It’s hard to say if business cards are in or out of use in American society. It seems that with every new technology that we adopt for communication, such as Instagram and Facebook, there are still so many people to minister to through the forms that came before. In addition business cards, these include newspapers and magazines, radio and podcasts, blogs and newsletters, posted fliers and postcards, yard signs and banners.
I still receive business cards regularly and keep them handy in a file near my desk. A collection of business cards is unique in that it represents people we’ve met in person, and therefore have a direct relationship with. It becomes less essential to keep a card for something exceedingly specific like “bundt cake bakery, Beaverton Oregon,” which you can easily locate online. The personal connection becomes meaningful, however, when you need to find the card of the person who told you which delicious flavor it was that they served at the birthday party you attended six months ago. Find that person, make that call, and that saves you from having to sample the 20 flavors they offer…that could be a true value!
Similarly, because there are so few Orthodox churches in our country, you can usually get by with a quick search “Orthodox
church [insert city name]” and find the only parish in town. On the other hand, if the card is given in the context of an important conversation or in response to a search in the heart of another person, it will become a valuable part of their journey.
The business cards I reach for most often are ones that include some information that can’t be readily found on the Internet.
For parishes, I encourage including a map, an exterior or interior image of your church, an invitation to come, a prayer or quotation, a few sentences explaining what Orthodox Christianity is, or a headshot of the priest.
Another idea: include on the card situations in which one should contact the priest, as an invitation. For example, “Please reach out to me in times of need” or “I’m here to help. Call anytime.”
Finally, consider designing the card in such a way that it doubles as a card that parishioners can offer to others as an invitation.
The best case scenario, of course, is that the loving context in which the card was offered is even more memorable than what’s written on the card itself.