Over the last year, churches have found new ways to communicate with their members. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, texting became an essential aspect of church communications plans. Once considered impersonal, churches text messaging their attendees is now widely used and is an effective and easy way to foster relationships.
Texting is, by far, the quickest and most efficient way to share information, updates, and announcements, making it a solid option for churches trying to keep their congregations in the loop. That said, texting is not just for sharing the latest on what is happening; it can be used to do so much more.
As we continue to move through the changing landscape of the pandemic, texting is a vital tool in member communication and prayer, discipleship, outreach, and pastoral care.
5 Ways Your Church Can Use Text Messaging To Connect and Disciple
1. Text Messages Prayer Requests
Over the last year, I have worked with hundreds of churches who, faced with closing their physical doors, looked for ways to keep the doors of communication open. One of the most valuable of those was the ability to pray for one another. Many churches found text messaging to be a convenient and timely method for reaching out to members for prayer requests and prayer updates.
Texting provided a safe way for people to share their requests, worries, and fears with their pastors. In turn, pastors replied with prayers of comfort, encouragement, and peace. Churches can also use texting to share prayer requests with members of their prayer team.
If you incorporated texting and are now back to in-person prayer meetings, don’t give up text messaging! It’s the perfect tool for quickly relaying messages and updates that are too pressing to wait until the next meeting. Texting out urgent requests confidentially to your prayer team is an effective way to serve your members needing prayer.If started using text messaging for sharing prayer requests during the lockdown, don't stop just because you might be back in person! This hassle-free, time-sensitive mode of sharing urgent requests is incomparable. Click To Tweet
2. Encourage Discipleship with Texting
Discipleship is a life-long pursuit. Of course, it takes on many facets, uses many tools, and utilizes many strategies as those involved develop in wisdom and faith. That said, churches can use texting as one way to facilitate some forms of discipleship.
In addition to texting reminders about an upcoming Bible study session and reminders to attend, use texts throughout a study to encourage, share short devotional thoughts, and even answer questions.
As a Bible study leader, I’ve found that people find it difficult to ask questions during a face-to-face class and might be more open to a text conversation.
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3. Texting For New Believers
In a similar vein, texting is an efficient way to follow up with new believers.
The first days and weeks after someone has committed to Christ can be full of questions, insights, and the need for deeper interaction with the pastoral staff. While nothing takes the place of in-person meetings, texting keeps the conversation going, helping the new believer learn more about their faith.
In addition, an uncertain — and possibly insecure — new believer will likely be more comfortable texting an inquiry rather than asking in person. The removal of intimacy, like that which a person would experience in a face-to-face meeting, is a huge benefit in this scenario.
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4. Church Text Messaging For Outreach
Outreach is, by definition, an opportunity to connect with your community. Believe it or not, many have found unique ways to incorporate church text messaging into their outreach strategy.
After an outreach event, use texting to continue supporting attendees. Some ideas:
- Gather numbers for texting and general communication. To encourage participation, consider offering a prize for the randomly chosen person who signed up.
- Follow up and make a casual connection, suggesting various ways they can further experience your church community. Also, remind the recipient that you can answer questions about the church or point them in the direction of answers.
- Text individuals to provide support, encouragement, and care. (This is a valuable practice for those inside the church, too!)
If you gear your outreach toward serving a community in need, you’ll develop credibility with the recipients, along with a good relationship.Use text messaging to stay in touch with event visitors. A casual, simple follow-up will communicate care and support. Click To Tweet
5. Pastoral Care and Texting
Pastoral care takes on many facets. It can involve a great deal of time and sustained support for the one needing the care. Meeting practical needs requires face-to-face interactions, but that’s not the whole story. Ongoing support and encouragement during a person’s time of need can be facilitated and made simpler using texting. Often, the saved thread of a text conversation will be a reminder and a comfort to the recipient later on.
There is a misconception that texting is impersonal. Rather, texting can lead to probing questions, deep discussions, and the opportunity for people to reach out and respond when it is most needed.
Whether you are already using texting or considering it as part of your overall communications strategy for your church, consider utilizing this effective resource beyond the standard purposes. You will create more relationship-building and faith-deepening moments when you use text messaging creatively. Try utilizing this technology for prayer requests, discipleship, trainings, and create more moments to develop connections.