Handwritten 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—even rarer is a handwritten note snail-mailed to a friend. The average home receives a personal letter in the mail every seven weeks.
In our wired world, handwritten notes seem to be a waste of time and money. Who would have thought fifty years ago that a postage stamp would cost much more than wireless texting into the sky? You can fling 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 handwritten notes. It’s not just for nostalgia. There are good leadership principles found in a handwritten note.
Investment. Handwritten notes take time. Time is money. Money is important. When you take the time to write someone a handwritten note, you are sending a message that is greater than the few sentences contained in the note. A handwritten note demonstrates personal investment in an individual.
Beauty. Even if you have sloppy penmanship, there is a beauty to handwritten 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 handwritten 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. Handwritten notes are memorable to the person, not just contained in the memory of the computer.
Gratitude. Handwritten notes show gratitude in a much greater way than other forms of electronic communication. You don’t typically ask for things in a handwritten note. Handwritten notes usually have thankfulness as their purpose.
When do I use handwritten notes? Our staff sends a signed card to every person we pray for in our weekly staff chapel. I also write personal notes to church members who minister faithfully. 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 or influencer, especially if I had the opportunity to meet him or her.
Take the time to write a handwritten note. Make it a weekly habit. You might be surprised at the fruit from such a simple discipline.