If you’ve ever tried coordinating an event with your church, then you know how much it can feel like herding cats.
With youth groups, you’re trying to communicate with younger students who don’t drive and rely on parents for rides to church events. And with older students who drive themselves but are balancing their youth group activities with a number of other after-school and extracurricular activities.
Oh, and you’re also needing to coordinate with parents.
And that’s just youth ministry!
If you add the rest of your church ministries to the list, the complexities simply increase.
You have a large, scattered group of people, all of whom are busy, all of whom are getting pulled in a hundred different directions every day.
How can you possibly communicate with all of those people in a way that is reliable and won’t create an enormous amount of additional administrative work for already overworked church employees?
Answer: mass SMS messaging.
Text messaging is a far superior method of communicating with your church members.
Better than email or Facebook or even some of the private church network apps that are becoming increasingly common.
Why is texting better?
Here are 5 overarching benefits, followed by 12 specifics.
5 Overarching Benefits of SMS Messaging for Churches
First, unlike Facebook and email, texting produces consistently high engagement rates. Facebook posts will only be seen by 5% of your Facebook followers—unless you buy ads on Facebook, that is.
Emails will probably be opened by at most ⅓ of your congregants. Text messages, in contrast, will be read by up to 98% of the people you send them to!
So text messaging is simply a more reliable way of communicating, compared to a Facebook page or email.
But what about the various social networking products now available to churches that allow them to create exclusive networks only for church members? These kinds of apps do offer some benefits.
However, there is one major problem: Many of your congregants won’t use the app.
Many won't know how to use it, as is likely with older congregants. Or they won’t want to add another app to their phone that they have to keep track of, as is more likely with younger church members.
In contrast to that, text messaging is incredibly easy and won’t require your church members to add any new software to their phone in order to receive messages.
Everything will happen through a text messaging app, which everyone already has.
And getting people added to the text list is as easy as… sending a text message!
To “segment” a list is to break a large list out into smaller sub-groups in order to allow for more direct communication with particular people.
In other words, with text messaging you can have one master list for your entire congregation and then as many sub-lists as you need to communicate all that is going on in the church.
You can have sub-lists for your youth group, for Bible study groups, different small groups, and so on.
This all makes it substantially easier to communicate with different groups within your church.
SMS, unlike some other communication tools, is extremely convenient.
It’s convenient both for ministry leaders trying to reach people in their church, and for church members.
After all, everyone is used to texting. So it’s simple for recipients to just peek at their phone and see the notifications you send.
And on your end, mass messaging can be done with just a few clicks on your computer, or - even easier - a few taps on a mobile app.
How’s that for convenient?
Learning to implement new technology can be intimidating, even if it’s a simple tool.
What if you can’t figure everything out? What if things don’t work as expected?
That’s when you’re grateful for ready, available, friendly support.
Sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and walk you through things.
And at the risk of sounding impatient, you don’t want to have to wait days and days for a response. You need someone to be available in a timely manner when you need to contact with questions.
Your SMS platform provides that so that you can make the best use of the tool at your disposal.
With those 5 overarching advantages in mind, below are 10 specific benefits of using SMS for paritcular situations.
Let’s say a snowstorm looms ahead in the forecast.
You have to make the decision of whether or not to cancel church services, or cancel an event. How do you communicate this decision to all the people in your church?
An update to your website and social media profile won’t be seen by a large number of your church members.
As mentioned previously, an email will reach maybe a quarter of recipients.
A call tree is out of the question. (What decade are we living in?)
What else is there so that you don’t have a mess of scrambling as people are unsure about canceled services and events?
A simple text blast is an easy way to notify everyone that services or events are canceled.
This means less scrambling, less hassle, and less confusion!
Service is canceled tomorrow due to the impending snowstorm. Pastor Nelsen will be delivering his message via Zoom. We’ll send the link tomorrow!
Want to give your church body encouragement and keep them engaged throughout the week?
After all, one of the goals of churches meeting together is to grow in knowledge and understanding of the Bible.
So knowing this, you can use text alerts to send out encouraging (and challenging) Bible verses to keep their minds on God’s Word.
This will help them live out the apostle Paul’s exhortation to “let the Word of Christ dwell richly.”
'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.' - John 3:16, ESV
We mentioned previously about the often messy task of coordinating church ministry.
If your church is like most, it’s comprised of all sorts of different ministries.
So how can you keep all the volunteers and members of your youth ministry, music ministry, children’s ministry, women’s ministry (just to name a few) connected and coordinated?
The best way: texts!
People will pay attention to their texts so you can use it to help keep your ministries organized.
Need to update volunteers about a meeting time? Send a text.
Need to tell youth group students about an upcoming event? Send a text.
Need to let musicians know about a change in rehearsal time? Send a text.
(The list goes on.)
Don’t forget about the youth service project tomorrow at 10am! Meet in the church parking lot at 9:30 if you want to carpool downtown.
Ministry leaders all know the disappointing feeling of lack of attendance at events.
You’re excited to put on a particular event, thinking it will be a great way to bless people or to outreach to the community.
You invest time, effort, and often money into planning everything and working out all of the details.
And then barely anyone shows up.
It’s true that numbers aren’t everything and many groups are “small but mighty.”
But let’s just be honest: it’s always nice to get more attendance when possible!
Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder - Sending a quick text or two ahead of time is an effective way to drive up attendance.
Because all of our lives are busy, and we could all use a little reminder from time to time!
Hope to see you at the Worship Night at 7pm tonight in the Family Center!
We all can relate to the uneasy feeling of coming somewhere new - a new environment, new group of people.
Church leaders and members all want to make newcomers and visitors feel comfortable and welcome.
How can SMS help?
Texts provide another tool for outreach to guests. You can conveniently provide them with information and other follow-up details right there on their phone.
Through text you can ask how their visit was and whether they have any questions about your church and ministries.
This will be much less likely to be ignored than an email, and feels more personal too.
Thanks for visiting on Sunday! We love to see new faces! Were there any questions we could help answer for you?
What do you currently rely on for church updates and announcements?
Newsletters? Emails? Social media? Website? Verbal announcements?
I’m sure you can agree that these are all flawed methods.
As we’ve discussed, most of these updates won’t be seen by a majority of church members. Or they’ll be quickly forgotten.
In contrast, texts can communicate announcements and updates in a way that won’t be ignored or forgotten nearly as easily.
In case you missed the announcement Sunday, the Christmas program will be on Saturday, Dec. 13th at 7pm. Hope to see you there!
Church leaders love helping people understand the Bible. That is, after all, one of the main reasons people work in ministry!
Texts give you a way to expand people’s knowledge of God’s Word by providing an avenue to submit questions.
Some people may be more likely to submit fairly anonymous questions via text rather than in person. So this can give them a non-intimidating opportunity to learn and grow.
Your pastors or church leaders could answer the text-in questions live from the pulpit. Or it could be a more personal one-on-one exchange over text.
Text “Question” to ###-###-#### and follow the instructions to submit a question for Pastor Nelsen!
Your church probably has small group meetings throughout the week - Bible study groups, prayer groups, accountability groups, “life groups,” and so on.
But let’s say you need to change the meeting location on a particular week.
Or you’re planning a Christmas party and need to communicate the details.
Or you want to reiterate prayer requests that were shared during your meeting.
The best way to keep these small groups up to date on meeting times/locations, events, and other details is through SMS.
That way, everybody knows what’s going on and no one is lost in the shuffle! (Plus, communicating all of this information via SMS is a snap.)
Bible study is tonight at 7pm at the Jensens’! You can review the discussion questions ahead of time here: [link]
A local church is a community - a family. They are brothers and sisters doing life together.
And families take care of each other!
But how can you care for each other if you aren’t aware of the needs that are out there?
Social media is OK for this, but it’s a little too public sometimes. And not everyone is on every platform.
On the other hand, everyone texts.
SMS provides a quick and easy way to share needs with church members. That way, everyone can be praying for one another and filling needs as they are able.
Pray for Kelly Harper and her family as she was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Let’s surround the Harpers with our prayers, love, and support in this time of trial!
Want to help the Sunday sermon “stick” with your church members?
Use texts to send follow-up reminders of the sermon points, key Bible verses, and/or challenging questions on how to apply the message.
This can help make churchgoing less of a consumer-based “enjoy the sermon and go home” experience.
Instead, help make church attendance more of a life practice to live out throughout the week.
Remember from Pastor Nelsen’s sermon that if you’re a believer in Christ alone for forgiveness of sin, you’re a child of God. This week, think especially about God as Father and how that impacts your life and your relationship with Him.
Any tool that is going to make communication easier within your church needs to combine ease of use with high engagement.
By that standard, there is simply nothing out there that even comes close to what SMS is able to offer.
Ready to try it out for your church?
Start sending mass text alerts to your entire list today!GET FREE TRIAL