Efficient and timely communication remains a top goal for churches, pastors, and church communicators. With the overabundance and variation of social media apps being used by people today, along with the number of emails being sent and received, the advantages of text messaging for churches is obvious – everyone texts because it is direct, simple, and at everyone’s fingertips.
Communication preferences will vary within any group of people spanning church communities and age groups. Texting, however, is a common denominator that fits into most everyone’s mobile lifestyle. Sharing information effectively with a church congregation makes a difference to everyone, and some situations can be more important than others. Sharing prayer requests, event reminders, and even emergency announcements are all real ways churches are using texting to directly reach their members.
This inexpensive method for communicating and sharing information can transform church communications in a major way.
Here are 10 advantages of text messaging for churches:
#1 – Inexpensive Church Outreach
The cost of communicating and doing outreach can be a driving factor in the way churches communicate. Some churches may have healthy budgets dedicated to communications and others may not. Either way, cost-effective communication solutions are available to help churches reach their congregations, and texting is one of them.
Sending text messages, even to an entire congregation, is less expensive than printing flyers or other paper items, and is definitely less expensive than sending mailings. In addition to saving on printing and mailing costs, information that is texted is also more likely to be shared. Receiving a text message is a dynamic action that usually gets instant attention. Very few pieces of paper or even emails have that kind of immediate power in our distracted world.
In terms of time, it also takes just a few moments to send and receive a text message. This is very different than the time and money it takes to create, print, and distribute printed announcements. Texting can save churches money on both materials and staff time.
Churches can save time and money by using text messages by:
- Sending group message reminders about upcoming events – no paper fliers needed
- Receiving group message responses via text – reduces staff time spent receiving return phone calls
#2 – Reach More People
There is no doubt that social media posts, Sunday bulletins, and seasonal mailings are great ways to advertise events and to make announcements to congregations. Texting, on the other hand, is a faster and more personal way reach church members.
We are much more connected, and I find the immediacy of the text a much more effective tool than I have ever had before and I get immediate responses where before it would take days or weeks,” says Rodney Veldhuizen of Riverview Reformed Church.
The modern-day reliance on mobile devices makes it easier than ever to reach out to people because their phones are always with them or close by. Most everyone is checking their text messages several times an hour and is conditioned to respond promptly. This is good news for churches, especially for ones that are accustomed to making phone calls and handing out fliers. Reaching more people in a more timely way will please everyone.
Another advantage of texting is that churches can reach out to their congregation as individuals and/or via groups. Special or emergency church messages might be sent to the entire congregation while individual groups or ministry teams can have their own texting groups set up so they can send and receive specific communications. Again, texting provides this kind of direct, fast, and efficient way to communicate with a large group of people at the same time.
Bulk messaging allows churches to send invitations, appointment reminders, or inspirational quotes to a whole group of people at once, rather than a single message at a time.
#3 – Auto Messaging
Trying to get a message to an entire congregation can be a tedious process. Auto-messaging is a convenient and practical tool for churches that may want to send special messages for an anniversary, birthday, or other celebrations each year. Automation also frees up more time for those in the church to plan and organize events.
Groups can be set up to receive the text messages so that churches can send personalized text messages to families, youth groups, kids, and adults. Criteria can also be set up for automated messages (such as a christening, birthday, holiday or special events) to create specific messages for certain groups. Creating different groups ensures that everyone in the group gets the right text message sent to them at the right time.
#4 – Receiving Feedback
Using text messages to get feedback is an excellent way for leaders to gather more information. Whether it’s regarding a sermon, selection of songs, or an event survey, getting crucial feedback can help any church improve its communication.
Feedback also allows people in the church to get involved, add their voice to important matters, and to feel heard. When churches open the lines of communication to get their members ideas and to answer their questions, people feel included and part of the church.
Getting people involved allows them to feel important and relevant within the church community. And getting feedback is important for any church, especially when it comes to important events that may need direction. Using text messaging for surveys is a super convenient and easy way to get feedback.
#5 – Subscription List
One of the main goals of many businesses and organizations is to grow their subscription list. Churches are should have this as a goal as well. Creating a subscription list allows people to sign up for text messaging notifications.
Churches add current members to their lists and also invite people to refer their friends to the join the church lists too. This allows new members or church shoppers to see how the church fits their lifestyle and whether they want to attend services on a regular basis.
Subscriptions are an excellent solution for those that want to expand their message to new people, and getting them involved with a subscription is an excellent way to do it. Churches can accommodate anyone on their subscription list. This allows people to have more access to the church’s activities and new members begin to understand what goes on inside the church.
#6 – Use Text Messaging for Live Polls
A live poll is an excellent way to gauge how people are responding to the sermon in real time. Consider an interactive sermon where congregants ask questions about concepts presented during the talk. The pastor responds to questions quickly. Again, this makes congregants feel as if they are a part of the community and a part of the service.
Interactivity allows congregations to join in and feel like they’re contributing to the conversation, rather than sitting in their chair. There are different ways to manage the text messages that come pouring in during the sermon to prevent any unwanted interruptions. There should be some training and rehearsals conducted before the live texting sermon, otherwise, the timing and too much information can stall a sermon.
Surveys allow people to be included during the sermon and ask questions, either to the speaker or another individual.
#7 – Collecting Information
Everyone wants to be kept in the loop and churches can use text messaging to share information quickly and easily. Texting can also be used to collect important information from congregations as well. Information collection could be as simple as collecting RSVPs for an event or meeting or could be more in-depth by sending out a survey.
Congregants will not have to make a special trip to the church office or call during their busy schedule to make a special request or submit information. Messaging is quick and an ideal way to get people together to help out in any way they can.
#8 – Use Text Messaging for Emergencies
During emergencies, text messages can become a vital tool that makes a huge difference in the life of a church community. If any weather, fire, or other accident happens, text messages can be sent out by the church to help guide people to safety or provide other instructions. This is especially important in rural communities where landlines may be few and far between and cellphone service can be spotty.
Using text messages during an emergency allows the church to spread out the safety information quickly and easily to those in the congregation to keep people safe. This is a practical idea for those churches that may also be a disaster response receiving center for their area in the event of a major disaster. Whatever the case, text messaging can get the word out fast and potentially help save lives in emergency situations.
#9 – Church Updates
There are many reasons to send out text messages, whether it is to say that there will be a special guest speaker at this Sunday’s service or that the church is under construction or an event is canceled due to unforeseen circumstance.
Sending out timely updates helps people plan ahead so they do not miss important activities. These updates can also help people avoid hassles like coming to an event that has been rescheduled. Giving your congregation the information they need beforehand will save a lot of time, effort, and headaches. No matter how small the matter is, congregations appreciate when their church reaches out and lets them know about any schedule changes.
#10 – Improve Marketing for the Church
Church marketing is an important and ideal way to invite new people to learn more about your church and encourage them to join services and events. People can also learn more about the church if they see more content from the church. Marketing and outreach messages about events and upcoming sermons can easily be sent via text to visitors, people who are new to the congregation or to church shoppers who might want to receive more information. Texting is a practical and easy way to market to an entirely new set of people.
Another practical marketing tactic for texting is to place a link to the church website in the text message. This gives people quick access to more information and additional tools. The text is the most direct way to get people’s attention through a short a concise message. Websites are where longer-form content can be accessed. This is a real-world marketing strategy that is easy to do and it takes minimal time to set-up.
Use Texting to Become a More Connected Congregation
More churches use text messaging and Mobile Text Alerts to improve their marketing strategy, whether it is to spread the Word of God or to welcome more people to join their congregation. Churches have noticed how effective text messaging can be.
We no longer hear ‘I didn’t know’ which was quite common before we started texting,” says Andrea Solid from Mountaintop Faith Ministries.
These are just a few of the examples of how churches can use text messages to positively build their communications, marketing, and outreach programs. Free Texting Marketing trial accounts are also available for churches who are interested in exploring this tool.