- Posted April 22, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Should Churches Be Involved in Text Messaging?
Paul had written in Second Corinthians 6:17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” There are many ways of the world around you that should not be emulated, though just about everyone seems to be doing them. Yet text messaging is a largely uninvestigated method of worldly outreach that has excellent potential to not only grow a congregation, but to make the tasks of ministry much more efficient while drawing it’s members closer together in work and worship.
If you’ve never thought about it, take a few moments to look at a few possibilities text messaging can bring to your congregation. Once each member is subscribed – very easy – their name and number is saved in a database that belongs exclusively to you.
• Send out a personal word to any one subscriber – a word of encouragement or reminder to help your day flow as smoothly as you intended when it began.
• Create as many segregated lists as you desire for mass messaging. For instance, begin to engage or reengage your younger members who are often the most frequent “texters” out there. What do you think they should hear from you as they are out and about their day? The world is a newer place to them than it is to you.
• Create a poll for your congregation or just a certain part of it. Would you like some fast feedback on an idea you or someone has? It’s easy to do, and beats counting hands in the air or phoning each member.
• Have you just received a prayer request? Would you like others to join in prayer? Now you don’t have to wait until Sunday morning.
• Your congregation probably doesn’t meet most days of the week, and some on your list you may only see infrequently. Change that. Use texting to share a comforting thought or a verse of scripture that’s been on your mind. Or, set up in advance a series of messages for everyone to receive, and do the work once for the week or even once for the month. You easily schedule once, and the rest is automatically deployed.
• Paper bulletins are an expense, but are still important. Don’t stop mailing, yet in the rush of the day, the bulletin may not take a high priority. Texting key announcements can quickly inform and engage members, while paper and email only gets read “whenever”, and can cause sluggish results and participation. You choose exactly when to get their attention!
• Make easy work of community outreach. If your church has ever hosted a raffle or a contest, use the event to gather the names and phone numbers of all the possible winning ticket holders. What would it be like to double or triple the lives your ministry touches in a few days or weeks?
Emails and bulletins are still read, but the shiny novelty of receiving an email has long worn off for most of us who now feel bombarded with email. Statistically, text messages have an open rate in the high ninety percent range with a remarkably high response rate across many business verticals. Nearly 90% of texts are read within three minutes. Take advantage of those facts, and watch as your daily responsibilities flow more smoothly, while your church grows steadier in strength and inspiration.