The most dominant form of pastoral contact in my congregation is e-mail. I love it. And I hate it. I love it more than hate it, but the contest is not over. In fact, it has just begun.
The Internet allows me to contact more people more often than can be done by way of the telephone or home visits—the two predecessor modes of pastoral communication. Home visits sound downright quaint these days when most people are seldom at home or are too busy and adamantly prefer that the pastor not call. The telephone was not an improvement on the home visit because it is less direct and intimate than person-to-person encounters. The Internet is even more impersonal. A person is not very likely to confess a sin or share a fear or tell a secret on the phone. Face-to-face, over time, they may feel safe to do so.