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When dealing with a church congregation, if you’re attempting to integrate technology as a solution to quickly reach your members, SMS text messaging may be a good solution that provides a number of options to assist in monitoring who receives the message, getting feedback from your congregation, sending out surveys and other incentives that will maximize your investment.
Why should a church use SMS Messaging?
It’s quick, convenient and reaches a higher number of people than other methods of communication. Matter-of-fact, Nielsen Mobile reports that almost ninety-seven percent read their text messages within fifteen minutes, and over eighty-four percent respond to them within the hour. SMS provides an on-the-go solution that is tailored for any person who uses a standard cellular phone. SMS text messaging technology works the same way for both standard and smart phones.
How can I implement SMS texting in my ministry?
Start simple. Integrating the SMS platform may take some getting used to from your congregation, but they will soon find it useful and effective. Here are a few suggestions:
- Important Announcements - Keeping the congregation up to speed on events, cancellations or other important items is a great way to keep them connected.
- Advertising and Promotions - This is an effective way to promote events and special dates in advance, sending reminders along the way. Other social media events can also be broadcast via SMS to keep everyone on the same page and introduce the congregation to all your platforms.
- Surveying - SMS messaging gives you a chance to see what your congregation thinks on a number of items through the live surveying features. Additionally, you can conduct live polls, have a back-and-forth conversation, and use the messaging feature as a filter to address questions as they are posed. This can work when conducting workshops and other trainings or rehearsals by having them text questions and displaying them on a screen for an interactive and engaging experience.
- Collecting Information - Your congregation can text information to help you stay in contact with them, such as email addresses and other metrics to give them options on how they want to be contacted. This way they can get updates on whatever platform they choose that will be most beneficial to them.
- Dissemination of information to others - SMS messaging can be used to communicate with other churches and networks beyond your location. Pastors can communicate with each other, and congregations can text in their progress or situations for assistance in areas where email and phone services are not a good option for communicating.
How can we implement an SMS messaging system?
Finding the right provider is the first step. There are a number of solutions on the market, so research must be done to find the one that will best suit your needs. Once you have determined the right platform, getting buy-in from your congregation is the next move. Your marketing ministry should employ tactics that will get your congregants to opt-into your messaging campaign. They can either text a code, or sign-up through an online forum where they will receive a confirmation text. In every SMS messaging campaign, it is best to always have a way to opt-out if the person wishes to discontinue services.
Your campaign for SMS messaging must include a variety of methods to reach everyone in your congregation. For those who do not have an unlimited plan, you should inform them of their choices and provide a disclaimer for additional charges that may be incurred if they only have a select number of text messages allowed in their monthly plan. There are ways around this dilemma – building a church app can alleviate this issue and allow those individuals who want to receive the information a quick and seamless way to get what they need without worrying about extra charges. For both parties, this is a simple and effective resolution.
Taking the time to explain to your congregation why you are moving toward technological innovation is also important. Being proactive in letting them know from the beginning will not only help you in promoting your initiative, but will help those congregants who are still leery of using these innovative methods become more comfortable with the entire scenario. The key is getting everyone on one accord.