Why you shouldn’t rebuke people by email

Al posted this thoughtful bit of pastoral advice the other day.

“Relationally it’s better to get on the phone. And if people are already against you then in my experience it’s best not to answer them in black and white.”

And then, just a day later, this video appeared on the Gospel Coalition blog.

It’s good advice. And all the points are valid. Especially in the context of ministry. I’ve got to say though, I found keeping an email trail was incredibly beneficial for protecting oneself from future recollections of a conversation – so sometimes it is worth having things in writing.


al bain says:

These guys really can talk can’t they.

I agree with your last paragraph. Sometimes it’s a very good idea to confirm the contents of a discussion by email.

I used to take contemporaneous notes as a lawyer during every conversation I had either with a fellow lawyer or with a client. I still try to do that practice in my pastoral context.