The Power of a Hand-Written Note

August 20, 2017 — 4 Comments


Hand-written 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, much less a hand-written note snail-mailed to a friend. The average home receives a personal letter in the mail every seven weeks.

In our wired world, hand-written notes seem to be a waste of time and money. Who would have thought 50 years ago that a postage stamp would cost much more than wireless texting through the sky? You can fling 160 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 hand-written notes. It’s not just for nostalgia. There are good leadership principles found in a hand-written note.

Investment. Hand-written notes take time. Time is money. Money is important. When you take the time to write someone a hand-written note, you are sending a message that is greater than the few sentences contained in the note. A hand-written note demonstrates personal investment in an individual.

Beauty. Even if you have sloppy penmanship, there is a beauty to hand-written 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 hand-written notes. Electronic communication is permanent but in a different sort of way. Hand-written notes are memorable to the person, not just contained in the memory of the computer.

Gratitude. Hand-written notes show gratitude in a much greater way than other forms of electronic communication. You don’t typically ask for things in a hand-written note. Hand-written notes usually have thankfulness as their purpose.

When do I use hand-written notes? Our staff sends a signed card to every person we pray for in our weekly staff meeting. I also write notes weekly to church members who minister faithfully. I only write two or three a week, so I cannot write the vast majority of my church. But 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, especially if I had the opportunity to meet him or her.

Take the time to write a hand-written note. Make it a weekly habit. You might be surprised at the fruit from such a simple discipline.


Sam Rainer

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Sam S. Rainer is the president of Rainer Research and the Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Rainer Publishing.

4 responses to The Power of a Hand-Written Note

  1. I spend every Monday morning, writing hand-written notes and letters. They have proven to be a valuable part of my ministry throughout the years. I would encourage every staff member, especially the pastor to make this a regular part of their weekly routine.

  2. I love these words of wisdom. A hand written note is a labor of love and love is the greatest investment one can make in the life of another human being. People are genuinely touched and inspired when they receive a note or letter. So, keep writing.

  3. I started writing a verse or note of encouragement to several college students from our church each week. At the end of the school year, each one sent me a picture of their stack of cards and letters. It made an impact!

  4. I always hand write thank you notes; even for work. It is a lost art which makes it more special.

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