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5 Keys to Handling Text Messaging in Ministry

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Do you remember when texting first became “a thing?” It was confusing to me. I didn’t understand why someone would type on their flip phone when they could just call me.

My, have times changed. Now, you can text so quickly and efficiently that George Jetson couldn’t have imagined it. As I type this, I look down at my watch and think of how many texts I’ve sent from this little device, via audio.

Let’s leverage text message communication for Jesus. Here are five keys to handle it with excellence:

Here are five keys to handle it with excellence:

1. Be above reproach when texting someone of the opposite sex.

My leadership team and I have instituted a policy that if we’re texting someone of the opposite sex, always include a third party. For example, my children’s minister is a woman. I always include either my wife or my associate pastor when texting her.

This keeps the conversation from even having a hint of devolving into an inappropriate relationship. It’s a safeguard to keep you above reproach.

2. Reply in a timely manner.

For all correspondence, you should reply within a 24-hour-period. For texts, replies should come even more quickly. A simple way to handle this, if you don’t have time to focus on their text is to say, “Thanks so much for your text. I’m in the middle of something right now and will reply to you as soon as I can.” This way, the person knows you’ve at least acknowledged the text.

3. If someone over-texts you, kindly ask them to transition to emailing you.

I’ve had this happen. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of texting and prefer email. At least once a month, I will text someone back and just tell them I’d prefer to communicate via email so I can do a better job separating work life from home life. Without reservation, people have understood and been cool with that response.

4. Use proper spelling and be professional, including with your usage of emojis.

People love to use their text language. LOL, IMO, Thx, BRB, K, etc. These things may save you two to three seconds, but they don’t look professional. Go the extra mile, take a few extra seconds, and type with excellence.

I recently read an article about how people view the usage of emojis as unprofessional. Err on the side of being too professional in your texts than being unprofessional.

5. Be aware of your tone.

Texting’s biggest frustration is the lack of ability to read tone. Be cautious in how you type so people can’t misinterpret your words as harsh or overly-sarcastic. Be winsome in your approach to text message communication.

Yes, texting is a part of our lives. We must seek to handle this amazing tool with excellence and expediency. Do you have any additional thoughts on handling text message communication in ministry? Let me know either on social media or in the comment section below.

Jeremy Roberts
Jeremy Robertshttp://jeremyroberts.org
Jeremy Roberts is the lead pastor of Church of the Highlands in Chattanooga, TN, an adjunct professor at Liberty University and Midwestern Seminary, and author of several books. He helps people, just like you, succeed in life by resourcing about leadership, church growth, creativity, and vision. He loves Jesus, his wife, and his two daughters. I like the Dallas Cowboys. Jeremy blogs at JeremyRoberts.org.

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