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3 Ways To Communicate You Care Without Being There In Person

While they can't be there for every event and milestone, care teams have other ways to help congregants feel their presence in the moments that matter.

Pastors and care teams are often faced with the challenge of balancing a multitude of duties and responsibilities. While they would ideally attend every single event and gathering, the demands of their roles mean this just isn’t feasible. People don’t have to fall through the cracks; care teams have options and opportunities to deepen their connection to their people. We’ve listed a few ways below that you can use to show your people you’re thinking of them, even when you’re not with them.

1. Reach out.

Our desire to support someone in-person sometimes clashes with our schedules or our ability to get there. Often you may not even hear about the opportunity until the last minute. Thankfully, modern tech makes it easy to bridge the gap. It will never fully replace being there in person, but it can be just as meaningful that you reached out at an important moment in spite of your busy schedule. You’ve got a few great options:

Make the call. Your people will appreciate hearing from you during those critical moments because it lets them know their support network is there for them even when they can’t see you. Offer encouragement, express joy, or otherwise indicate your support – hearing your familiar voice will be reassuring.

Make it a video call.  Some of us haven’t fully embraced video calling as a regular means of communication, but it’s worth considering in the right circumstance. It can really help your people feel your presence when they can see you as you share in their milestones.  

Attend virtually. If this is for an event or celebration, ask them if they’re making it available virtually; nowadays people often stream special events for family or friends who can’t attend or travel. Ask if there’s a link where you can watch the event – and after, be sure you let them know you tuned in to share in the festivities.

2. Send a message.

Sending a message is a great way to let your people know you’re thinking of them – even better, messages preserve your encouragement and care in a format that they will probably revisit again when they need to feel supported. There are lots of great options for communicating your care:

Send a letter. A personal letter feels like a novelty nowadays, and can have the wonderful effect of making someone feel special. A handwritten letter or even a typed note with your signature will let someone know you were thinking about them when they didn’t even realize it. Your people will appreciate this special gesture.

Send an email. Everyone is using email these days, but don’t write it off as impersonal. A personal email from you that lets them know you’re there to support them during this time will cut through the daily noise and drudgery to provide a sense of reassurance and care. 

Send a text. Don’t underestimate the power of a text. Since we all communicate this way now it might seem low-effort, but think about this – you’re inviting them into a direct line of communication with you. This lets them know that not only are you thinking about them right now, you want them to know you are accessible. 

Send a video message. Taking a moment to make a special video message for someone is a simple but powerful way to let them know you care. It only takes a little more effort, but it feels so much more personal than text. As with a video call, your people will get to see the care written into your expressions. You can easily use your cell phone or use a more formal tool like Loom.

3. Send something special.

For special occasions, you may need something extra special to communicate how much you and the team care for someone. Let them feel your support with one of these great methods: 

Send flowers or balloons. Many people feel celebrated at the sight of fresh flowers, balloons or other gifts. These can be great options, but make sure they are paired with a great message and meaningful follow-up to ensure the gesture doesn’t come off as impersonal. 

Send a card. Though traditional, cards can help us communicate big ideas and deep emotions in graceful or beautiful ways. Cards are low-commitment keepsakes too, allowing your people to preserve your encouragement for when they need it again later. Just remember not to let the card itself do all the talking; add your personal touch with a note. Have you kept handwritten cards you have received over the years? Oh, just us?  

Send a care package. These packages can include notes of affirmation, scriptures, and resources that offer comfort and strength during specific situations or seasons. They might also include comfort items like food, special keepsake items like grief blankets or books they might find inspiring or comforting. This high-commitment gesture will show people the depth of your care.

4. Touch base later.

If you can’t be at the event, consider checking in later. While it could seem delayed or irrelevant because the event has passed, it can in fact offer a nice way for them to re-experience a positive event or get additional support for a difficult one. Here are a few great touchpoints you might consider using when you can’t make it on the day:

Invite them for a sit down. When you have to decline attending an event, ask them to drop in at a certain time so they can tell you all about it after. Express that even though you can’t be there, you want to hear all about it later. This lets them know that “not right now” doesn’t mean “never.”

Schedule a coffee meeting. A coffee meeting is a great way to get a recap of what you missed. This will feel like getting together with an old friend, and will help them understand you genuinely care for them, and that you’re invested in their personal journey.

A Note on Timing

When you send a message, make a call, send a gift or schedule a follow up, make sure the timing is right. Some touch points should happen in the days leading up to an event, especially if it is an uncertain time or if the day itself will be busy. Some things are best done on the day of, like birthdays or graduations – this allows people to feel you’re celebrating with them even when you’re not there. Other events require follow up in the days, months or even years after the fact; this lets people know that while an event has passed, it hasn’t been forgotten. Some things might require multiple touchpoints, and care teams will use their best judgment to show their people they care.

While busy schedules and multiple responsibilities may limit physical attendance at every event, pastors and care teams can ensure that congregants still feel valued and supported. These gestures become even more critical during challenging times when congregants may be seeking guidance, reassurance, or comfort. By finding alternative means to foster connections, pastors and care teams continue to be a source of spiritual comfort and support, offering solace and a reminder that they are cherished members of the faith community.

Notebird is easy-to-use, dedicated pastoral care software that helps teams make sure no one falls through the cracks. Learn more.

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