The 3-Step Guide For Emailing Busy Pastors


As we become a culture that craves ever-increasing speed, the days of “snail mail” are fading quickly into the past. Email is easy, email is efficient, and email is here. But, because email is so easy, everyone’s inbox is always swamped. So what’s the best way to email busy pastors to ensure your voice is heard?

As it turns out, the effectiveness of email is rarely used to its full potential. A long, drawn-out email message, while perhaps thoughtful, is more likely to be overlooked by a busy person. The truth is, it might waste valuable time. You might as well send it on the Pony Express.

"Email communication on a church staff should be effective and efficient." [tweet this]

Communication is essential to the functionality of a church team. In email, it can be easy to get caught up in niceties and smiley-faces, especially with a friend on staff. However, that can easily slip into a rabbit trail where nothing tangible is communicated. The reality is that this is your church staff, not a pen pal group.

Whether you’re on a church team looking to communicate more effectively with your busy church leaders, or you’re a church leader looking to better communicate with your staff or congregation, you’ll benefit from these 3 tips for efficient emailing.

1. Be polite, but not overly polite.

To be clear, the importance of good manners via email should not be overlooked. However, sometimes niceties can drag on and make the real reason behind the email cloudy to the reader. Or, worse than that, it may waste their time. What’s polite about that?

As you’re writing emails, try the “elevator pitch” method. If you haven’t heard of this concept before, essentially it means that an individual should be able to summarize their request, service, etc. in the time span of one elevator ride. This shows a consideration and respect for their time. It also forces you tocommunicate clearly and pithily.

Strive to be personal through email without wasting your reader’s time with unnecessary small talk. Introduce the reason behind the email quickly and with the least amount of details as possible. If details are needed, first sum up the purpose of the request at the beginning, then include more details below. If you’re emailing someone who is extremely busy, this will benefit both parties by allowing them to get the point of your email immediately. If necessary, they can go back to read it in more depth at a later time.

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2. Over-edit and over-format your email.

Remember “peer edit” groups back in high school English class? The reason those were important is because we are typically blind to our own shortcomings as communicators. Having a second opinion points out the areas in your writing where something may not make sense from an outside perspective, even if it does to you!

If you’re communicating with someone extremely busy, perhaps have someone else read over the email first to make sure it communicates your purpose clearly and quickly. If you don’t have an opportunity to “peer edit” your email, at least make sure you’ve looked at it several times before sending.

Also, consider the format of your email. When writing an email to a busy church leader or church staff, assume they will only have time to skim the major details of your message. How would you begin to format differently as a result? Will a bullet-point list make it clearer? If not, try breaking up the paragraph into 3 distinct, double-spaced sentences, making it both visually appealing and easy to communicate. 

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3. Have fun with it!

Ten out of ten times, I will click on an email with a unique or interesting subject line before a generically labeled message. It’s likely you will catch your reader’s attention when keeping an email both personaland professional. As long as it doesn’t sacrifice the clarity or brevity of the message being communicated, adding a clever personal touch in your email may just result in a better chance at getting a quick response from the person.

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In sum, your emails should be intentional. We are called to be good stewards of our time and resources, and writing emails is not an exception. Keep them short, keep them sweet, and keep them coming!

What are other ways you can communicate more effectively with busy church leaders?

If you liked this, then you’ll also enjoy 3 No-Nonsense Steps For Communicating With Clarity.