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Texting. It’s not just for teens anymore! People of every age use text messaging for quick communication. Yes, there are some things that should still be reserved for verbal conversation. But texting really is an efficient way for friends to share information.

And it’s not just for friends and family members, either. Colleagues and co-workers use it even in professional settings. Text messaging is becoming more and more commonplace in businesses, schools, and other organizations for emergency alerts, advertising, or any other brief message to a group of people. Joining this trend is a simple matter for churches and ministries – and perhaps even a necessary thing to do if you want to stay connected to your people in the most effective way.

The great thing about text messages is that anyone with a cell phone can receive them. Even people who do not have smart phones, and people who do not send texts themselves, can still benefit from a text message program from their church or other organizations that they support.

If you have a phone tree or call list program at your church that is still very effective at reaching key people, then text messaging can simply be another tool you can add to your system. But in today’s fast-paced world, methodical phone-tree lists may not always be the best way to reach large groups of people quickly. Also, like it or not, many younger people do not answer phone calls; they will, however, immediately read a text message.

Another benefit to text messaging for your church is that texts can easily be sent to large numbers of people with little effort. Most smart phones allow multiple lists or groups of contacts. This way, one message can be sent to everyone on a contact list without you or another church leader having to write the same message over and over or make multiple phone calls.

Here are four ways that churches and ministries can use text messaging to increase engagement and stay connected with members and partners.

Emergency alerts and urgent updates

This might be the least glamorous way of using text messaging, but one of the most practical. Many schools and other organizations use text messaging for this purpose. Urgent information like traffic delays or closures due to weather can be sent out to every church member via text; this way, everyone gets the same information at the same time. Other non-urgent updates can also be sent as texts, such as reminders about events. Non-urgent updates might be better reserved for the church Facebook page or other social media outlets, but if the majority of your church is more text-savvy than social media savvy, then texting is a viable option.

Parental alerts for the nursery or children’s church

There are many different child check-in and security programs for church nurseries. Whether your church uses an outside program or a smaller, more manual method, text messaging can be a key element. During the worship service, parents can receive a simple text if they are needed in the nursery for their child; this is a subtle, non-disruptive notification method, and helps to maintain confidentiality.

Communication with the pastor or other church leaders

Many pastors and church leaders, wanting to be easily accessible to their people, freely provide their cell phone numbers. As a church leader, even if your favorite form of personal communication is not text messaging, you should be aware that it is the preferred method of many, especially younger people. As mentioned earlier, there are some conversations that really need to be verbal or even face-to-face; and you as a leader would best know when those times are. But for simple questions or setting appointments, texting is a quick and efficient way for your people to stay in touch with you.

Group sharing

Prayer requests, praise reports, a daily inspiration quote or Bible verse – these are some options to foster group participation. Like the previous example, this text messaging option is two-way communication. Depending on the size of your church, this use of text messaging might work better within small groups. For example, a daily Bible verse sent to members of the women’s Bible study, or praise reports and picture-sharing within the youth group. Much of this sort of group sharing would be easier and more effective on social media, such as the church’s Facebook page. But text messaging can still be effective if many of the group members do not use social media, or to ensure that everyone in the group receives the same information at the same time.

To make any of these techniques work, there of course needs to be a system in place within your church for gathering, updating, and maintaining a cell phone list. Security concerns would also need to be addressed, since many people are very conservative with sharing their phone number.

As mentioned in two of these suggestions, social media is a broader, more interactive option for much of this communication and information-sharing. Whether your church utilizes more texting over social media really depends on the individuals within your organization. You as a church leader know your people best; so it is up to you to tailor a blend of text messaging and social media to most effectively reach your people.

Even so, with consistency and good organization, text messaging can offer an efficient, low-tech solution to much of your church-wide communication.

2 Responses

  1. Andy

    Hi! Wondering if there has been any research or if there is a recommendation for a vendor or app plugin that will accommodate mass texting for this type of communication. Thanks!

    Reply

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