As I have scoured the web for ideas on how to minister, serve, and bless others, I have been a bit amazed. Nearly every single suggestion I have seen has focused on a high-tech solution. Yet, our limitations in being with other people have made even the most introverted among us have a yearning for more human contact.
Yes, I know some of you who are introverted have joked with me about social distancing being the revenge of the introverts in a world of too much public life. However, the research I've read and the comments from friends in ministry all point to a deep need for low-tech connections with people whom we love!
So, in this week's "Living My MUSD" — say it as, "Living My MUST" — we are going old school, low-tech, and simple to do. Here are two suggestions for ministering high-touch instead of high-tech tech — and without really touching. (You can find out more about "Living My MUSD" in our first post.)
High-touch Ministry #1:
Write someone a letter, a note, or a card. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to send someone a note is to copy a picture of yourself and this person or a picture that is important to this person. Then, print it on half a piece of paper. Take a pen or marker and handwrite a simple note to them. Don't type it. Don't email it. Don't text your message. Write it out in your own handwriting! Then, address an envelope. Put a stamp on it. Then, mail your note.
If you are not a DIY card-making type, then you can order batches of cards without any message inside them. Boxes of several different types of cards are very inexpensive from online sellers like Amazon — not like those individual $6 and $7 birthday and anniversary cards! You may even get an ad for cards in this post or on your screen very soon, based on this post! The point is to handwrite a personal message!
Now, I know our germaphobes are going, "Wait, won't we spread the COVID-19 virus this way?" Or, "Can I get the virus from my snail mail?" From what I'm hearing, this is highly unlikely. Since it takes several days for mail to be delivered, you are not likely to be exposed or expose someone else. (Check out this article for more info!)
If you are worried about opening your mail, here's a safer process:
- Open the envelope.
- Throw the envelope away.
- Put the note in a sunny window for a couple of days.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Go back and read the letter in a day or two.
Are you still worried about sending or receiving handwritten notes? Have you forgotten what envelopes and stamps are? Here's a simple high-tech, low-tech combo solution:
- Use your phone to take a picture of your homemade card with your handwritten note.
- Text the picture to them.
High-touch Ministry #2:
Call someone on your phone. Call a different friend or family member each day! For most folks under 50 years-of-age, texting has replaced phone calls. Calling is reserved for necessary business communication and urgent issues for family and friends. If you don't believe me, try calling a baby sister or a millennial, Gen X, or Gen Y child or grandchild. You will be greeted by someone who is surprised and concerned and who wonders what is wrong. Or, if they know you are ok, you will likely be met by a voice mailbox and lecture later — "Don't you know you only call in emergencies?"!
Under social distancing, however, most of us still find something warm and loving in a familiar voice in a call or a face on a video chat. This is especially true when the calls and chats occur after working hours. (See the reminder cue below for a good time to call, video call, or send a note!)
We've got enough high-tech responsibilities these days as we teleconference for work. Our oldest loved ones who are not part of what they see as the craziness of our high-tech modern lifestyle love letters, notes, and phone calls. These people are the most isolated by social distancing, least adept at high-tech communication, and most appreciative of these low-tech gifts of love. So, let's make a little low-tech effort to love on our special folks!
Daily Reminder Cue
Last week we gave several reminder cues based on the U.S. way of keeping time — two 12 hour segments of each day. This week, we are joining the rest of the world and using the 24-hour clock. Each day at 6:24 p.m., or 18:24, we are going to set a phone alarm to remind us of the principle of Proverbs 18:24:
Friends come and friends go,
but a true friend sticks by you like [true] family (Proverbs 18:24 MESSAGE).
Part of "Living My MUSD" means I'm finding low-tech ways to show my love to those most precious to me. How about you? Maybe we will bump into each other in some low-tech way in the coming weeks at 18:24 as we spread the love!