“Why Your Church Needs to be Texting in 2023” is written by Dillon Wilson, Texting and Engagement Lead at Gloo. Gloo helps churches and people connect to one another and then powers those connections with the right digital tools.
In today’s digital age, communication has become easier and more convenient than ever before.
And while traditional methods still have their place, there’s no denying that texting is the go-to communication method for many people.
This trend is not limited to personal communication; it’s also taking over church communication.
In the past, churches relied on bulletins, newsletters, emails, and announcements during services to keep their congregations informed. However, as technology has advanced, churches are seeing the benefits of texting as a way to communicate with their members and communities.
Texting is the most popular way to communicate
According to a recent survey by The Barna Group, 67% of churches in the United States use texting to communicate with their members. In addition, 91% of pastors report using their personal cell phones for ministry-related communication.
So, why is texting so popular?
For one thing, texting is fast and effective.
People are always on their phones, and they’re more likely to see and respond to a text message than any other form of communication. This is especially true when it comes to urgent or time-sensitive information, such as changes to service times or last-minute updates.
In fact, a recent Pew study says 98% of all texts get opened. For church leaders, this means your message is nearly guaranteed to be opened and read in a timely manner.
SMS statistics reveal that, since 2022, 41% of people prefer getting updates via text, and 75% of people 44 and younger like being able to contact businesses, organizations, and churches via text.
Since texting is a two-way communication tool, it seems like a no-brainer for churches looking to build relationships and get people engaged.
Five Ways Texting Will Impact Your Ministry
Now that we’ve established why texting is such an important communication tool for churches, let’s explore some ways you can use texting to improve communication with your congregation.
1. Receive Prayer Requests
Texting can be a powerful tool for sharing prayer requests. You start by creating a QR code for your church phone number and displaying it during service, sharing via email, including the number on your website, and more—put it everywhere, so your congregation, and people just searching for support, can easily scan and share their prayer requests at any time.
This can easily double or even triple the amount of prayer happening in your church. You can also easily let people know when they’ve been prayed for, so they know you’re here for them.
2. Broadcast Messages
One of the simplest and most effective ways to use texting is to send reminders about upcoming events or services. This could include reminders about church services, volunteer opportunities, small group meetings, or end-of-year giving campaigns.
3. New Visitors
It can be intimidating to show up at a new church for the first time. Make your new visitors feel at ease by sharing your QR code right on the front door, so you can text them a warm welcome message and directions to the right location. After the service, make it easy to connect personally.
4. Engage Between Sundays
Engage your people every day of the week, not just on Sundays. Use texting to send readings to your congregants, remind them of upcoming church events, or start them in a study group.
5. Reach Your Community
You’re probably noticing that a QR code is a core component of a strong texting strategy. Did you know, you can use the same QR code you use in your prayer requests and put it all around your city? This way people who are looking for support can reach out to your community. What a great way to start a relationship with someone who needs your support.
PRO TIP: Something to be aware of is that anti-SPAM rules surrounding phone number verification are changing. If you want to add texting to your communication strategy, you will want to act fast, otherwise, you could be waiting up to 6 weeks for verification.
Don’t Buy a Church Texting Platform Until You Answer These 7 Questions
Buying a church texting solution doesn’t need to be complicated.
As a church leader, buying software for your church can be a mix of excitement and dread. On one hand, you are excited about a tool that can make your work easier and help you build more relationships. On the other hand, as a steward of your church’s limited resources, you know that any investment you make needs to get the job done with no surprise costs.
Whether you’re new to church texting, or you’re interested in switching platforms, here are 7 things you should look for in a texting platform.
1. Does it integrate with other tech?
You invest a lot of money into your ChMS. It’s the brain of your digital communication strategy and helps you keep track of tons of different data points on your congregation. That’s why your church text messaging service needs to integrate with your ChMS. At the very least, make sure that any “text messaging for churches” solution you purchase can receive CSV uploads from your ChMS.
2. Can you capture prayer requests and stories?
Make sure to choose a texting solution that allows people to easily text in prayer requests and stories. The best text services are those that give you the ability to automate prayer request capture, assign them to your team, and send a notification once you have prayed for them.
3. Is there a way to broadcast personalized messages?
Broadcasts are the ultimate time saver and the most direct and immediate way to communicate with your people, whether it’s your entire congregation, individuals, or groups.
4. Can you answer questions automatically?
Automation is great because it means you don’t always have to be logged onto your text messaging system to make sure people get what they are looking for. Plus, even though people love two-way communication, they also appreciate delightful experiences that seem like magic. You can set up automation tracks for new visitors, prayer requests, devotional series, and more.
5. What’s the cost?
There are a variety of texting solutions available, ranging from free apps to paid services. Consider your budget and the features you need when selecting a solution.
6. How does the platform or tool mature over time?
You want a provider whose product is connected to a bigger ecosystem. That way as the ecosystem grows and becomes more active, people and organizations will actually contribute tools, tactics, templates, and frameworks that are proven to work.
7. How does it help you build more relationships?
Two-way communication is at the center of strong relationships. Texting makes it easier than ever to connect with your people in the way they prefer. Make sure the church texting software you pick allows for more than just broadcasts, permitting your people to respond to your messages as well.
PRO TIP: You never want to use your text message tool to broadcast or send a series of texts to people who haven’t opted into receiving messages from you. Even though this means you might send messages to fewer people, you’ll be communicating with people who are excited to hear from you. Not to mention you’ll avoid falling foul of SPAM regulations.
Don’t wait to text your congregation
Ministries that incorporate text say that they feel a deeper connection to their people and communities. And don’t worry! You don’t need to be an expert to start. It can be as simple as just collecting more prayer requests.
According to church leaders, the biggest thing that stands in their way of investing in a new texting platform is the cost. You want to be sure you’re being a good steward of church funds, so you really need to be sure you’re investing in something that will work for your church.
If you want to get started right away, Gloo’s texting platform is easy to use and perfect for churches looking for more engagement and connection. You can sign up today and start texting by the afternoon.
The best part? Kingdom-minded donors have ensured that your church can use all of these texting features 100% free. Get started today so you don’t miss out on all the people looking to connect with your church.