Is Email Dead?

by vernsanders on November 18, 2011

OK…I know…cheap headline trick…but hear me out…

While the world slowly, and perhaps inexorably, shifts to text messaging, I don’t think email is dead yet, particularly in ministry situations. But given the new landscape, I think it is important to understand why and when you still want to use email.

Full disclosure: I am part of the team at Monday Morning Email, which is a leadership resource for those involved in church ministry.

Here’s how I categorize various information dissemination media (and I fully admit to being “old school” so take that into consideration):

  • Email is for person-to-group information
  • Text (and/or email, depending upon whether the receiver has a smartphone) is for person-to-person information
  • Phone is for dialogue
  • Face to face conversation is for sensitive information

Or, if you want the short version: text (lower case generic) is for informing, talk (lower case generic) is for pastoring.

Email remains my preferred communication tool under the following circumstances:

  • You have something short to send to a lot of people
  • You have a significant percentage of people over the age of 50 to whom you want to communicate
  • You expect the responses to be questions or clarifications that are short and to the point

For instance, I send my ensemble members a weekly email with a rehearsal plan and a devotion attached. The body of the email tends to be encouragement or schedule details. I do text back and forth with people who prefer that medium. When I know that there needs to be discussion, however, I tend to use the phone. When I expect/suspect that discussion will include sensitive information or emotional content, I want to look the other person (or people) in the eye.

What you think? Do you have any ground rules? Have you made the switch to text only? Talk to me by leaving a comment, and I’ll engage in the conversation.

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