Writing a Missionary Newsletter
Writing a ministry newsletter isn’t easy. In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s even more challenging.
5 Minute Read
You might be used to asking these questions when you sit down to write: “What do I talk about? How long should this letter be? How many prayer requests should I share?”
Now, like, me, you might be encountering new questions. Questions such as, “How do I share my needs while being sensitive to my ministry partners’ loss and grief?” or “What do I write about now that I can’t leave my home?”
While global events may be changing more rapidly than ever, the heart behind your newsletter doesn’t have to. You and your ministry partners have been brought together for such a time as this. Together, you serve an unchanging God who is inviting the world to know his love.
That said, if you’re suffering from adjustment fatigue and need direction, we’ve compiled some advice to lighten your load. Here are some things you can keep in mind as you write ministry newsletters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Write without having all the answers. Hopefully you’ve already sent an initial email or letter to your partners acknowledging some of the changes the pandemic has brought into your life. Your partners will want to know how you’re doing, and how they can pray.
But, what now? Maybe life feels monotonous and an “update” seems unnecessary. Or, perhaps life changes daily and information becomes quickly outdated. That’s okay.
Tell your partners what you do know. Whether that means current plans, new needs or a new perspective you’ve developed toward the holding pattern you find yourself in. (See point 5 for more ideas.)
You and your partners are still on mission together. Communicate with your team at regular intervals, even if you don’t have “news” to report. And if you’ve typically sent quarterly or irregularly-spaced newsletters (ahem, talking to myself here), consider sending your letters monthly (or more frequently) to deliver more timely information.
2. Share your needs. You may wonder if it’s insensitive or inappropriate to continue sharing your ministry needs, particularly financial ones, when many people are facing new economic hardships as a result of COVID-19. The short answer is: it’s not.
Sharing transparently not only provides helpful information for your partners; it’s a way to be faithful to your role on your ministry team. Your calling involves advocating for God’s work and alerting others of opportunities to invest in it. Trust that your ministry partners will continue looking to the Lord to provide for the role he has asked them to fill.
I’ve been amazed by the acts of generosity I’ve seen from my own ministry team. This pandemic hit in the middle of my support raising season. Instead of watching partners drop off, I’ve seen new people join my team. Though God provides for everyone differently, I’ve been reminded not to limit him or the people I’m serving alongside.
3. Begin and end with gratitude. No matter the tangible impacts of the pandemic on your ministry, lead with gratitude. It will help remind both you and your partners that the Lord’s faithfulness and generosity is unchanging.
Share how God has been providing for you during this pandemic. Recall the big and small things.
Gratitude takes the pressure off others to be our savior. It does away with the air of desperation and puts the focus on the Lord and his goodness.
4. Ask how you can support your partners. If you haven’t already, take space to acknowledge the hardships your ministry partners might be facing as a result of this global pandemic.
You can even shoot some partners a quick personal text or email to let them know you’re thinking of them and asking them how they are being impacted. Then offer to pray for them.
I recognize that some of you are busier than ever with ministry changes. No need to feel guilty about your limitations. However, as much as you’re able, take time to extend care to your ministry team.
5. Encourage with stories of God’s work. It might feel difficult to write an engaging letter when a) ministry activities are limited and b) the logistics of daily life have become your focus.
Despite appearances, it’s as good a time as ever to renew your ministry partners’ vision for God’s work in the world. Tell a ministry story you haven’t had the time or space to share in the past. It doesn’t even have to be recent. If the story captures the heart behind your work, it can become great fuel for prayer (and praise).
If you’re wondering how to write a compelling ministry story, we’re here for you! We’ve created a step-by-step guide with practical tips and exercises. Download the guide here. Need a template to play with? We have that too. Click here to download our MS Word newsletter template.
6. Give yourself grace. Nothing halts my productivity like perfectionism. Maybe the same is true for you. If the blank page feels more intimidating than ever, take a deep breath, and receive God’s grace—again. Your ministry newsletter doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it won’t be. I know this from more than eight years of sending imperfect newsletters (and I write for a living!).
When you sit down (or stand at a makeshift desk in your kitchen—whatever) to write your ministry partners, trust the Lord to accomplish his purposes through you, no matter the end product that lands in people’s inboxes (or mailboxes).
We wrote this blog to be an encouragement and support to you. If there are any other topics you’d appreciate help and guidance with, leave a comment below.
Megan worked in communications for almost 10 years. She served as Content Manager for OMF (U.S.) until moving to Cambodia to join the team there. She enjoys writing, editing and over-thinking everything word-related. Megan spends her spare time cycling, thrift shopping, exploring her city and drinking coffee with (or without) friends.