Group text messaging is a great tool for churches of all sizes. If you have ever tried to do this from a cell phone, you know that it is not easily done. Instead there are services that offer group texting or bulk SMS. (SMS stands for Short Message Service and is a technical word that generally means text message.)
Generally speaking, churches tend to be behind the curve when it comes to technology. I am not sure why this is, but one way to help push the Church forward is by embracing the fact that text messaging is a popular and reliable avenue of communication. With this in mind, let me suggest a few areas where it may be beneficial from the perspective of typical church staff positions.
- Lead Pastor - Group text messaging is a great way for the lead pastor to keep his team or staff in the loop. He or she can send out updates on meetings or church functions. The pastor could also send occasional reminders, inspirational messages or a verse of the day to the congregation, perhaps even tying the theme of these messages to a current preaching series.
- Youth Pastor - This one is probably obvious. Youth are always on their cell phones - often even during youth group! Could there be a better way to get a message to the whole group? The youth pastor could send reminders of special events, updates on meetings and even mid-youth-group-meeting reminders to "Turn Off Your Cell!"
- Worship Pastor - The worship leader or pastor could, like the lead pastor, use text messaging to keep his or her volunteers in-the-loop when it comes to practice and any last-minute service changes. Text messaging would also be a great way for the worship pastor to keep the congregation in a worshipful spirit the rest of the week through inspirational quotes or messages.
- Children's Pastor - The children's pastor would benefit from group texting when it comes to communicating with parents. If a young child is in need of their parent, an instant and discrete message could be sent to their mother or father. Group text messaging could also help the pastor send event updates and volunteer reminders throughout the week.
- Community Pastor - The pastors who are in charge of bringing the community together may also reap big benefits from text messaging. They could send small group meeting reminders, leadership meeting updates, prayer requests, topical or scriptural reminders and even motivational messages.
Group text messaging could be a wonderful and natural avenue of communication for the church. There are many benefits and churches across the United States have already begun to reap the rewards.
A word of caution: There are some services with extremely low rates, offering unlimited texting or even advertising free services. Many of these texting services do not use SMS gateways and rely on email-to-text conversions which are unreliable and generally restricted by cell phone carriers to very small groups.