Taking Communication for Granted


Author: Faith in Later Life

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak with Dave Piper from TWR-UK about the loss of communication in the UK, as well as how we as churches should seek to communicate well. As the crux of the issue were questions that had risen off the back of the recent Royal Mail Union strikes, suggesting that though online communication might be on the forefront of our minds, “snail mail” is still very much a necessity in post-modern life.



For many of you reading this, letter writing might be a daily or weekly practice, but personally up until recently I went a very long time without sending any letters at all!

During the interview I said the following:

“I was having a conversation with somebody online just the other day, we had agreed to write letters to one another because we have that option available and we don’t take advantage of it enough, especially with so many other forms of communication, whether that’s Twitter or threads or Facebook or whatever it might be. It does feel to some extent that as communication has gotten more readily available, we have valued and honoured it less. A tweet might not hold the same benefit or the same weight that a letter might have a hundred years ago.”

I’ve now written that letter and I’m thankful that I did. It took time, thought, and trust to do so.


Whilst we began by talking about letters in this interview, we went on to discuss various ways of communication and building community. Just like my letter, time is a necessary component of building relationships with others. Giving our time to others can be a sacrifice, just like spending our money, spending our time comes with a inherent understanding that we might get something in return. As Christians, however, we’re called to something more. Just as we give our money into the offering basket to support to work of the church, we give our time to the local church and to others through the local church not for our good for theirs. Whether it be a food bank, leading a small group, leading up worship at a local care home, or just spending time with those who are new to the faith, churches are built by servants sacrificing time for the good of others.


Beyond mere connections, however, community is built upon relationships. Above all, the most important relationship we build upon is the one we have is with God, as I mention in this interview, “Whilst [as humans] we know instinctively that we need community, as Christians we also know the end of and the means to that community.” In addition, however, we are also called to known by our love for one another (John 13:35).

In order to build relationship, we need to share not only our physical presence, but also our very thoughts. It can be hard, it can be a risk to share our thoughts with others. It might mean telling someone hard truths, as we read in Proverbs 27:6 though, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” because they are shared in love. Getting to that point requires something else.


When I began to write my letter, I recalled the many letters I’ve from men and women of Christ throughout history. Though some were deeply theological and others were more familial—some were even love letters—each of them shared something of themselves in their writing. Sadly today much of the communication we hear about, from the Houses of Parliament to social media, chases away the idea that communication is an exercise in trust.

In his latest book, The Final Lap, John Wyatt says:

“We don’t choose our own path, we are given it. What’s more, we’re not alone. It’s a group race. We are all in this together and we are here to encourage one another, to strengthen one another, to support and even carry one another along when we need to. There’s a great crowd of unseen witnesses all around us, watching us and cheering us on.”

John spoke to us a few weeks ago about this mutual dependency, encouragement, and strengthening at our last Faith in Later Life Event (you can watch that on catch up here) but what is left unspoken here is the necessity for trust in order for this to function well. We can’t be dependent on those we don’t trust, we can’t be encouraged by those whose opinions don’t hold sway over our lives, and we can’t be strengthened or stand side by side with someone in the good fight for the gospel if we don’t trust them to remain strong with us.

We need time, thought, and trust for our relationships to grow in and through the church. To hear more about communication and community check out the video above.

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