Every church has at least one lady who sends greeting cards to church members. Birthday cards. Get well cards. I’m-praying-for-you cards. We sometimes call this a card ministry. But I wonder how effective this is as pastoral care for a 21st Century Church. As I leave a conference about offering pastoral care to caregivers, some of us were talking yesterday about the dear ladies who send the cards. For a certain generation, sending a card is one of the most thoughtful gestures of affection. To other generations, it’s not at all meaningful, especially when it comes with a platitudinous blurb or just a signature. My grandmother always sent me a birthday letter about the day I was born and I have dozens of them. They are almost identical as she sent the same tale every year. Those are precious letters, written thoughtfully and with some effort especially in her older years. SBC used to get a card from a church lady for his birthday, but she didn’t have his name right. Ever. I’m sure she meant for the cards to be a meaningful gesture, but they struck SBC as a inauthentic. She didn’t even know his actual name. One older lady I know was hurt when her daughter didn’t send a birthday card to her. The daughter had taken her mother out to dinner and given her flowers. But there was no card. Fail. A guy told me yesterday that people under the age of 40 find greeting cards to be a fake form of showing real care – unless the card contains a personal note or a check. This seems to be a generational preference. What seems thoughtful to some seems inauthentic to others. Having said this, we all need to send Thank You notes – real, handwritten, heartfelt thank you notes. Do it for your grandmother.