I have always loved writing and receiving cards so for many years I have done an informal card ministry, where I regularly write cards to friends (and sometimes strangers) in order to give them a positive message they can keep. In today’s world of texts and electronic messaging, a physical card you can hold in your hand and keep stands out.
Starting a card ministry doesn’t have to be complicated or involved. You can start right where you are with family members or friends. Once the intention is started, you can then start looking for opportunities to send cards, and they will present themselves.
If you’re like me you still love getting snail mail (not bills no one likes getting those) but happy cards notes things from people that wish us well. Positive words from our loved ones that are just really great to get in the mail, especially today when we have such a digital world and don’t get a lot of handwritten cards like we used to.
But you know what you can change all that with starting your own card ministry. A card ministry is an intentional practice of sending out notes or greeting cards in order to lift people up and encourage them. I have always on some level done a form of card ministry, meaning I’m just somebody that likes expressing myself through the written word. I like to write cards that encourage or just let someone know I’m thinking about them. I’ve done that over the years but I’ve also received a lot of cards, too, and I never take it for granted when somebody takes the time to write something in a card and put it in the mail to send to me. I have kept those cards and gone back to them.
I’ve received cards from my aunt, who is a card maker like some of you guys are. Every time I see one of her cards it makes me feel good, so I think having a card ministry of some sort where you actively send out cards to people can help them have a little bit of a better day.
In this world where there’s so much negativity and sending a card is something that is not done as often as it used to be. So it is appreciated and something that will stand out.
Now if you’re somebody like my aunt who creates cards as your hobby you have an easy way to start your card ministry because then your own artwork (the the card itself) is going out along with your handwritten words and your intentions. I think that is a really cool way to bless someone.
You can buy greeting cards and support other artists (hello I have cards that you could buy!) and people do purchase them. It always warms my heart when I see them come into my craft booth and they’re looking through the note cards and they tell me I just like sending these to people and or they buy them for other people who have card ministries.
I’ve seen greeting card companies get behind this and encourage people to do it and there are a lot of bloggers doing this as well.
Just start looking for opportunities right where you are and they will show up once you’ve made your mind to do this. You’ll notice family members who are struggling with something, or somebody who is having a bad day and needs a little bit of encouragement. You’ll notice friends that you want to just encourage that aren’t going through anything negative but you just want to tell them hey I appreciate your friendship.
It might seem like such a small thing that you’re doing but when you think about it you’re taking the time to put words on paper and sending that out to somebody, choosing a card for them… you know all of these things are filled with intention and in this busy, hurried world can really make an impact. Anything today where you have to slow down and take your time opening the envelope and reading what’s in there, taking a moment just to appreciate this act that somebody has done for you… and it really will brighten somebody’s day.
If you’re looking for more info, do a search for “card ministry” and see what pops up. Here are just some of the things I found when I searched:
- Dayspring Card Ministry (They offer a nice selection of cards to send.)
- Love Notes Fairy (A woman who connects card ministry writers to recipients. Something I’ve recently signed up for myself.)
- One church’s blessing team card ministry.
- My pinterest board filled with card ministry info and ideas.
Sometimes just finding the words can be the most difficult thing when starting a card ministry. Start with something simple! Be yourself and use the words you would use as if you were having a face-to-face conversation. While many card ministries start with an intention to provide comfort for someone, don’t forget sending thank you cards as a way to acknowledge the kindness of someone else. These, too, are part of a card ministry.
Thank You Cards and Your Card Ministry
I personally believe that writing a thank you card has become a lost art, especially among friends. That’s exactly why you should make an effort to master the technique. Writing a thank you letter or note will give you something your friend will cherish for good, and may even keep around for years just to take out and read over again and again.
But there are thank you notes that rock and those that stink. I write a lot of thank you notes and I do have many friends that send them. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing one.
Forget Formal Language
One common mistake people make is trying too hard to sound formal when writing their thank you note. The best notes have your own voice so your personality can come through. Those are the ones that your friend will cherish.
To accomplish this, write as if you are speaking. Many find it easier to type out a sample of what they want to say rather than starting with a note written by hand. The process of typing your thoughts is different from that of putting pen to paper. You think about it differently and therefore your words will come out more authentically when you relax and write without editing yourself.
Think Beyond the Stuffy Old Thank You Note
If your friend gave you a gift, show them how much it meant to you by taking a photograph of you using it, wearing it, or just smiling next to it. Or include a favorite quote that sums up your gratitude. Even giving a coffee as a thank you can be made more memorable with a free printable like this one to put around the sleeve of the cup. The printable says “Thanks a latte.”
Your Card Ministry Can Make Your Thank You Note Into a Unique Gift
Keep your handwritten thankful notes but present them in an entirely new way. For instance, write out a thank you note by hand and then create a set of kitchen towels. Spoonflower lets you create your own material by uploading a graphic you’ve created. They illustrate how to create dish towels here using an old recipe, but this concept could be applied to thank you notes as well.
Another idea to write out your note and create a throw pillow from it, like this person did. What a clever way to thank your friend that also allows them to keep your lovely sentiments near. Or how about a basket of thank you’s in the form of paper fortune cookies? This is a good gift for a friend who has been there for you a lot and you want to make sure they know how much you appreciate it.
I have turned some of the thank you cards I’ve received into art for my office. This became the inspiration for my Mixed Media Love Notes ecourse.