Texting and church—not exactly a match made in heaven, right? Phones are distracting. People forget to silence their ringtone, and everyone from kids to adults eventually gets caught fiddling with their phones instead of paying attention to the message.
But it’s important to realize that text messaging can actually help churches overcome common problems. Ministries and religious organizations of all kinds face the same basic challenges:
- Keeping your congregation engaged in a world of digital distractions and information overload
- Connecting with the youth, teens, and young adults of your community
- Making your message meaningful the whole week long—not just the Sabbath
How It Works
With text messaging (or SMS, for Short Message Service), it’s easy to contact your members instantly.
But before you can start texting, you need cellphone numbers and permission from your members. Sound complicated? It’s simple!
All you need is a keyword and our short code. Once you’ve reserved a keyword on SimpleTexting.com (say, “1STCHURCH” or “BETHSHALOM”), just ask your congregation to text it to 555888. To be compliant it’s also important to add the following text wherever you advertise your keyword: “Msg&Data rates may apply.”
That’s all it takes to gather their number and consent. They’ll automatically be subscribed to your text messages—it’s really that simple!
You can also manually import your contacts if you have them stored in a spreadsheet.
How Your Church Can Use Text Messages
Wondering what a church could possibly use text messages for? Below we’ve shared several ideas to help you get started.
1. Send daily Bible verses straight to your members’ mobile phones
Text quotes from Scripture that are relevant to that week’s sermon and keep congregants inspired all week long.
2. Alert members instantly about schedule changes
Sending timely texts about schedule changes means no one will be left in the dark. Need to cancel Sunday school due to dangerous weather? Text alerts let you reach the multitude in minutes.
3. Notify parishioners of upcoming events
Want to ensure your social events are well-attended? Remind members with automatic texts.
4. Reach your youth by speaking their language
Did you know that for ages 15-24, text messaging is by far the most frequently used channel for personal written communication?
5. Get feedback and suggestions from your community
Looking for a suggestion? Have an idea and need the feedback of your entire congregation? Send a text, ask for input, and reap the responses.
6. Ask for volunteers to help out at events
Getting volunteers on board is a lot easier with SMS—just send a quick text message.
7. Share prayer requests with the whole community
If you need to let everyone know about an important prayer request, that’s easy, too.
… and the list just goes on and on:
- Hold a Bible trivia contest
- Send out a teaser for an upcoming sermon
- Share a link to notes for the weekly Bible study
- Communicate with fellow pastors and church leaders
- Provide updates on missions trips
- Let people know where their donations are going
- Wish members a happy birthday
As you can probably tell by now, there’s really no limit to how your church can use text messaging!
Spreading the Word
We’ve seen what you can do with church texting, but how do you tell your members about it? Surprise, this is actually pretty simple, too! Here are a few ideas on how to get the word out.
Announce it from the pulpit
You’re already making other announcements from the pulpit—so why not add “new text messaging service” to that list? Just let your congregation know at the beginning or end of a sermon that they can opt in to receive daily Bible quotes, prayer requests, sermon notes, or whatever it is you’ve decided to use SMS for.
Include signs and notices in your place of worship
Bulletin boards, brochures, newsletters, donation boxes, sermon notes—all of these and more make great places to inform people about your texting service. All you need is something simple, like “Text 1STCHURCH to 555888 for weekly event reminders.”
Feature it online
Don’t forget to announce your texting service to the internet. This means updating your website, social media accounts, emails, and wherever else you have an online presence.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll be texting in no time!
Free to Start
If you’re ready to give text marketing for churches a try, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial account with us.
You’ll get 50 messages plus your own custom keyword.
And yes, it’s really free. No credit card, no contract, just free.
When you’re ready to upgrade to a paid account, just change your billing plan from the dashboard. Simple!