Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Letter

I've got a job for the leader of your faith community: write a letter to your congregation about your dreams for 2012. Technically it is not a "New Year's Resolution" letter but it is a letter about your hopes and vision for the church for the new year. Call it a "New Year Vision Letter."

What should be in this letter? Well, it should be no more than one page - please don't get long-winded or else people will stop reading after about two paragraphs (if you're lucky). Use a 12 point font to make the letter easier to read - don't cheat by using 8 point font to cram in more words! Make the letter no more than five paragraphs long using the following template:

  1. Intro Paragraph - Write about 2011 and where the congregation has come in the past 12 months and even the years before then. Be brief, be very brief in this synopsis - this is NOT the purpose of your letter; this is just a starting point so that everyone is on the same page.
  2. Next Two or Three Paragraphs - give three concrete (lots of details) ideas of what you want to accomplish in 2012. Flesh out each idea in one paragraph with financial costs, numbers of volunteers needed, dates by which the goals need to be met, and the promise of a party when each goal is reached. (I believe the church doesn't party enough - we need to celebrate accomplishments more often but that requires knowing where the finish line is in each goal.)
  3. Final Paragraph - a prayer of blessing on each reader and an acknowledgement of the generosity by the family of faith which has permitted the church to do all is has done so far. Being sincerely thankful is very important.
This letter should go out to every person in the church because it will help set the tone for the church in 2012. A good way to send out the letter is to include it in the 2011 statement of contributions which every church mails out to every member (at least to every donor) of the church. Every person will open that letter because they want to see how much they can write off on their taxes - when a letter from the pastor falls out, they'll read that, too. Who knows, your letter may spark some dialogue with people - it can certainly be a conversation starter with your leadership. I know they want to know what your dreams are and how they can participate in making them happen - to benefit the church and the Kingdom.

Lead On!