if you LOVE Jesus and you LOVE to make cards to cheer people up, you're in the perfect position to start a card ministry in your church! No matter the size of your congregation, there will always be those who are sick or hurting. Every Sunday we see their names in the bulletin or hear them from the pulpit and think, "I should send them a card."
If you're like me, you don't always remember later, however! If that happens to you, it's time to gather the papercrafters in your church and be a little more systematic about your cardmaking!
Here's some of my best tips for putting together an official card ministry for your organization!
- Get permission from your church authorities, and become an authorized key-holder if necessary.
- Settle how/who is paying for the supplies and postage expenses.
- Get it on the calendar! That way you have a start date and can work towards your first gathering.
- Have an announcement added to your bulletin or website. Print up postcards to hand out or mail.
- Invite EVERYONE. And keep on inviting them even if they don't come at first.
- Make sure it's clear that the cards will be EASY and there will be work for them to do even if they "just aren't creative."
About the projects:
- Keep the cards SUPER SIMPLE. The cards are not really the point; the encouragement is. Simple and sent is better than a big stack of half-completed cards still waiting to be mailed.
- Design the cards in advance. Otherwise it turns into a free-for-all with the supplies. Crafting newbies freeze up without guidance or samples to look at.
- Cut everything in advance so it won't slow you down at the event or waste cardstock with inaccurate measurements.
- Assembly-line crafting is more efficient than individuals making cards one at a time. This also has the advantage of creating many steps along the way that "anyone" can do, regardless of their crafting abilities.
- Keep the cards gender-neutral or have two color options or two different focal point images.
At your first meeting, consider the following ideas to solidify the plan:
- choose a set night of the month or quarter, so people can plan in advance
- pass around a sign up sheet for snacks.
- assign the writing to people with a gift for encouraging words.
- assign the mailing tasks to someone reliable.
- choose who will design and bring the cards each month on a rotating basis.
- assign clean up and lock up duties. Leave the place looking better than it did when you arrived.
Keep the main thing the main thing!
- cardmaking is a ministry not only to those who get one of your creations, but to those who come to chat and pray while crafting together. Make it a sweet time of creative fellowship. Have snacks!
- In my former church, our monthly card night was also the time we prayed for missionaries and read from an inspiring missionary biography. If your church is very busy you might be able to add cardmaking to an existing schedule by combining it with an auxiliary club or group.
- cardmaking nights can be an outreach activity! Challenge your regular attendees to bring a friend from the community along with them. Developing those friendships may lead them to feel comfortable visiting for one of the services or allowing their kids to come to fun activities.
- Have at least 2-3 people in charge (that way it doesn't all fall through if you are ill). Consider having "officers" only so that you can rotate the duties when it becomes a chore. It's exciting now, but mid-winter when you're scrambling for a design and no one signed up for the snack, or you're left with a giant stack of cards no one wants to write in, you'll need the help!
- NEVER criticize anyone's finished card, even if it's not up to your standards. God is not concerned with the perfection of our papercrafts, but the compassion and humility in our hearts.
Do you have a tip for card ministry? Leave a comment below! And please feel free to use any of my easy card designs in your own efforts to spread sunshine. I'd love to know if they have inspired you to send more cards on a consistent schedule. Chat soon!