How to Engage Church Members with Group Text Messaging

Struggling to get your congregation engaged?

Most churches have a few committed members who will be active no matter what. But a large portion of their congregants just show up on Sundays, and that's it.

How do you get a greater portion of your members to stay engaged with your ministries and programs? Start by using the best communications channel.

We'll show you why text messaging is the right way to go and some powerful text campaigns you can use to get your congregation more involved.

How to Engage Church Members: Group Text Messaging

Your congregants lead busy lives, and capturing their attention -- getting heard through all that “noise” -- is increasingly difficult. Whether you’re seeking volunteers for an event or requesting donations for a family in need, your messages won’t yield results if they go unnoticed. Email winds up in SPAM folders, direct mail is expensive, slow, and environmentally unfriendly, and social media posts generate lower engagement than ever.

Your messages are important, and your community members want to receive them; you need to find a communications channel that reaches them wherever they are.

Text-based outreach can solve these problems.

Why Text Messaging Works for Church Engagement

Short Message Service (SMS) messaging is hands-down the most effective way to reach your congregants, staff, and volunteers.

Everyone with a mobile phone can receive text messages. And text messaging is rapidly becoming the communications method of choice, for people of all ages. It’s easy, quick, and -- most important for you and your community -- noticed. Open rates for text messages exceed 98%. And more than 90% of those messages are opened within three minutes!

Need more evidence that text messaging is the most powerful communications channel? Check out 42 Unbelievable Text Message Marketing Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind.

EZ Texting’s text messaging costs pennies per message and requires no software to download, or monthly minimums or commitments. We’ll even give you free messages to try it, so you have nothing to lose. Use SMS to foster community engagement, increase event attendance, facilitate vital relationships, promote volunteer opportunities, encourage giving, share inspirational messaging, and much more. And most of all, spend less time communicating and more time dedicated to your core missions.

Faith-based organizations have great messages to share, but all too often do so ineffectively by relying on ineffective communications channels. And none of those channels -- email, direct mail, phone calls...even social media -- approach the power of church text messaging. Moreover, those channels are far more expensive than text, particularly given their low efficiency and reach.

It’s time to reach out to your community members using the means of communication they’re using with each other. And the time and money you’ll save will allow you to pursue more inspiring activities.

A Simple, Inexpensive, and Effective Communications Tool

With text messaging, your congregants are contacted wherever they are. There’s an immediacy -- and intimacy -- to text messaging that other channels simply don’t have. And when it comes to faith-based outreach, these traits are ideal.

Encourage your parishioners to sign up for daily or weekly inspirational messages or scripture quotes. Share urgent information -- event cancellations, last-minute venue changes, or a sudden need for volunteers -- quickly and reliably. Has a road closure blocked one of the primary routes to church? Send a text recommending an alternative -- you’ll reach people en route, save them time and frustration, and improve the likelihood they’ll arrive at your service.

Trying to connect with parish youth? Average daily screen time for 18-24 year-olds is an astonishing ten hours. SMS is the means by which this demographic communicates; if you want your messages to resonate with them, try reaching out on their terms. You’ll be amazed at the response.

The EZ Texting platform allows you to log in from anywhere, and on any device -- you just need an internet connection. And it’s truly easy: select your opted-in contacts, compose your message, and send.

Keep in mind that you have to have consent before you send any messages, and there are several easy ways to obtain it. For example, why not have greeters with tablets welcoming congregants to your services and encouraging them to sign up on the spot? It’s a warm and friendly way to welcome people and connect with them.

Church Text Message Marketing Playbook

How Churches Are Engaging Members with Text Messaging

Saddleback Church (yes, that's Rick Warren's megachurch) has been using text messaging to engage church members effectively in several ways. Saddleback replaced the expensive and cumbersome pager system used in the children's ministry to contact parents if they're needed. Now, children's ministry staff just send a quick text to parents in case of an emergency.

They've also used text messaging to connect with attendees at major services like Christmas and Easter. Saddleback uses Keywords and Short Codes to get people to sign up and engage before and during services.

The church also sends inspirational and devotional content via Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) texts, which include inspiring images, quotes, and scripture passages.

Read the full Saddleback case study.

Third Reform Church, located in Pella, Iowa, is another church which uses text messaging to connect with members. Student Ministry Leader Craig Zulthoff has grown his text messaging list to include over 80% of the students he serves. Zulthoff says special event attendance has significantly increased when he sends SMS announcements and reminders.

Zulthoff sends texts about twice a week to his students with information about small group locations and opportunities to serve.

Read the full Third Reform Church case study.

A Free Church Texting Resource

If you've been struggling to engage your church members, mass text messaging can be the tool which helps you connect with congregants in a meaningful way.

For more than a decade, we've helped over 160,000 customers, many of whom are churches, engage their contacts with bulk text messaging.

We've compiled some of the best text messaging campaigns which have worked especially well for connecting with church members in a free resource which you can access right now.

In The Church Text Message Marketing Playbook, you'll find templates for 21 types of text messages that have proven to drive engagement. Templates include:

  • Childcare Alerts
  • Service or Class Changes
  • Sermon Teasers & Notes
  • Encourage Online Giving
  • Worship Set Lists
  • Traffic & Parking Details

Get your copy now.

Church Text Message Marketing Playbook