For the pastor busy with study, counseling, administrative duties, hospital calling, and program planning, the U.S. Postal Service can serve as an able assistant. I have found letters work well in building rapport with the people of the church I serve. The kind of letter I mean is one the pastor writes in his own words, personalizing it to the receiver, not a mimeographed letter. (We make some exceptions to this, which I will mention later.)
Occasionally handwritten notes are fine, but most handwriting is not as legible as it should be. It is best to stick with the typewriter. The letters should be brief and to the point. The paper should be good rag bond and the letterhead printing simple and distinct. Resist the temptation to load your letterhead with pictures, numerous Scripture quotations, symbols, and the like.
I keep a carbon copy of each letter in a permanent file. It serves as a reminder of what has been said, and is interesting to review in the years to come. I have found the following types of letters to be effective:
Visitors’ letters. Every visitor should receive a letter from the pastor letting him know his visit has been appreciated. We use two types. First, to those from out of town visiting only once we send a simple preprinted card that I sign:
We are most happy that you attended worship with us last Sunday. It is our wish that the service may have been such an inspiration that you will want to attend again when visiting our city.
All other visitors receive a typewritten letter that usually reads as follows:
We would like to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation for your presence in the service Sunday morning. We trust you found the service inspiring and meaningful, and that you will want to attend ...1
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