In His Grip: A guide to Christian email sign-offs
'Kind Regards' just doesn't do it for Christians. When we're concluding an email, we God-botherers like to insert a final flourish of encouragement, blessing, or just good-old-fashioned Christian weirdness. You'll undoubtedly have your own go-to phrase, a couple of words which you hope will redeem the meeting cancellation you just sent or the fact you've declined a close friend's wedding invitation. You'll either be a 'blessings' or a 'Grace and peace' kind of a person.
For the sake of variety though, I want to encourage us all to mix it up a little. There's a whole range of creative (and occasionally crazy) sign-offs out there, so why limit ourselves to just one? Here's a field guide to some of the best, weirdest and most wonderful ways that Christians have genuinely ended their e-communications, split into some general categories. Perhaps you'll find a new favourite – and if you think we've missed a cracker, tweet us @ChristianToday with your best faith-based email closer.
The final blessing
Undoubtedly the most popular category within the genre, and the easiest way to offer the secret Christian handshake in an otherwise formal communication. 'God Bless' is my favourite, partly because it's nicely unspecific about who exactly you're hoping he'll bless (The Child? America?), whereas others prefer a simple 'Blessings'. A friend of mine goes with the more flamboyant 'Massive Blessings', but I think you need to be selective about who you wish that kind of heavenly favour on.
In and under
Another hugely popular area is those sign-offs which communicate that this message, or those reading and sending it, are safely held in the hands of the almighty Potentate of Time. This begins with the more sensible 'In Him', and moves through the gears of the slightly more manly 'In His Grip', but starts getting a bit weird with phrases like 'Under Aslan's Paw.' I honestly once received an email which ended with the words 'Covered by the lamb's blood', which just makes me picture a scene from a Stephen King movie.
Sometimes you're aware that because of who you're writing to, 'Blessings' just isn't going to cut it. If you're writing to the sort of person who listens to worship music 24/7 and does Bible-verse cross-stitch in their spare time, you're going to have to bring your A-game. That's when we might resort to those slightly meaningless Christian phrases like 'Grace and peace', 'Travelling Mercies', 'Double-portions of blessing' or even the possible cry for help 'On Fire'. A rad new version of this involves creating an Icthus-style fish emoji out of the greater-than and lesser-than keys: <><. If I've just changed your life with that little tip, you're welcome.
The Rob Bell
Have a great day'
If you really want to impress your reader, try a bit of God-infused classical language. Catholics swear by the 'Pax' series of sign-offs (it's the Latin for Peace): 'Pax Tecum' is Peace be with You, while 'Pax Christi' means Peace of Christ. Don't get confused with Paxo though; that's a British instant stuffing mix. If you're not feeling quite that peaceful, you could also try 'Soli Deo gloria' (Glory to God alone). This is how I assume seminarians and Christian academics write to each other.
Communication always has a context, and when you're writing to someone at the more pentecostal or charismatic end of of the church, your language needs to bend accordingly. Luckily in this situation, we have the pentecostal lexicon to thank for some brilliant words and phrases which can turbo-boost your sign-off. 'Uncommon blessings' is a good start, or you could try 'The Kingdom Now.' If you really want to stick your neck out, try 'Awaiting the Latter Rain'.
I mean honestly. Get over yourself.
For some Christians, the end of the world is always nigh – and not just because of President Trump. For these people, every email needs to be pregnant with the impending rapture and tribulation. Some favourites in this category: the more straightforward 'Until He comes', and the slightly menacing 'Staying light as the days grow darker'. 'We will meet him in the air' is pretty much a direct quote from Scripture (1 Thessalonians 4 v 17), but your email about car parking capacity does seem like an odd moment to bring it up.
The Apostle Paul
The father of modern Christianity was also the king of the sign-off, and more mature believers may want to ape his style with an end-of-letter phrase like 'The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you' (1 Thessalonians 5:28) or even 'To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen' (Romans 16:27). Don't however use Colossians 4:18 – 'Remember my chains' – unless you want to worry people.
Martin Saunders is a Contributing Editor for Christian Today and the Deputy CEO ofYouthscape. Follow him on Twitter @martinsaunders.