does the other half.)
  • Looking at the rankings with a 3 year lens, I’m actually pleased with how the formula works. It’s 66% publicly available stats and 33% an influence ranking. (Who knows where that other 1% goes!) If you’ll look year over year over year, it’s cool that there aren’t wild fluctuations.
  • This list is pretty democratic. I’ll index anyone whose blog is on youth ministry, is active, (posted in the last 60 days) and has some statistical value. (Like… more that 25 readers per day top get into the top 100.)
  • Unlike last year, where we saw a HUGE drop off between #5 and #6, there is no dropoff in the composite ranking. There’s no drop off in the index and that carries all the way to #50.
  • Speaking of the composite ranking. Josh Griffin barely held off Mark Oestreicher for #1 this year. I wasn’t sure who’d be #1 until I added the very last numbers.
  • 2012 is “game on.” I think anyone currently in the top 10 could make a run at the top spot next year. There’s even a couple between 11-20 who could make a run at it.
  • On a personal note, it’s really cool to see my blog creep up from #5 to #4. I’m no Tim Schmoyer. But I’m getting there!
  • Last thing, this is a labor of love. I love doing it. And I have seen how these rankings have been used in the past 2 years, so I know that while everyone feels a bit weird about ranking bloggers… it’s ultimately good for the genre of youth ministry blogs AND it’s good for the visibility of the field of youth ministry.
Got questions? Leave me a comment.





7 responses to “Behind the Scenes on this Year’s Top 20 List”

  1. […] found adam mclane’s commentary, on his own blog, to be very helpful. like adam, i sure wish there were more women in this mix, but am glad to see […]

  2. Terrace Crawford Avatar

    Very interesting stuff! (Neat post idea too! Love ‘Behind the Scenes’ stuff).
    Would definitely love to hear more women voices in YM today.

    Honored (and shocked, really) to make the list this year. Thanks Adam!


    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Thanks Terrace. And welcome to the top 20.

  3. Chris Wesley Avatar

    Love the list, serves as a great way to learn from others in the industry. It’s great to see big names in the industry as well as a couple of new ones. Youth ministry blogging fascinates me because there is so much out there, I want to know what people are looking for when it comes to a ym blog and why youth ministers want to blog.
    Great job analyzing the statistics and giving us some behind the scenes.

  4. Jeff Goins Avatar

    To be honest, I don’t get these lists. What’s the point?

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Well, AIM has used this list before. Ha!

      It helps casual readers know who the players are. It helps those who blog in a niche` know where they stand with their peers. And with they YM list, it has added a layer of credibility to the niche` that wasn’t there.

  5. Kenny Campbell Avatar

    Adam, I love what you’re doing!  Thanks so much for providing this kind of stuff to youth workers like me!!!!  That being said, my wife and I lead the middle school ministry at our church and are launching a new blog on Tuesday called 

    The idea is to partner with the Body by making all of our resources available to anyone for free and allowing other youth workers to post and share their resources as well.  Every post includes a free downloadable and editable resource along with a video interview explaining how to use the resource.  

    I would be flattered if you checked it out and gave me some feedback.  I’m brand new in the blog scene and haven’t even read many blog posts before so this is all new to me.  I’d also love to chat about blogging in general and maybe gain some tips and insight from you.  My email is and like I said, the blog is  Thanks for all you do!

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