Religious groups and churches across the US are experiencing to the benefits of mobile marketing as a way of reaching out to their local communities. With almost half of teens citing text messaging as the most important consideration when choosing a cell phone, mobile communications is helping religious organizations tackle one of their toughest challenges: engaging with teens and young adults.
The short messages of SMS group communication make it perfect for prayer requests and Bible quotations and for sending out information about upcoming meetings and social events. In fact, there are all sorts of reasons why group messaging for churches is taking off in a big way…
Polls and Quizzes
Churches are constantly striving for greater inclusivity, and that means keeping track of the needs of their parish. Traditionally, this was achieved during church meetings, either with cumbersome pen and paper surveys or a show of hands. Both of these methods rely on attendance figures to work. Group messaging for churches provides a much greater response rate and a further reach.
Texting can be used to ask the congregation which music should be played to open a service, to take a vote on their favorite sermon or a straw pollon how many people plan to attend an upcoming event. Thanks to SMS technology, congregations all over the world are being encouraged to participate more fully in their church.
Instead of writing requests on cards and dropping it into a box during the Sunday Service, churchgoers can now text in prayers as soon as inspiration strikes. Prayer requests are then collected automatically into a single document, printed out and distributed to staff. Some churches are even using side-screens to display prayer requests during services.
Live Q & A
Improving congregation feedback helps to foster a more communal atmosphere, which is why so many organizations are latching on to the possibilities of group messaging for churches. SMS technology allows church staff to moderate questions as they come in, and is even being used to communicate directly with priests, pastors, imams and rabbis during their teachings.
Event Invites and Reminders
As anyone responsible for organizing regular events will tell you, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Service time changes, youth event pick up locations, event cancellations – all are subject to Murphy’s Law. Church texting services ensure a smooth passage from initial invitation to final updates, eliminating the crushing sense of disappointment felt by parishioners when they show up to find a cancellation notice pinned to the chapel door.
As with all group messaging services, the key is to use the technology sparingly. Once people start getting frequent, frivolous texts, they will treat them like the white noise of television commercials and simply tune out.
Text alerts have a broad range of applications useful for church groups:
- Spiritual encouragement
- Pertinent scripture verses
- Request to invite a friend to a service
- Guest speaker notifications
Incorporating technology into religious services has been a growing trend for years. Just as screens with song lyrics and spiritual messages helped up services engagement, mobile communications in churches are engaging younger generations and making services more interactive for congregations. These simple messages are keeping religious communities connected in today’s tech savvy world.