Communications

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Going old school with paper products

With the ability to text and email at your fingertips, sending mail via the post office may seem irrelevant. But making the effort to create and mail a handwritten note can leave a lasting impression that you don't often get with a text or email. Photo by Paula Hayes courtesy of Unsplash.
With the ability to text and email at your fingertips, sending mail via the post office may seem irrelevant. But making the effort to create and mail a handwritten note can leave a lasting impression that you don't often get with a text or email. Photo by Paula Hayes courtesy of Unsplash.

In a world where many people own pocket-size computers, today’s technology-driven education and communication are no longer a novelty. If your church wants to garner attention, maybe it’s time to go old school.

 

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Because of the expense and the time, many churches have forgone paper mail in favor of emails. But cards, postcards and personal letters continue to be valuable means of communication. 

Messages sent via email or text typically provide little thrill. Opening your mailbox and finding something other than advertisements and bills can be a pleasant surprise. Making the effort to create and mail a handwritten note can leave a lasting impression. A card or letter can even become a keepsake or reminder of the sentiment.

Paper mail can offer encouragement to missionaries and be a blessing to persecuted believers.  

Birthdays and anniversaries are typical occasions for sending cards. But there are many opportunities to send personalized mail. At one Kentucky church, the pastors and leaders sign pre-printed postcards and send them to members for whom they prayed during their weekly staff meeting. A personal letter is also a great way to reach out to new members or first-time visitors.

Consider ordering supplies from local printing and stationery companies to support the community or online from companies such as Vistaprint

If you want to get creative, Canva and VistaCreate are two of the many sites for creating custom print products. At Mypostcard.com, users can create and send personalized photo cards. The company prints, stamps and mails them for you.

Since this kind of personalization can be a timely process, consider making a ministry of it. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

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  1. Determine how much funding you have for the ministry. 

  2. Identify what events/occasions warrant paper communication (i.e., birthdays, anniversaries, baby dedications, first-time visitors, new members, fundraising efforts, missions, etc.).

  3. Recruit volunteers. Depending on the size of your church and the scope of your ministry, you may want to divide them into specific tasks. 

  4. Have one person/group be responsible for birthday greetings and another for fundraising or special events.

  5. Be mindful of data privacy as you establish a way in which the volunteers access names, addresses and appropriate dates. In a small church, you may be able to provide a printed list of names, addresses and relevant dates. If you have a larger church, you may need to give a volunteer access to a database. At the beginning of each week, have an administrator retrieve and send the items. Another alternative is to provide volunteers with only names and have a staff member address and stamp the corresponding envelopes.

  6. Collect the appropriate stationery and stamps. Examples or templates may also come in handy. Create your own example or find online options. ChurchLetters.org offers more than 1,000 samples and templates. FreeChurchForms.com has church invitation letters. Handwrytten.com also offers examples of various types of letters and when to write them.

As United Methodists, we're called to be good stewards of the natural world and its resources, so introducing increased paper correspondence can raise concerns related to creation care

When starting or expanding a letter-writing ministry, be responsible. Consider sourcing paper products produced from recycled materials and recycle any discards. Items labeled as FSC-certified signal responsible material sourcing, production and supply chains.

Though it may take some adjusting to switch back to written correspondence versus using tech options, the impact made on the lives of recipients can far outweigh those little transition pains.


Tricia Brown

Tricia K. Brown is a writer, editor and public speaker. Through her ministry, The Girls Get Together, she seeks to encourage women to grow in their relationships with the Lord and each other. Her book, A Year of Yearning: A 12-Month Devotional to Help You Study God's Word More, is available from Amazon.