In recent days a few friends have shared with me how much they would appreciate a phone call from their pastor at this time. They've received numerous emails from their church with links to tune in to live-streamed services or access a small group via Zoom - but they would love to have a personal conversation.
It's easy to prioritise larger 'gatherings' because it's an efficient way to bring people together. But efficiency relates to speed, whereas effectiveness is about purpose. Effectiveness is marked not by how quickly a goal is completed, but how successfully a goal is achieved. Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, writes:
"It's good to be efficient--to achieve a goal with as little investment of time and energy as possible--but in some crucial things you can't be both efficient and effective."
Mass communication is efficient (you can reach lots of people in one interaction), it is not necessarily effective.
There is a need for both mass and personal communication at this time, but while I have seen much being made of the opportunities of technology for church and small groups, there's never been a better time for pastors to pick up the phone.
Today I read Don Whitney's excellent article '10 Questions to Ask When Providing Pastoral Care by Phone of Video Chat'. I imagine most church members would be thrilled to be asked these questions by their pastor.
Inspired by these questions and my own conviction of the benefit of one-to-one communication, I have created a resource that I hope will help you pursue this.
It is an online form that you can use to log phone calls with congregation members. It includes questions to use as prompts as you speak, and space to note any prayer points and steps for follow up.
You can see it in action here.
Here's how to get a copy to use for yourself.
You can then open the template, make whatever changes you would like. Then, switch to form view and you can start logging calls.
You can also enable email notifications to be sent to you or someone else - helpful for follow up and prayer.
* If you don't have an Airtable account and you sign up using the link above, you will get a free account and I will receive a $10 credit to my plan. I have used Airtable as the platform to create this template (and the free plan is very good), but there are many other tools you could use to achieve the same thing.