Creating a Card Ministry in a Church
How it works: You and another one or two from your church are leaders. You check with several in the church to find out what cards they need, and it’s a great idea to have a handful of Clean and Simple (CAS) cards with you to show Praying For You, Sympathy, Thinking of You, Birthday (those shut-ins need lots of cards each month), and Thank You. You gather volunteers who want to make cards with you. And then you Just Do It!
Start Here: You may need to talk with the church secretary, prayer chain leaders, and ministries run through your church to find out what their needs are. Coach them to remember your Card Ministry Team when Thank You’s are needed for volunteers of all those summer programs, too. At the end of a semester for all those volunteering in the Church School rooms is a good time to have a lot of Thank You cards made up ahead of time.
Many Hands Make Work Light: Now gather your Volunteers! Bible Study groups, the Quilting ladies, and any Small Groups meeting in homes during the week, if your church does this. I made my own double-sided postcard four to a sheet of Whisper White. On one side was the announcement of “Beth, Carolyn and Celia are forming a Card Ministry team and would love your help” On the other side of the postcard ask for name, phone number, email address, ask if they would like to be added to the Card Ministry email list, and then a yes/no checkbox for the question: “Do you know how to make rubber stamped greeting cards?” Even if they don’t know how to make cards, they are obviously willing to learn how.
Make It Happen: Talk with your Team co-leaders about what their schedule is like. Then, pick a date 4 weeks from then to hold your first Card Making date. Morning and evening on the same day allows all those volunteers two opportunities to be with you for your first card making event. Those that can’t come during the day can always come that night.
Where To Make Them?: Talk with the Building Scheduler about when you might have access to a SMALL classroom and not bump into anyone else using the building. Make arrangements to get a key to get into and out of the building. Or, you may want to make them at your house. Saves you from having to haul all those tools somewhere.
Set a Date: Send an email invitation to the volunteers so that they receive it three weeks before the date of the event. Phone them the very next day to get confirmations of what time they will be working with you. Check in with them in another week and see who might have extra time to help cut out all the card parts. Check in with all of them again by phone two days before the date to remind them. I’ve also used EventBrite.com for this so that everyone can pick a time to come and reminder emails go out automatically for you. You will still need to contact them by phone, though. Schedule just an hour for the making of the cards at any one time. You want this to run like a workshop where you give a demo of what they are to do and set them to working. Assembly line of a Clean and Simple card goes quickly!
Prepare The Way: Cut your card parts out to make a dozen of each kind. Don’t worry if you don’t get them all made in one sitting. There will people so excited about the card making that they will volunteer to sit down with you at another time to get them all done by the end of the month. Let your volunteers do their own Big Shot work. Embossing, Framelit cutting, or Die-Cutting is all hands-on wonderfulness that inspires them to come back or become a stamper at home.
Use Your Heart: As a blessing, make sure you create a card for an upcoming holiday and make 24 of these. Those shut-ins need something more than just a birthday card once a year. We are sharing what we love in a way that blesses someone who is lonely, hurting, depressed, etc. and this is what we do: we make and send a hug with a fold in the middle.
Bless The Workers: Be sure you create enough card kits that everyone can go home with a card for themselves (but not the postage stamp). I like creating some decor for the table with covered treats, but if you don’t have time don’t worry. Cover some chocolate as their Energy Pack. Our 2” x 8” cello bags full of M&M’s with a punched tag at the top is PERFECT!
Consider the Cost: Make sure that you fold the flap inside of every envelope and insert the back half of the card so that cards and their envelopes are kept together. This is especially needed because 1) you may embellish the envelope with some stamping or DSP on the flaps to coordinate with the cards, and 2) every envelope has a postage stamp on it already. Yes! This is a Card Ministry, not an additional financial burden on the church!
Deliver The Goods: As you deliver ALL THESE CARDS to those people who needed them at the church, and they gasp with delight at what you’ve created, ask them how you might get the word out to those people known within a church body to bless financially. This should not be a financial burden that you bear on your own, especially since including the postage can be a bit pricey.
Raising The Funds: You’re asking for funds to cover not only the card making materials but also the postage for those envelopes! A Card Ministry is NOT an additional financial burden for a church. Trust me, there are those within a church body who will fund you outright. Last year I had a $2,000 donor and that church was outfitted with a Big Shot, punches, ink pads, and the whole nine yards!
How much does this cost: We made 48 cards our first meeting using Thick Whisper White cardstock. We also threw together a Sterlite shoebox of supplies: Dimensionals, Glue Dots, Tombow liquid glue, Baker’s Twine in a couple of colors and we’ll add ribbon after our Fund Raiser, 2 packages of Whisper White envelopes, one package of Whisper White cardstock, and 50 “LOVE” postage stamps.
Getting Started: When you approach a church of your own, one that you actually attend, you will be talking with people you know. When you approach a nearby church, you will be talking with strangers. In either case you must remember that you are not looking for business, you are a blessing from God come to spread joy and encouragement. Not a beggar, but a blessing. Be cheerful! Be joyful! Have courage! And spread the Word!
Word of Caution, if You Are a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator: You are not there to gather customers. The customers will come, but don’t make these events all about selling anything but fabulous fun! Don’t have your business cards or catalogs or order forms anywhere out in the open and you may even want to have this in your car. But do have them with you somewhere. If and when someone does ask for the catalog, create an introductory packet that has your card, a catalog, an order form, and your class schedule or dates of workshop availability together with a cello bag. Maybe even tie it closed with ribbon and really cute tag … but not out in the open. Out in your car.
If it fizzles: The most successful Card Ministry has you active in it yourself every month. Sometimes to the point of having to mail the cards yourself as well. It happens. It’s not you, it’s their time constraints and their heartfelt desire to be available and care as much about cards in the mail as you do. Trust me, your recipients NEED you and they appreciate YOU! If this happens, never fear. You can become your own Card Ministry right from your kitchen table, and I have created a place for you to belong, too, as a Dandelion in my Dandelion Society. You can read more about The Dandelion Society HERE.