We hope that each time you connect with those in your city with acts of kindness, generosity, and practical love you are giving out a “Connect Card.” Many well meaning folks ask, “Why use any sort of card at all? Isn’t that a ‘string’ when you say ‘no strings attached’?” The reality is that people may have questions or want to connect with you after being served by an act of kindness. This is a longer discussion than we have the space for here, but in short think of this:
- If all churches in your city were filled with the sense of God’s presence,
- That newcomers would be able to consistently experience the love and welcoming, accepting embrace of the members of that place;
- And those newcomers would consistently walk away from their weekend experience with the idea that they have been in God’s renewing presence, then indeed there would be no need for cards with any specific churches on them.
But alas, this is not the case in any city, or even small town that we know of. Thus there is a need to connect with people we are touching in a tactful way as we serve, love, nudge forward toward the kingdom of Jesus. The key word here is “tactful.”
When we first began using cards they read, “If we can be of more help, give us a call.” Now, over 20 years later and literally millions of cards, in several languages, those exact words are far from ideal. As of today, let’s move forward with a slight, but vital edit on that sentence.
Inaccurate Expressions of the Heart
The word that is way off in that sentence is “if.” We really don’t mean “if,” were we to sit down and chat for a bit. “If” implies, “You probably have a great life with very few problems, maybe no problems whatsoever…” And on it goes. The truth is, none of us / none of them are having a great time in life for the most part. We are all fellow strugglers. In Christ we have a deep, abiding peace. But life is difficult for all of us.
The following is a much better phrase for our cards:
“Call us when we can serve you next.”
“Give us a call when your next need arises.”
“Please call us when you have another need. Our aim is to show love, not simply talk love.”
“We look forward to connecting with you again soon!”
These differences may seem like slight variations to you, but they are huge to those who read closely. By removing the word “if” we are saying with each card, “You really do have pain in life like all of us. When that pain occurs again, we’ll be around. We are here for the long haul. Give us a call, we’ll be here!”
There are ways to charge up your connect cards and make them more effective. Getting rid of the “IF” word helps open the door for people who need help. Take the following tips to heart and put a caffeinated surge of momentum into your connect cards!
Avoid Super Cutesy
Not-yet believers roll their eyes at a ten meter distance when in the presence of anything “church cute” though, most believers are used to it and thus don’t notice. Often it is at a ridiculous level. Think of the $50 fake tip tract, “Do I have a tip for you!…” then with real money, they leave a 1% tip. Disgusting!
Some general rules:
- If it rhymes, don’t use it!
- No acrostics!
- Never, ever use a picture of the Bible with text saying, “Fight truth decay…”
This is a bit tongue-in-cheek but you get the message.
Do Convey Passion
People are hungry beyond words for passion. Not raving, nutty, holding a bullhorn stuff. That’s not passion. That’s often someone in need of a Thorazine drip.
Here is the mental picture you are shooting for… An invitation to a great party that is happening in town. The “Jesus party” that is happening at your weekend celebration, where all who come are being accepted, loved and celebrated regardless of their background and baggage. Acceptance is step one toward change. You were accepted into change whether you realized it or not. While we were “yet sinners,” Jesus was literally dying to obtain God’s acceptance of us. We love, we hug. Most importantly, we serve and invite! No questions asked. God’s Sprit does the changing. People either change or they grow weary of the presence of God’s Spirit and leave until later.
Give Away Your Number
The phone number printed on your connect cards is a very precious gateway into a connection with Jesus. People bold enough and ready enough to actually dial the number on the card that a was given to them by a follower of Jesus do not want to listen to your church’s automated phone menu or talk to the volunteer church receptionist. They want to talk to a pastor, the pastor. For over 25 years, I has been putting his personal cell number on connect cards. There are two things to realize:
- People do not call. Really, they don’t. The volume of calls coming from connect cards has been very low. Besides, it is not as though you have to answer your phone at all hours of the day and night.
- The people who do call are in real need. The people who take the risk of calling the number on your connect card have done so because they are desperate for help. They are the people you got into the ministry to reach in the first place!
Ready, Fire! Aim
There are numerous opportunities in your community right now where you can begin to show God’s love in practical ways. God’s Spirit is already at work and He is inviting you to join Him right now. So let’s get out there and show some love! And while you are at it, give the people you serve the opportunity to connect with you by putting a connect card in their hand when you serve them. If you don’t have a supplier yet for your connect cards, my team over at Kindness Resources has put together some great designs that get the message across well.