How texting can be used to get people to engage daily with Scripture.
What if you could reach thousands of your congregation in their everyday work life to encourage them to read Scripture daily that may be wrapped around next Sunday’s sermon topic, the focus of your marriage conference in two weeks, or the focal point of a new set of small groups that you plan to begin at your church in a month? How would you try to coordinate that process, engaging every single phone number on a list that is simply too long to manage, with a passage to be sent out every single day?
David Ray, administrative liaison to the general overseer of the Church of God International, has come up with some interesting uses for text messages that look to get people more into the Word. For the past 45 days, he has been using TextMarks, an SMS marketing company, to promote the Church of God’s READ Initiative — a program that asks people to “be one of the thousands around the world that commit to reading the Scriptures every day.” They use TextMarks to text out the daily reading “assignment,” and so far, they’ve sent over 10,000 messages.
I rely on TextMarks to help me spread God’s word to thousands of followers every day.” — David Ray
A little over a month ago, David signed up for a trial and Tweeted out his keyword “READ.” Within hours, he had a few hundred sign ups. Within days, it was over 1,000. And his list just keeps growing. He’s already sent over 25,000 this month. All of the subscribers to the READ SMS program are in the U.S., but they are distributed across almost every state. David keeps his messages very short and includes the day’s Bible verse along with a link to background materials. Is this way, his usage is just like many of the high school and college teachers who use our platform. It’s incredibly efficient and very effective. And it takes him no more than two to three minutes per day.
Reach Your Congregation
If you are looking for a way to send out daily Bible “reading assignments” to hundreds, even thousands, of people, text messaging is the most effective way to cut through the noise of life. Other forms of communication like daily email, phone calls and social media simply do not have the direct visibility that SMS does, both with older and younger generations. If you want to connect with a group of people, you must start with texting. Here are just some of the possibilities for your church:
- Set up separate groups for the whole congregation, just church leadership, youth group, etc.
– Send daily or weekly prayers.
– Notify people of what’s happening in your church.
– Instantly communicate last minute changes and emergency notifications.
What could your church do with something as powerful as this?