Pastoral Pointer: Take Some Time and Write a Note

Since caring about people is foundational to pastoring well, then any tangible way to show members or guests that they matter is invaluable. Few things have the impact of a personal note written on distinguished personalized stationery and finished with a wax seal.

Obviously, fountain pens are available at many price points and you can certainly find a hobby (or an obsession) collecting them, but if you are just entering the world of fountain pens or need one that will serve you well without a great expense, I recommend the excellent LAMY Safari with a broad nib, coupled with a robust and eye-catching ink. For the best writing experience and another way to demonstrate a careful attention to detail, invest in some high quality correspondence cards. I found my custom letterpress cards on Etsy. And to make your letter really stand out in the recipient's pile of daily mail, round out your effort with a wax seal, on the envelope.

No matter how well you write or what stationery you use, the most important element of a personal note is the sincere love and concern you communicate. People have an uncanny ability to see the truth of a caring heart and the pretense of an empty one that's just trying to gain an advantage. That's the difference between a true shepherd and a a hired hand. Jesus put it like this:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

(John 10:7-18 ESV)