Why Leaders Should Write Hand-Written Notes

Blog 343 Fountain Pen

Sam Rainer

October 16, 2014

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. A few luddites still exist because you can purchase disposable fountain pens on Amazon, but you can also buy a UFO detector there. I doubt either product is a mainstream bestseller.

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 in a different sort of way. The email masses stay in Internet hinterland even after you hit the delete key. 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 chapel. I also write notes weekly to church members who minister faithfully. I only do one or two 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. And if you want to use a fountain pen, then just click the link above.

5 comments on “Why Leaders Should Write Hand-Written Notes”

  1. As a youth minister I have been writing cards for years. It takes a few minutes and I write with fountain pen in cursive. Why? Lots of reasons. 1. Tangible memories. Had a students mom tell me her daughter kept ever encouraging note and placed around her mirror. Took them to college with her. 2. Parents read them. Transparency and they know my heart as I encourage them. 3. Most students can’t read cursive so parents have to read to them. 4. It shows I took the time to write. 5. Birthday cards, special cards are not reserved for our youth. I write 2-5 cards weekly from our church wide prayer list. Just so they KNOW that we did pray and I saw it. I believe snail mail is a lost art and can be used effectively!

    1. Sam Rainer says:

      Good stuff Steve. I’m wish I could write with fountain pens in cursive. Ball point and block letters for me 😉

  2. Gregg Matte says:

    Great word. I try to hand write a note each day. I keep stationary on my desk and night stand so that it is easily accessible when I think “I should drop so and so a note”. Then I place them on my secretary’s desk with the name on a post it note. It all takes just a couple of minutes and I hear of church members keeping them after reading.
    Gregg Matte

    1. Sam Rainer says:

      Great idea Gregg. Being intentional like you is key.

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