Why C3 San Diego’s church welcomes first-timers with texts

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C3 San Diego was looking for a way to keep their congregation engaged and connect with first-time visitors, and they found one—text messaging for churches.

C3 San Diego: “A church that is fresh, real, powerful, and has at its heart the great commission to win souls and make disciples of all nations.”

It all began one day way back in the ’80s when a man landed in Sydney, Australia, for what was supposed to be nothing more than a stopover on the way to India.

The man’s name was Phil Pringle.

He didn’t make it to India that day.

The C3 story

You see, God had other plans for Pringle.

“Stay in Sydney,” he said. “The city is yours.”

And so, with a renewed calling in mind and his wife Chris by his side, Pringle founded Christian City Church right there in Sydney.

As it goes with most young churches, there were challenges to face early on.

But C3 not only persevered, it also grew, opening new locations around Sydney and throughout Australia—and it wasn’t long before the church went international. 🌎

Planting in San Diego

Pastor Jurgen preaches before a silhouetted crowd while holding a mic in his right hand and a Bible in his left


One of those international locations is C3 San Diego, planted by Pastors Jurgen and Leanne Matthesius.

They held their first service in August 2005. Seven people showed up.

You can hear the excited uncertainty in Pastor Jurgen’s voice as he speaks in the History of C3 San Diego video: “I don’t know how it’s going to work!”

Well, guess what—it worked. 🙂

Today, C3 San Diego has thousands of people attending North, Central, South, and online campuses.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Alex Klott—the C3 Society UCSD Connect Group leader and SimpleTexting’s C3 San Diego contact—to learn more about how the church is using mass text messaging to make some waves.

The trouble with not texting

Not so long ago C3 San Diego relied on phone calls and emails to communicate with their flock, but these just weren’t very effective tools for communication.

Church leaders were finding it difficult to engage with the people in the seats. And they knew they were missing opportunities to connect with first-timers.

So, they found a simple solution …

Texting in church

Sounds pretty wrong, right? 😄

Well, as C3 San Diego discovered, text messaging for churches is actually a great way for organizations to connect and engage with people.

Here’s how they’re using SimpleTexting today:

1) Text to connect: Welcome the first-timers

When first-timers come to check out the church, they can enter their contact information on visitor cards.

It’s an easy way for new people to make their presence known—especially if they’re a bit shy or overwhelmed by the unfamiliar setting.

It’s also an easy way for C3 to follow up and help visitors feel welcome.

“With SimpleTexting, it’s been much easier to reach out and connect with people,” Klott told us.

2) Text to engage: Keep the congregation involved

C3 San Diego also uses keywords to invite their congregation to events—and to send text reminders about those events.

Here’s how that might look out in the iPhone universe:

iPhone screenshot with 3 text messages about C3 San Diego events

Since most people have cell phones—and since most people with cell phones are glued to them—it’s not surprising that text messaging would be a great way for churches to engage their congregations.

Summing it up

Holding a Bible and mic, Pastor Leanne preaches from behind a glass pulpit

It’s been several months since C3 San Diego started using SimpleTexting as a church texting service, and they’re still loving it.

These days, there are about 4,000 people attending nine services across three C3 San Diego campuses every week. The goal? Worldwide, C3 is shooting for 1,000 locations by 2020.

Could text messaging be a tool to help them get there? Klott seems to think so:

“Text messaging works great for our church, and we definitely plan to recommend it to other C3 locations.”

Hey, you made it to the end of our story about C3 San Diego. Thanks for reading!

Do you have your own story to tell? We’d like to hear about it, so feel free to contact us and share.

Want to read about another church that used text messaging in a cool way? Check out this story about Eagle Brook in Minnesota: How a Church Drove Engagement with Text Messaging.

Looking for some general tips and tricks for texting in church? Head over to this guide: Group Texting for Religious Organization.

Oh, and since you’re still here …

… why not sign up for a free trial?

It’s all yours for 14 days. No need to sign a contract or give us any of those numbers on your credit card—although we won’t complain if you do. 😉

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