How To Use Text Messages For Church Outreach

November 12, 2018 - 8 minutes read

Effective communication and outreach is a top priority for churches, pastors, and church communicators. And churches have used various tools from social media to emails to connect with the community.

Despite the ease of communication, reaching people at the right time still seems to be a problem.

Luckily, text messages make it easier to get your message across – mainly because they are direct, simple, and cost-effective.

Sharing information such as prayer requests, event reminders, or emergency announcements with your congregation and community members makes a difference to society as a whole and helps in your church outreach efforts.

In this article, I’ll take you through a few ways in which you can use text messages to improve engagement and boost church outreach.

Foster engagement with your congregation

Effective communication helps in reaching out to new community members while keeping existing members engaged and connected to the church. This means you need to nurture your audience to keep them interested in your church and its activities.

Tools like peer-to-peer texting help you nurture personal connections by engaging in one-on-one conversations with congregation members. It lets you have genuine conversations with members (as opposed to generic text blasts), and record a database based on their responses so that you can send relevant messages to the right set of people.

You can send texts to increase communication with parents, make services interactive, and send daily Bible passages to foster engagement. Moreover, you can have personalized conversations at scale. That is, you can personalize each text with tags, for example, {first_name}, which will fill up the member’s first name in the message when sent.

For example, a p2p to initiate a conversation would be something like:
Hi Jane! The youth group is traveling to Brooklyn next week to paint houses. Can you donate $25 to support them?

Make use of Sign-up drives to reach out to a large audience

Whether you’re delivering a sermon or organizing church activities like fundraisers, it is important to reach out to your community at the right time and through the right channel. For this, you must collect contact information of your congregation and interested community members.

You can easily achieve this by setting up an SMS sign-up drive. You can either get members to opt-in to receive text updates after church service or promote the keyword on social media channels, billboards, or posters urging people to sign up.

For example, you can put a sign saying:
Text “HOPE” to 56112 to find out more about our church events and activities.

Once a community member texts the keyword, an automated reply will be sent to collect their information. “Thanks for connecting with <name of church>! Stay tuned for announcements, words of encouragement and special reminders. Please text your name, email, and zip code – Pastor James”.

Keep everyone in the loop

One thing your congregation appreciates is when you reach out and let them know about any schedule changes. No matter how minor the information is, sending out timely updates helps people plan ahead. These updates can help them avoid any unnecessary hassles.

You can broadcast texts to keep your congregation in the loop about a special guest speaker at the Sunday service, call for prayers, or inform people about a rescheduled event.

Sample text:
Former Olympic gold medalist Jamie Shoemaker will join us on Sunday at 10 AM to talk about physical health and healing. Remember to bring your Bible, pen, and paper.

Increase member retention

The main goal for church staff and volunteers is to help members and first timers feel loved and welcomed. And a good way to do it is to follow-up with them after they’ve attended a sermon or event at your church.

Send them a follow-up text one or two times per week which will make them feel welcomed, appreciate you, and will be happy to come back to your church. You can send a Saturday morning text inviting them to Sunday services or send a text after a sermon to ensure the message stays strong with the attendees.

Receive feedbacks

Feedback allows people in the church to get involved and lend their voice to important matters. It is also an excellent way for churches to gather more information regarding a sermon, selection of songs, or an event.

An SMS survey is a fine way to initiate a two-way conversation. So send feedback questions occasionally by including a survey, record responses, and give the church members a way to participate in communal decisions.

All you have to do is send out text messages to your congregation with your polls. The information collected through these forms can be used later to reach out to members and to keep them engaged.

Give information regarding emergencies

If your church takes care of disaster relief or acts as a meetup center for your community, it is important to be able to reach out to people in time through text messages. You can send texts to guide people to safety or provide other instructions to contact a larger number of people with just a single click.

Schedule reminders for important events

Whether you’re organizing an important fundraiser or a fun church activity, you need to send frequent reminders to your congregation.

But with all the work that goes into planning an event, you may not have time to create a text message campaign on a particular day. Luckily, tools like CallHub let you schedule invitation messages and other reminders in advance to be sent out at a particular date and time. This way you can ensure you have a strong attendance at your event

These are just a few examples of how churches can use text messages to improve engagement, grow their congregation, build communications and outreach programs. If you’re planning your next church outreach, check out CallHub’s text messaging software.

For further information on how to get started with text messaging reach out to us at [email protected]

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