An Open Letter to Churches Who Add First Time Guests to their Mailing Lists

Dear church who adds first time guests to your mailing list,

Please stop.

My family and I visited you several weeks ago. While I applaud your child protection policy and had no problem filling out the information card to place my children in your Sunday morning children’s program, I did not anticipate being added to a mailing list. I don’t recall seeing any box or other indicator stating I would be added to a mailing or providing a way to opt out. In fact I purposely did not fill out the information card in the worship service. By the time of the offering where one is intended to deposit one’s information card I had already decided that you weren’t the one for me or my family.

Even though I didn’t intend to end up on a mailing list, I wasn’t upset when I received an email the next day from the pastor who preached that Sunday. I did wonder how you got my email, then remembered the children’s registration paperwork. Hey I’m glad the departments talk to each other and it sounds like you guys do a decent job of tracking guests etc. You’re follow-up needs work.

LaterĀ that day I received two more emails on different topics from the church automated mailing system. Two days after thatĀ another informational email came in. The tone of the emails (which I actually did read) assumed that as a recipient I was already either a member or sold on the church and planned to make it my spiritual home. Since neither was the case (quite the opposite) they rather torqued me off. After the fourth such unsolicited email (again, I wasn’t advised that by signing my children into the kids program I would be placed on a mailing list, nor was I provided a way to opt out) I reported you for spam abuse. (Spam isn’t too bad if it’s roasted over an open flame and placed between two pieces of camp fire toast with a slice of sharp cheddar…but I digress.) Thankfully I haven’t received any more email since then.

Yesterday, however, I received a hand written note telling me of the upcoming new member class and encouraging me to attend. Quite frankly, the card went into the burn pile…so thanks for the kindling. At least that serves a practical purpose.

So, to sum up: Thanks for reaching out. Now please stop. Don’t call us, we’ll call you (but probably not).

Most Sincerely,

Jason P. Franklin

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