I am ‘Young Blogger of the Year’

Well, this has happened now.

What an amazing evening last night was, and what a shock, honour and joy to win my category. I want to share a little of the evening with you all.

Let’s start at the very beginning

The awards were at The Brewery on Chiswell Street in London. Mel and I met with our friend James, all dressed in our best finery (I told you Mel’s dress was stunning!) and made our way there.

We immediately knew we were in for the classiest evening of our lives so far. It’s not that we aren’t classy people (we might not be), but in our lines of work we don’t often get to dress up, take drinks off trays being held by people, or eat food that good!

When we sat down, we got to know the folks on our table. They were fantastic company for the evening! On our left, the wonderful Gillian Scott – the man behind the brilliant ‘God and Politics in the UK’ blog site. If you haven’t seen it, check it out! On our right, Ian Paul and his wife. I read some of Ian’s books while I was at uni, so that was fun. He was there for his blog site ‘Psephizo’ (which isn’t as hard to pronounce as people made out).

I was thrilled by the results for our table. Gillian was named runner-up in the ‘Best Christian Blog’ category – that’s the big one – and Ian won the ‘Best Leadership Blog’ category. Then there was me.

The big moment

The ‘Young Blogger of the Year’ category was actually the first to be announced, so I didn’t have to wait long. As the nominees were read out, my heart started to beat very very fast. The brilliant Sam Hailes was then named runner-up, our host called for a drumroll, and I couldn’t believe my ears as I heard my name announced as winner.

Mind. Blown.

After receiving my prize, I was beckoned over to say a few words. Which I did. I had no idea what I was going to say until I was saying it, but that seemed to work out ok.

The truth is that I am very touched. It is such a joy to know that this blog, which is a hobby and a way for me to process my thoughts and beliefs, also blesses others. It is so gratifying to know that others find what I have to say useful, encouraging and worth reading. So thank you, right now, for being part of that and reading my blog.

My favourite thing

I know, without a doubt, what my favourite thing about the evening was. The best thing was that the evening exists at all. This event (the conference and the awards) is important.

As I found myself saying in my ‘speech’, I am part of a generation that lives online, that cannot do life – cannot process things, cannot be – without the internet. The online/offline divide doesn’t exist in our brains, really. Social media and social life are intrinsically connected.

So to spend a day ‘Re-imagining the Church in a Digital Age’ and then celebrating the many fantastic folk who are doing just that already is a brilliant thing. An important thing.

I was astonished as I heard about people in different categories, amazed by the quality, creativity and diversity of ways folk are being church in the digital age. I will probably point to a few in the next few weeks (the full list is here). We were told last night, “Tonight is about us affirming and valuing diversity… Awards are about the affirmation of that which is good.”

And I haven’t had a better, or more affirming, evening in quite a while.

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