5 mistakes pastors make with email

I just read a great article over at FastCompany about how many people goof up with email.

Even though my last post was about making mistakes (and how that’s ok)… I always try NOT to make mistakes (they seem to happen by themselves, especially when I’m trying NOT to make them).

Here are 9 mistakes you may be making with email.  Try not to make these today:

1.  Sending emails only when you need something.

Chronic mistake, especially from a pastor.  Try this: be proactive with your mail today.  Email someone and say that you are praying for them, or that you appreciate what they do.  Be encouraging, and don’t always ask for things.

2.  Forgetting that there’s a person on the other side of your email.

Be personal.  Chit chat a little.  Don’t be all business. Even though (and especially because) this is not face-to-face communication, it’s good to be conversational and friendly.

3.  Using the first person too much.

Stop using “I” all the time.  I know it’s hard.  But as someone famous once said, “It’s not about you.”

4.  Sending email at the wrong time.

Is it urgent? If not, wait… or better yet… pick up the phone.  And don’t fire off emails in the heat of the moment.  That has caused problems for all of us.  And don’t ever hit ‘send’ whilest you’re angry.

5.  Sending it to too many people.

Avoid mass emails (especially if you’re trying to make it sound personal).  People see right through that.

6.  Knowing nothing about the person receiving the email.

For example, don’t send me an email saying “Hey Todd, I really enjoy the Monday Morning Insights you send.”  (I haven’t sent the MMI newsletter for about 5 years now.)

7. Forgetting to send updates or interim messages.

If you’ve promised something to someone and you aren’t able to deliver… or if circumstances change… don’t let people hang.  Let them know an update.  It takes just a minute and will, in some cases, keep strain out of the relationship.

8. Making messages too long.

In fact, some advocate that all email should be 5 sentences or less.

9.  Using email exclusively.

At my church, when things weren’t going well… email was used for everything.  When people weren’t getting along, or there was tension in the office, doors would be closed, and they would email each other all day long.  Nothing beats face-to-face time.  Don’t cop out by using email exclusively.  Take time to build one-on-one relationships.

What other email mistakes have you made in the past that you’ve determined you won’t do again?


Read more here at FastCompany.com


  1. Chad Whitmore
  2. nicklerdavidNicola

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