By Sam Sadlier
Today’s day and age has brought forth new ways of communication. Social networking, email, instant messaging and texting are replacing the mail, letters and even phone calls. Wireless phones are replacing landlines and becoming communication devices but not just for the originally planned purposes.
They are now being used to view websites, update social network accounts, read emails and send text messages. These types of uses are being done more often than they are being used to make an actual phone call. Keeping with the times, churches and other religious organizations have jumped right into the social networking scene, and nearly all of them are using email in some form. Text messaging has been, and still is growing into an ever more popular means of communication.
In fact, through June of 2011, stats of wireless usage show that the average wireless user is sending more text messages than they are using minutes on the same device. This tendency is trending up since 2005, with message usage increasing 9.5 percent per year, and minute usage decreasing by the same 9.5 percent per year.
Churches today are taking advantage of and benefiting from text messaging by using platforms to send out reminders of events or outings to help increase participation. Youth group activities and volunteer openings are spread quickly and timely throughout the congregation. Putting the specific phone numbers into groups allows them to send a more personalized message so that only those who are intended to receive the message will get it
The Catalyst Church is using a text messaging platform for communicating several different things throughout their congregation. Along with the Catalyst Church, there are other religious organizations, such as, The First Baptist Church, Pentecostal Church, Catholic Church and many other denominations are using text messaging platforms for things like:
- Special holiday event
- Guest speakers
- Youth activities
- Bible study
- Prayer requests
- Volunteer requests
- Staff openings
- Donation requests
- Position filled announcement
- Daily inspirational quotes
- Question & Answer sessions
- Keeping in touch with staff
These types of messages help these churches and others increase their attendances at events, activities and worship services; increase participation in study groups, prayer requests and tithes and offerings; keep the congregation and staff informed in more real time
A couple of the key factors that distinguishes text messaging from other means of communication are the read rate and delivery/read time. In comparing a text message to email, instant messages, announcements and even phone calls, the text message reaches a much greater number and in a more timely manner.
Nearly everyone today carries their phone with them everywhere they go and that is why over 95 percent of text messages are read and over 85 percent of those are read within fifteen minutes of receiving them. This gives the churches sending the messages the ability to get it in the hands of the appropriate people within minutes. Sending the text message only takes about five minutes, depending on your platform, and then reaches the wireless phones within a couple minutes.
The effectiveness, coupled with the fact that platforms and packages have become more cost efficient in recent years, has greatly increased the popularity of text messaging among churches. Text messaging has made a huge splash over the past decade and is still pouring its prowess into communities across the globe. Churches and religious organizations using or looking into using text messaging as a means for communicating are on the cutting edge of staying in contact with their community.
Sam Sadlier is a staff member of TXT180 INC., Saint George, UT. [www.TXT180.com]