30th May 2024

A little postcard goes a long way


During the week, the youth of Sale Baptist Church keep an eager eye on their mailboxes, hoping to receive one of the handwritten postcards of encouragement that their leaders regularly send.

At the end of each youth group event, during their debriefing session, the leaders write these notes as a fun and simple way to communicate their encouragement – things like acknowledging young people’s actions, supporting the sick, or showing that they are thought of and missed.

Associate Pastor Lauren Pearce remembers the church sending postcards about 10 years ago when she was in the youth group, and she thought it would be fantastic to resume the idea.

“I still have some of my postcards stashed away that my youth leaders sent to me, and so do other youth leaders! It has huge impact potential. Sending mail isn’t a new idea of course, but it actually is quite novel for this age group. We wanted a way to follow up the youth that was easy, very transparent and made them feel really cared for. This is a time-effective way to follow up that makes them feel really special.”

Lauren and the team have been sending the postcards for around a term and already they are highly valued by the youth. “They all talk about it at youth group – about who received one this week, or wondering who will be next to get one. It’s like they’re waiting for Christmas! Snail mail is not something that’s very common anymore, so it’s exciting to receive.”

The postcards have many benefits. They can be decorated in the youth group’s logo or an image relating to a recent major event which keeps church fresh in their minds. They are open and transparent for parents to read. Every person gets followed up over time. And postcards are inexpensive to make and send – Lauren designs them online and prints them out.

“We have a lot of youth from non-church backgrounds, whose families get to see the type of support and encouragement we give to young people. They get a sense of our church and the way we notice and care about their child. It’s little things like this that make you feel like you’re a part of something, and it is noticed when you’re not there. Kids pin them up so they can read them or as a reminder of the great time they had on camp. They’re in their hands, and in their spaces, reminding them that they belong.”

The only downside is that it takes a bit of organisation – Lauren and the team keep a careful, up-to-date database with names, addresses and a record of who was away. She said this record-keeping is vital as this enables her small team to do a good job of caring for the large number of young people who attend.

“For the benefit that the youth receive, it’s not a huge amount of time required. We do it because we love people. It’s great to be able to tell people, ‘I loved what you shared at youth group last night’, or ‘I love that you’re a part of the family here, it was so good to see you’, or ‘You’re so funny!’ We show them and their families that we believe in them, and for a young person that’s really significant.”

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