005: Pastoral Communication Strategy
There are loads of different ways in which a pastor can communicate with the members of the church.
Face-to-face in-person meetings.
Phone or Zoom.
Text or WhatsApp or other forms of messaging.
But which one should they use? The answer is, it depends. Whilst in-person, face-to-face meetings are ideal, they are not always possible.
Reagan Rose has written a really helpful article on creating a personal communication strategy to help you strategically minister to people especially using technology to communicate.
He notes that in the New Testament we see both a desire for face-to-face in-person communication (see 1 Thessalonians 2:17, 3:10; 2 John 1:12), but also the use of technology (letters) to communicate when this was not possible.
In choosing which communication strategy to use, he highlights two factors to consider: Warmth and Time-Commitment. Warmth refers to the “personal-ness” of the communication whereas Time-Commitment is the amount of time required to communicate in this way. The warmest communication (in-person, phone, Zoom) is also the communication that has the highest time commitment.
One other point he notes is that the types of communication that are warmer and with the greater time commitment are also those which is better for conversation (synchronisation of a time with other person required), whereas the others for correspondence (synchronisation of a time with other person not required).
How can I put this into practice and use these different forms of communication in my role as a pastor.
1. Face-to-face in-person meetings: Plan 1/2 pastoral visits a week (with the aim of visiting every household in the church each year); Personal interactions before/after services and other meetings (in post-Covid world).
2. Phone or Zoom: Plan to phone a member each day ending every call with pastoral prayer.
3. Text or WhatsApp messaging: Plan to send 3 texts a day to ask for prayer requests or to let people know that I have prayed for them. In addition, WhatsApp broadcast lists are a great way of sending daily encouragements (a verse of Scripture or a quote) and devotional notes on passages of Scripture.
“If you keep a prayer list why not commit to sending an encouraging text to everyone you pray for that day? Just keep it simple, “Was praying for you about X this morning. Hope you have a great day!” (Reagan Rose)
4. Email: Plan to send 2/3 emails each week with news and updates about church life [you know about mailchimp, right?]
5. Letter writing: Plan to send 2/3 postcards each week to let people know that I have prayed for them and what I have prayed for them.
Have you got a plan for pastoral communication?
(Photo: Julia Joppien)