This post was last updated on April 19th, 2022 at 09:22 am.
Is Text Messaging Necessary?
Many churches believe that text messaging isn’t needed in their church software. However, many things have changed over the years. Technology has become more accessible, allowing people to be more mobile. In other words, they don’t have to be physically present to be an active part of the church anymore. This mobility also presents a challenge in remaining part of the informational grapevine. They may be located too far away to be present for the usual conversations, or they could simply be too busy to figure out what is going on in the community. This is where church text messaging comes in.
In the past, churches would either call each family to let them know what is going on or spread the word via the grapevine or during Sunday service. When emails came into play, the churches used email for faster and easier communication. Email also provided something that the verbal grapevine didn’t — the ability to save the announcement as a reference for important dates and times. Also, emailing took less time as a person didn’t have to call each family. However, emails still had one major flaw in that when plans changed quickly, it couldn’t respond fast enough in most cases. For example, inclement weather may cancel church services but by the time it’s canceled, a family that drives an hour, wouldn’t get the email. However, they would get a text message while driving and they could turn around and return home, safely.
Why Is Text Messaging Important To Churches?
Churches are the community’s connection place, so to speak. When good or bad things happen, churches are one of the organizations that help to get the word out. One example is a snowstorm happening that requires Sunday service to be canceled. Up north light snow can turn into a no-travel-advised blizzard within minutes. Down south there are hurricanes and tornadoes. Churches play an integral part in keeping the community together during catastrophes. When catastrophes such as hurricanes happen, churches attempt to communicate with their church families. One way to do this is through text messaging and have families respond with something like ‘Yes’ via their text messaging app.
Why is fast communication to church members important?
By caring for people in the community in their time of need, churches deepen their connection with them. People that are helped often seek out and try to assist others that need help. Of course, the churches aren’t looking for anything in return as they are on a more important mission, but humans are wired this way — to give back. By helping people in need, churches help to open the door for a deeper spiritual conversation at a later time.
What’s The Church’s Cost For Texting?
The cost is minimal to churches when you weigh the benefits to its members. The benefits of instantaneous messaging to church members can’t be understated. In fact, text messaging in most scenarios is cheaper than any other form of communication. Let’s say you want to use 2,000 text messages per month, which on IconCMO would be a flat $40.00/monthly. This text messaging level should suffice for a church size of 250 – 500 households.
Let’s check out how much it would cost to send information to 350 families, four times per month.
- Manually calling 350 households four times a month, at 1 minute per call — $345.00 (23 hours @ $15.00/hour).
- Automatically calling using something like WizardPhone which provides a 30 second recording to 350 families, four times per month — $70.00 ($5.00 per 100 calls).
As you can see manually calling ($345.00) church members or using a phone tree software like WizardPhone ($70.00) cost more than text messaging software like IconCMO at $40.00. Text messaging is instant and gives people information quickly, at a very low cost.
Is Text Messaging More Engaging?
Yes! Text messaging is the highest engaged communication method at over 90%. According to Review Refer, text messaging has an open rate of 98%. To give you context, the email open rate is about 20%. Additionally, how fast are emails or text messages read after it’s received? Email open response time is 90 minutes. On the other hand, 95% of text messages are read in 90 seconds, with most read in 5 seconds according to Review Refer. Text messaging wins this contest too.
The above statistics show that text messaging is more engaging than email by a long shot. Emails, while faster than all previous communication methods, can’t compete with a text message’s speed and deliverability (open rate). How much faster? Text messaging is about 60 times (5,400 seconds emails are read / 90 seconds texts are read = 60) faster than email in regards to people reading them.
Note: For the calculation above you have to convert the 90 minutes for emails into seconds by multiplying 90 minutes by 60 which is 5,400 seconds. Since the text message measurement is already in seconds there’s no need to convert that number.
Wrapping-up Text Messaging In Churches
As we have learned, text messaging is more engaging than email or previous communication methods such as calling their church members. In today’s society, faster communication is necessary for the church, not only to keep your church members in the ‘know’, but to keep them safe. A simple text message to warn of a blizzard, tornado, and so on can save a family from these events. Or maybe the church is short-staffed one hour before an event they can send out a plea for help. Text messaging is used for events other than catastrophes like sending information about church events, changes to child care on a Sunday, and so on. A church should measure the benefits like these to determine what’s best.
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