Hand-written notes are rare. Electronic communication has all but erased the whimsy of cursive writing. The average adult writes something by hand about every 41 days, much less a hand-written note snail-mailed to a friend. The average home receives a personal letter in the mail every seven weeks. A few luddites still exist because you can purchase disposable fountain pens on Amazon, but you can also buy a UFO detector there. I doubt either product is a mainstream bestseller.
In our wired world, hand-written notes seem to be a waste of time and money. Who would have thought 50 years ago that a postage stamp would cost much more than wireless texting through the sky? You can fling 160 SMS characters through the air in an instant. Why take the time to write a letter or send a card?
I believe every leader—especially pastors—should write hand-written notes. It’s not just for nostalgia. There are good leadership principles found in a hand-written note.
Investment. Hand-written notes take time. Time is money. Money is important. When you take the time to write someone a hand-written note, you are sending a message that is greater than the few sentences contained in the note. A hand-written note demonstrates personal investment in an individual.
Beauty. Even if you have sloppy penmanship, there is a beauty to hand-written notes. The slant and curves of letters give a glimpse into your personality. There is a vulnerable beauty to writing something by hand and giving it to someone.
Memory. People tend to keep hand-written notes. Electronic communication is permanent in a different sort of way. The email masses stay in Internet hinterland even after you hit the delete key. Hand-written notes are memorable to the person, not just contained in the memory of the computer.
Gratitude. Hand-written notes show gratitude in a much greater way than other forms of electronic communication. You don’t typically ask for things in a hand-written note. Hand-written notes usually have thankfulness as their purpose.
When do I use hand-written notes? Our staff sends a signed card to every person we pray for in our weekly staff chapel. I also write notes weekly to church members who minister faithfully. I only do one or two a week, so I cannot write the vast majority of my church. But the notes are as much for maintaining my humility as they are thanking a member. I will also occasionally write a note to a key national leader, especially if I had the opportunity to meet him or her.
Take the time to write a hand-written note. Make it a weekly habit. You might be surprised at the fruit from such a simple discipline. And if you want to use a fountain pen, then just click the link above.