Face to face communication is always preferable. Since 93% of communication is nonverbal (tone, gestures, and body language), much is lost through other communication means. But that does not mean that other methods should be ignored.
There was a time, not long ago, that I suggested in training sessions the following order of communication for the most impact:
- face to face (visit in home, business, etc.),
- phone call (still can get some of the tone),
- card/letter, and
BLOGS. There are so many free blog domains out there. Many are easy-to-learn. You can try one and delete the account if you don't like it with no loss. Blogs give your group a chance to go to one website to get event updates and reminders. They can give lesson assignment, fellowship/project plans, member contact information, prayer requests, and more. Some blogs offer access that can be fully open or open only to those with a password. Blogs can also be a great place to start or continue conversations about topics. Comments can be encouraged.
TEXT MESSAGES. Many people today have cell phones with unlimited text plans. This can be a great source of two-way communication. Sending celebration messages (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.); event reminders (fellowships, lesson homework, etc.); and just checking in (friendship) can continue the Sunday School experience beyond class time on Sunday. If there is a lack of comprehension of a text message, replies flow quickly.
SOCIAL MEDIA. There are many of these, like Facebook and Twitter. Social media can be great places for catching up with what is going on in each others' lives through the week between class sessions. Groups can be created where calendars, events, group lists/contact information, assignments, and more can be posted. It can be open or made private (by invitation only). More and more of these are able to be accessed through cell phones, meaning updates into members' lives can almost be instantaneous.
Each of these media allow communication and connection between Sundays--which is essential for relationships to grow and trust to be developed. Even if 100% of the class are not tech-savvy, I encourage you to take steps in this direction with those who are. With others, don't be afraid of using other means listed above: visits, calls, writing, and e-mail. But keep in touch with members and guests. Pray. Care. Be revolutionary!
For more ideas about communication, check out these blog posts:
- The Future: Sunday School over the Web?
- Communication and Growth Spurts in Sunday School
- Improve Your Small Group by Listening Better, Part 2
- Sunday School Teamwork, or the Lack Thereof?
- Characteristics of a Good Sunday School Teacher, Part 1
- Practical Tips for Leading Revolutionary Small Groups, Part 1
- Help for the New Sunday School D irector
- Groups Creating Community, Part 1
- What Does It Take for a Revolutionary Director to Lead the Sunday School?
- Growing Sunday Schools Have More Visitors Who Stick Around
- Sunday School Contacts Make a Difference!
- Ideal Behaviors of an Adult Sunday School Member, Part 2
- Issues Impacting Sunday School Work with Adults