Should Missionaries Stop Sending Paper Prayer Letters?

Written by Karl Dahlfred on .

I recently read a rather provocatively titled blog post, "Dear Missionary, Please Stop Sending Prayer Letters. Sincerely, The 21st Century”.  The article was a bit over the top but does raise a valid question that many missionaries and their supporters have been wondering in recent years: In the age of email and social media, should missionaries start sending their prayer letters by email only?  Isn't it a waste of paper and money to send out old fashioned hard copy prayer letters?  Well, maybe. But maybe not.


Every once in a while, I get an email from a supporter asking me to stop sending them the hard copy of their prayer letter because they already get it through email.  I am happy to oblige and inform our mission organization to take such-and-such supporter off the list.  I don't want to send people stuff they don't want.  However, as I see it, different people want things different ways. 

  • Some like email, but others lose that email prayer letter in the bottom of their inbox.
  • Some like hard copies to stick in their Bible or on the refrigerator but others couldn't be bothered with another piece of paper floating around.
  • Some like the link to our prayer letter showing up in their Facebook or Twitter news feed, but others don't use social media.
  • Some like technology but others (both older AND some younger) don't feel that confident around computers or only use them because they are forced to.

So what is the best way to send out a prayer letter?  Our organization sends out hard copies for us, and we send out an email version as well as posting it on our website (and linking to it on Facebook and Twitter).  I like to keep all the bases covered for the different ways that people like to receive their information.  And if they miss it in one place, it shows up in another.  Other missionaries, churches, and mission organizations have different philosophies.


I am open to reviewing my own approach to sending prayer letters according to what is most helpful.


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