We insert communication cards in our Sunday bulletin every week for the purpose of communication! J When New Life members and attendees drop their cards in the offering baskets, they are brought to me so that I can follow up on them.
Mainly three things are communicated through the card. First one is urgent prayer needs. In addition to using yearly prayer request forms, I use prayer needs that are written in the communication cards to pray for the members each week. Second one is classes or ministries. New Life members can indicate what classes or ministries they are interested in taking or serving in through the card. And third one is message to staff. Our members can use the card to write messages to the staff to encourage them, ask questions or make any suggestions.
There are some members who always turn in their cards to ask me to pray for them. I truly appreciate them for doing this because this shows that they believe in the efficacy of prayer and also trust that their pastor will pray for them.
A few members always turn in their cards with “Thank you!” or “Great job!” written in the back bottom portion of the card with their names signed. So, I know who they are. And I am thankful that they feel thankful towards me and the staff.
A couple of members often turn in their cards with some sort of suggestions to the staff. They do this with their names signed. This past Sunday, one member wrote this message to me:
“PE, please list the names and prayer requests of the churches who are doing HC ministry – you can do this on the monthly prayer handout.”
These members are very special to me because they think and care about church deeply to make it better. And when they make suggestions, they do it very respectfully. I sense that there is love, respect and trust between us.
However, every once in a while, some members turn in communication cards with comments that are negative or disrespectful. And they do this anonymously.
The danger of turning in or sending messages anonymously is that we tend to say things to people we normally would not say to them face to face. Some people think that saying whatever that is on their mind however they want to say it is a sign of courage. It maybe. However, saying anonymously whatever that is on our mind however we want to say it is not a sign of courage but cowardice. Moreover, when comments are made anonymously, we have no way of knowing the context and no possibility of having a dialogue to understand each other better. Negative comments that are turned in anonymously is a sign of disrespect and mistrust. In order to build trust between two parties, they both must walk towards each other speaking the truth in love and respect. Therefore, we the members of New Life should not do such things. There is a better and higher road to take.
If you have any comments or suggestions to me or other staff and you want to convey them using the communication card, then please do so with your name signed. If a comment or suggestion is something that can be responded to using a phone call or email, I will do that. If it will require a meeting, then I will do that also as long as time allows according to the order of priority and importance. And if/when I correspond or meet with you, I will listen to you and hear you out fully and completely. This does not mean that I will do exactly what you are suggesting to me that I or church do. But I will listen to you and see if there is anything that we can do differently to make things better at and for New Life.
As usual and also going forward, I will not pay attention to any message that is turned in anonymously. Therefore, let’s use our communication cards appropriately and respectfully.
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 John 1:5-6)
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