How One Texas Church Uses Texts to Encourage and Inspire

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Amarillo Fellowship found an easy way to encourage and inspire their congregation—just send texts! Learn how they built their list, and how they're texting church members.

Brown circular Amarillo Fellowship logo on blue background

Small Groups, Big Plans

The story of Amarillo Fellowship begins in September 2002, when Pastor Richie Brown and his wife Pam first invited friends to gather for church services in their home in Amarillo, Texas. That fall, there were just three families in attendance. Total congregation size: 11.

But all big things start small. Not two years later, Amarillo Fellowship had grown enough to move out of the Browns’ house and into a rental property, and by the summer of 2013 they’d bought the Bell Street building they call home today.

Amarillo Fellowship currently counts about 600 members who attend Sunday services at 9:30 am and 11:15 am. The small-group mindset that defined the church early on has remained a core value, and its influence is especially obvious in the various Small Groups that let members build lasting relationships with other believers and grow in their walk with God.

Amarillo Fellowship recently came on board as a SimpleTexting customer, and they’ve been using our platform to communicate with their congregation. To learn more about how text messaging helps them encourage and inspire, we spoke with Laura Andress, Communications Pastor and Executive Assistant to Pastor Richie. Here’s the scoop.

Text Message Devotionals

Worship musicians performing on stage with blue and red lights

Amarillo Fellowship needed a new way to engage with their congregation and inspire people to get into the Word more. Incidentally, they had already considered text messaging as a possible option but concluded that it just wasn’t quite right for their purposes.

“We researched mass texting and didn’t feel it would work,” Andress told us. “We didn’t think we’d be able to get people to opt in, because they couldn’t see any real benefit—the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor, you know?”

But, as is often the case, God had a different plan in store.

“An assistant at another church told us about text messaging, and how it worked for them,” Andress said. “So we decided to try it out.”

And try it out they did.

The platform is absolutely convenient to work with, and very user-friendly. Adam was so beneficial and instrumental in getting us set up—he was always available to help us out. I love, LOVE SimpleTexting!

– Laura Andress

Calling the church to action

Amarillo Fellowship registered its own unique keyword and put together a call to action inviting people to subscribe: “To receive a text message devotion 2x a week, text AFDEVOTION to 555888.”

Here’s the CTA graphic they created:

White text on black background: "To receive a text message devotion 2x a week, text AFDEVOTION to 555888"

The church added that graphic to the slideshow presentation during Pastor Richie’s sermons. They shared it on their Facebook page, too. And after just two Sundays, 200 people had opted in—or about one-third of the congregation!

Texting to lift them up

Once that subscriber list was in place, Amarillo Fellowship started doing exactly what they aimed to do with their church texting program: encouraging people to get into the Word more. To that end, they’ve been sending their members MMS messages with Scripture passages and devotionals.

Here’s a sample MMS message with a quote from Habakkuk 3:17-18 and an accompanying devotional:

iPhone screenshot showing a lengthy MMS text with a quote from Habakkuk 3 and accompanying devotional text

The church uses SimpleTexting’s Scheduled Texts feature to write those messages in advance and automatically send them later. If you’re looking to be consistent with your encouragement, well, this is one way to do it. 🙂

“I get the messages on my own phone right when I’ve scheduled a campaign to send,” Andress told us. “There’s no delay.”

Closing Thoughts

I love that we’re not locked into a contract. As we grow, SimpleTexting gives us the avenue to grow as well.

The future is full of promise at Amarillo Fellowship. Eventually, each ministry and event will have its own separate text messaging program. The church will keep on growing, and they’ll keep after their mission of spreading the love and hope of Jesus Christ to all who cross their path. 😇

Thanks for reading Amarillo Fellowship’s success story! Hope you found it useful and, well, inspiring. We’ve got more, if you’d like to keep reading: SimpleTexting Success Stories.

Text messaging can help your church grow just like it helped Amarillo Fellowship. Get more tips and ideas in our industry guide: Group Texting for Religious Organizations

And why not sign up for SimpleTexting’s free 14-day trial to see for yourself? We don’t require a credit card or contract to get started. There aren’t any obligations. You can leave at any time, but we hope you stay. 🙂

We’re always here to help, so please contact us if you have any questions!

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