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Live long enough and you will discover many things in life are cyclical. I was reminded of this concept the other day in a discussion with a youth pastor about “skinny jeans.” Relax. There is no danger of my purchasing a pair; we were just discussing student fashion.

I told the youth pastor a story about my uncle questioning me as a teen for wearing pants that had to be put on prior to my socks and shoes because they were, well, skinny. I know that is not a pretty picture especially if you have a vivid imagination; however, it helps illustrate my point: things tend to go in cycles.

Maybe it is this “cyclical effect” that makes “retro” consistently cool. We are seeing throwback cans of soda, renewed interest in vinyl records and a flair for the 70’s. Considering this openness to the past, why not try some “retro creativity” in ministry? I am not talking about a retro activity but an opportunity for unexpected ministry impact.

So—drum roll please—try a hand-written note instead of a tweet, post or text. Once your students get over the shock, it might just have an effect on them that their normal communication no longer accomplishes.

Do not get me wrong. I am not saying we should get rid of technology in our interaction with students. I have addressed in previous blogs how necessary I believe technology is for communication in student ministry. Technology is a wonderful tool, but it should not be the only tool in our student communication toolbox.

A personal note or letter arriving in their mailbox may cause them to pause long enough to allow the message you wish to convey to sink in. Let me suggest some instances to consider using this type of communication:

  • When they accomplish something big spiritually. (You define big based on the individual.)
  • When you know they have had a major defeat or letdown. (This may be a follow-up to an immediate contact.)
  • When you want to communicate how proud you are of them.
  • When you know of an accomplishment in their school—whether academic, sports-related, musical, dramatic, etc.
  • When they are approaching a milestone such as moving into the middle school group, high school group, graduating, or on their birthday.
  • When you know they just need a friend.
  • When you just want to say something without it being electronic.

You probably have other ideas already in your mind even as you are reading this post. I would really like to hear some of them, so share your comments.

“Retro is Consistently Cool,” so sit down and write that card or letter. It might go a lot farther than you think.

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