5 Ways I’m trying To Keep In Touch by Travis Sharpe

It seems like with all the technology we have now a days that keeping in touch would be a snap. And in many ways it is easy to communicate with people, even people on the other side of the world.

I use Facebook messenger to talk to our ministry staff and partners in Southeast Asia almost every day. That is extremely easy. I email lots of people on a regular basis and talk to lots of friends on my cell phone.

So in some ways, yes, communicating is easier now than ever before.

But, you still have to be disciplined to use the technology and to actually communicate.

That’s not always easy.

My responsibility to communicate

As a ministry leader I recognize that I have a responsibility to communicate clearly with many people on a regular basis. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always very good at it.

I have a ministry team in the US to communicate with and one in the Philippines.

I have awesome supporters to communicate with.

I have a pastor and home church leaders to keep in the loop and also two different leadership boards.

Many times I get busy and simply forget. Just this past Monday I set up a lunch meeting with my wife, my secretary and myself. I set the date for lunchtime on Wednesday but completely failed to tell my wife. You can imagine her surprise when she found out about it 15 minutes beforehand!

The good news is that at least I do recognize the importance of all this and I am constantly striving to improve.

How I am communicating now

I thought I would just be transparent and share with you some of the ins-and-outs of how I try to communicate, especially with our supporters. So here goes!

1. Weekly ministry updates

Every week I do my very best to write a new ministry update. That update usually includes the highlights from the week in our ministry and or family.

Sometimes it’s not so much of an update as it is a look into something we are doing or a report or just peeling back the curtain so that people can know what I’m thinking (like today).

But usually it is just a write up about what’s going on in our ministry. I will include testimonies, needs, project updates or anything else that I feel I should include. The purpose of the ministry update is simply to keep anyone who is interested supplied with up to the minute information on our ministry.

These updates always go out on Fridays.

I post the update on our website and I will also post a link to it on Facebook. I always put that link on my personal page and on our Unsheltered International page.

This same update also goes out in email to everyone who is a subscriber to our email list.

So every Friday a ministry update goes live on our website and also to our email subscribers.

2. Weekly blogs

I love to write. I dream of publishing a book one day. But until that happens I am publishing small articles called blogs each week.

The blogs I publish are meant to be inspirational and educational. My goal with them is to inspire the reader to reach out to the poor, the hurting, the helpless. I want to show people that it can be done and that God wants to use them to do it.

Most of the stuff I write comes from real life things that our family experiences on the mission field. I will occasionally write about ministry tips, a special need or a unique experience that we had.

After I finish writing the draft I publish it to the blog section of our website and once again I will post a link to this on my personal and ministry Facebook pages. I also put this in email format and it goes out via email to everyone who has subscribed to our emails.

My blogs are published every Monday and I am grateful for each and every one of you who take the time to read them.

You can subscribe to the email list by clicking here.

3. Newsletters and prayer letters

I write two newsletters. One of them is our families missionary prayer letter and the other is our Unsheltered International newsletter.

Because we are missionaries who are supported by several local churches, we write a letter every two months to let them know what is going on and how they can best pray for our family and ministry.

In this letter I will include any people who have been saved, any needs we have and a general update of our progress and ministry. These churches that support us are faithful to give and pray so we are faithful to report back to them about how their mission dollars are being invested by us.

We are grateful for every supporting church we have ever had. I also have an email list for our supporting churches. Some of them want us to save the stamp and simply email them. Some of them want both.

You can be added to that email list by just letting me know if you want to be on it.

For the churches and people who support Unsheltered International, we send out a quarterly newsletter. This is ironic that I’m writing this right now because we just finished printing the ones for the second quarter and they are a month late! (I sincerely hope that better late than never applies for us too).

Everyone who makes a donation to Unsheltered International is added to the mailing list. We think it’s our responsibility to include donors in the newsletters because they thought enough of our ministry to sacrifice and give to it.

If you don’t receive that newsletter in the mail and you want to, just shoot me an email and I will add you. And of course if you are on it and want to opt out, you can let me know that too. We certainly don’t want to bombard folks with mail they don’t want.

My email is travis@unsheltered.org.

4. Saying thanks

We always want to say thank you to our supporters. Our standard practice is to send a letter of thanks to everyone who makes a donation. Sometimes we fail at this but we strive to be as accurate as possible. I believe that an old fashioned thank you note is still the best way to do this.

The fact of the matter is that without our supporters we don’t have what it takes to have a ministry.

5. Social media

Social media is also a great way to stay in touch and we do use it. Mostly I use Facebook. I was tweeting and I tried Instagram but to be honest it was just a little much for me and I wasn’t gaining much traction.

I will post pictures and other interesting things on our Facebook pages throughout the week to stay engaged with our friends and followers. I really like the conversations that go on in the comments because it’s a great way to get feedback and to get people engaged with our message.

How to be a part of all this

Chances are that if you are reading this you are connected with us already. But maybe you’re not getting everything. Here is how to connect with us.

To join our weekly email list (you will receive email on Monday, Friday and maybe some extra’s from time to time, click here.

To receive the Unsheltered International newsletter by mail, send me your address in an email to travis@unsheltered.org.

To receive the Sharpe family prayer letter by mail, send me your address in an email to travis@unsheltered.org.

To receive the Sharpe family prayer letter by email, send me your email address to travis@unsheltered.org.

Or, you can just write to us at:

Unsheltered International
PO Box 2625

Cullman, AL 35056

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and please send me your suggestions to help me be a better communicator!

God bless,

Travis Sharpe