Monday, October 13, 2014

Texts of Encouragement

What comes to mind when you think of being a encourager in your congregation?  Are you thinking along the lines of committees, cards, programs, postage stamps, bookmarks, flowers, crafts and dinners? More power to you.  Not me.  I am woefully short on creativity, natural thoughtfulness, and social inclination.  So I lean in a different direction.  I'm thinking, "TEXT them!"  


A few simple steps will make you a master text encourager.

1. Pick up your church bulletin.  Bring it home. 

2. Be sure you can locate your church directory at a moment's notice.  (If you are serious about this consider taking an hour or so and entering the entire directory of mobile numbers into your phone.)

3. On Sunday afternoon read the bulletin carefully looking for places where your encouragement might be appreciated. (Pay attention to the fact that some people-especially those over 50 and under 12-may not have capability to send and receive texts)
  •  Kids who have big events- games, tests, performances (If your bulletin doesn't include this kind of detail keep a pen handy and write it down as you hear about it.  You could put it on the bulletin itself or keep a little notebook in your purse.)
  • Adults with doctor's appointments, serious or permanent illnesses
  • Anyone who missed services due to illness
  • People with something to celebrate including birthdays, weddings, babies, new jobs


4. Take 10 minutes max and make a list on your calendar (right there on your smart phone with reminders would be best) of people who need texts on specific days.  Usually one text per person per week is adequate however if there is some emerging situation they may need more.

5. Take 10 more minutes and pray for everyone on the list.

6. Then each day when the reminder comes up, spend 5-10 more minutes sending texts to check on them and to tell them you are praying.

Now what might those encouraging texts say?
"Have a safe game and do great!  Said a prayer for you!"

"We missed you Sunday.  Hope you're feeling better!"

"I know things are busy with the wedding next week but I just wanted you to know I'm praying!"

"Get bored, give me a call!" 

For the advanced texter let me suggest adding a scripture! 

There are a few pitfalls to avoid as well. 

Pitfall 1. The overly familiar text
Situation: A new family at your church is asking for prayers but no details are given.
Text: Hi!  So tell me what's going on?!  XXOO
Lesson: Respect others privacy and don't assume that your role as encourager automatically makes you closer than you really are!

Pitfall 2: The critical text
Situation: Family missed church for the the third week this month because one of their kids has a really busy soccer schedule
Text: Are you seriously selling out for soccer!!!
Lesson: Texting is not the venue for confronting a sister or brother about problems in their lives.  Ever.

Pitfall 3: The nosy text
Situation: You hear through the grapevine that a young couple at church is expecting.  You don't really know them well.
Text: I hear you have some good news?!  Share!
Lesson: You are trying to encourage not confirm/pass on gossip!

If you are a person who can hand stamp a beautiful card onto parchment, using calligraphy to write a heartfelt note, I know it will be more encouraging than my quick text.  More power to you!  If you feel called to a regular ministry of sending cards, or want to organize a secret sister program for your church, you have all my respect.  Do it!

However, if you are like me, with an unlimited text plan on your phone, no crafty skills under your belt, and a busy schedule, I want to wholeheartedly recommend you take up the mantle as your church's master texter.  

Helene

PS- I have whole video coming out soon tied to this and my new book!  I can't wait to share it with you!

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent ideas! I'm sure those at your church love the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete