From age 11 to age 16, I had a pen pal. We were really consistent about writing to each other the first few years. But then, the letters became more sporadic until we found each other on Facebook and stopped writing. The fact that my pen-palship ended doesn’t change the fact that I loved and still love receiving mail. Honestly, even if it’s something that I know is coming or that I’ve sent to myself, I get really excited when I find it waiting on my doorstep or in my mailbox. And there is something so special about reading a letter that was written for you. I think we’ve lost the art of letter writing, and there is no better time to pick it back up!
During the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, my parents started writing letters to their parents. This prompted my sister to start writing letters to friends and family members on their birthday. Then I got to thinking: what if we took the time to write letters to people in our own congregation? What if we encouraged one another through letters? After all, many of the books in the Bible (particularly in the New Testament) were letters!
The first question you may be asking yourself is Who should I write to? Of course, the absolute best way to make sure that everyone receives a letter and feels loved in this specific way would be to organize a list and assign people to one another. However, I recognize that this would rate low on the authenticity scale and would take some manpower that you may not be able to find. This is supposed to be a simple tool to use to encourage one another! So that leaves us with who. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Who typically sits near you in the pews?
- Who is someone you haven’t seen since the pandemic started?
- Who has gone through a big life change recently?
Once you pick someone, if you don’t have the person’s address, look in the church directory or ask your pastor.
Writer’s block gets us all, even with letter writing, and especially if you haven’t ever written a letter. As church members writing to other church members, we have the unique opportunity to remind each reader of his or her place as a child of God. So what do you write about? Here are some ideas:
- Share something you’ve recently read in your Bible.
- Recount something that you learned in the sermon last week.
- Tell how your prayers have been answered this week.
- Relate your hopes for the next year.
- Tell which hymns you feel especially uplifted by and why.
- Share how are you hoping to connect with this specific person in the coming months.
- Tell what Bible verse encourages you.
- Recount what you need prayers for.
I hope you are ready to send some letters to people in your congregation.
Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:25–27)