How Do you Provide a Personal Touch In an Impersonal World?
During a time of restricted personal interaction, we have had to get creative in how we connect with one another. Many of you have heard me refer to “social media” as the “anti-social media,” because it provides a way for me to communicate with people without having to have a personal relationship with them. Additionally, it has created an environment where people say inflammatory things they would never say if they were face-to-face with someone.
But, I have to admit that the anti-social media has proven to be a valuable tool and even a lifesaver in recent weeks. However, instead of looking forward to calling someone I’ve never met a friend, it has provided me a way to stay connected with family, friends, and co-workers.
During multiple conversations with pastors on dozens of zoom meetings, I have consistently heard stories of how they are using technology to stay connected with people. And it goes way beyond putting sermons or worship services on-line. Personal phone calls, text messages, zoom meetings, and prayer notes are just a few of the ways pastors are caring for their flocks. Let me share two somewhat “old-fashioned” ways that have been used to put a personal touch on things.
One was by Pastor Aaron Householder of Southview Baptist Church in Lincoln. He had his secretary put together church member’s addresses in specific areas of the city, and then he stops by for a quick visit: rings the doorbell, steps back the prescribed social distance, and visits with those who came to the door. What he anticipated would be a quick ten-minute stop, has often turned into a 30+ minute, greatly appreciated conversation.
Another example was used by Kelly Wallace who is the children’s minister at LifeSpring Church in Bellevue. She bought A BUNCH of ding dongs and made snack sacks for each of the church families who had preschoolers or children (yes they were prepared in a hyper-sensitive sanitized manner). Then she enlisted volunteers who went to each home. They rang the doorbells (ding dong) and using approved socially distanced methods, they shared the snack sacks which along with the ding dongs included a cute card that said, “Knock knock. Who's there? Justin. Justin who? Just in the neighborhood and thought we’d say hello and we miss you!"
When I heard the story, I asked Kelly, when’s the last time you went to the home of all your families? The answer was never—we wouldn’t normally have time to do it. I affirmed her efforts and suggested that the children and their parents will always remember that you stopped by. And not just because of the ding dongs or the cute card, but because you cared enough to provide a personal touch in the midst of a very impersonal world.
Mark is in his twenty-seventh year of serving as an Associational Missions Strategist. He served in western Iowa for almost eight years, and is in his nineteenth year with HCN. He has a passion to see pastors and church leaders grow in their abilities to lead their churches. He continues to have a heart and desire to see new churches planted and God continues to use his strategic thinking skills in this area. Mark also has a wealth of experience in helping churches clarify who God has created them to be, and what they can do best to reach their community. He has had ample opportunities to help churches in times of conflict, and has seen God do exciting things to restore a spirit of harmony, returning churches to a time of fruitfulness. He also helps churches in transition by working with search committees. Mark and Phyllis who were married in November of 2018 have four children and three grandchildren. They will enjoy their combined 87th anniversary in just a few days.