5 Ways Texting Creates Connection During Crisis

As I write this post, our world is in the middle of a pandemic. My home state has been in lockdown for over a month, and though there is talk of reopening, no plans have been made for life to resume “like normal”. It has been a trying and unsettling time, and churches have been on the frontlines of having to make difficult decisions and navigate a new way of functioning for an unknown amount of time.

However, one thing has become abundantly clear. People are desperate for the church. And the church, while no longer meeting in its building, has been as steady as ever. We’ve been blown away by the creativity and commitment displayed by churches across the country as they’ve continued to show up in very real ways for their communities. Figuring out how to continue to do ministry and care for people while being required to be physically distant and, for most, having their in-person gatherings canceled is no easy task.

But the beacon of hope carried by churches refused to be dimmed. Church leaders have continued to project faith over fear, and the world feels it.

One thing that has been the topic of a lot of conversations among church leaders we work with is connection. How can we create genuine connections for people in the midst of quarantine? How can we communicate well in the midst of information overload from every source?

Well, as proud texting enthusiasts, we’re excited to see how churches are using texting in new and impactful ways.

Here are 5 ways you can use texting to create connections during a crisis ...

1. Text More

Typically, we would say that texting your members and guests every day is a bit over the top. However, people are lonely. They’re scared. Maybe they’re bored or angry about what’s happening. And some people feel emotionally isolated on top of the physical isolation. Maybe they don’t have close friends or family who are checking in on them. A text from you or someone on your team might be the only time their phone dings outside of news alerts - which we can all agree are anxiety-inducing! This is an opportunity to over-communicate and send messages “just because”.

Some churches are sending a verse or prayer out every morning, some are scheduling different kinds of texts (i.e. Motivational Monday, Tip Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday- some joke or funny gif), and some are just doing more check-in’s. There’s no playbook for this, but we do know that people want interaction with other people more than ever; they need it. So don’t hesitate to text more.

2. Text Different

In terms of the guest follow-up plan that we share at Text In Church, texts are usually used as reminders. They’re a quick and personal way to send your service times, ask if someone is going to make it to service (online or in-person), or to send a link to a recording.

However, like I mentioned above, now is a great time to start changing up the kinds of text messages that you’re sending. Maybe it’s an old blog post that you think would resonate with people. Or maybe you saw a great video on Facebook that you want to share. It could be as simple as...

Happy Monday {First Name}. Praying for you this week!

But if you are texting more (as I hope you are), you are going to need to add a little variety. People definitely don’t need you texting them reminders about services every single day ;) Don’t be afraid to text different.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for follow-up strategies during this season of being exclusively online, check out our FREE Livestream Follow-Up Plan !

3. Text Questions

When we send text messages as a company, our main goal is to communicate information. We know that texts are read at a significantly higher rate than email or website content, so if there is important information we really want to make sure people get, we text them! However, right now, the goal of texting can shift. Not only do people read text messages quicker and more often than any other communication channel, they are also more likely to respond to a text than any other type of message. So, now is a great time to use texting to create engagement. And do you know the best way to get engagement? Ask questions! Here are some examples…

Send an hour after your service...

Hey {First Name}, I hope you were able to watch the sermon this morning! If so, what was your favorite takeaway? - Pastor Steve

Send Wednesday afternoon...

Hi {First Name}, it’s Susie with City Church! How’s your week going? Anything I can be praying for you about?

Send Saturday morning to your children’s ministry families...

Happy Saturday! What are you and your family up to today? I saw this article of fun activities to do with kids if you need any ideas! {include link here}

Text questions to keep people engaged in your community!

4. Text Value

Another break away from our norm is sending text messages that are long and full of information. However, when you don’t have hand out’s and in-person gatherings to reinforce your message, a text message can be a great place to share resources, devotionals, or even sermon discussion questions. This doesn’t mean take away the personalization you use in your text messages. That’s still one of the most important parts. But don’t be afraid to use texts to share an uplifting message or to send a list of blog posts that have been helpful. Text value; people will appreciate the thoughtfulness!

5. Text Updates

This last tip is tried and true no matter what season you are in. Texting is a great way to share updates. Especially as you are keeping your congregation informed on when you will reopen for in-person gatherings, what new guidelines will be in your area or at your church specifically, if the church is having any community relief initiatives, etc. texting will be the best way to ensure that that information is actually read. Text updates to keep your people informed!

Conclusion

As you continue to navigate uncharted territory and then do so again as plans to reopen start to roll out in your area, know that we are with you! And with these 5 strategies...

1. Text more

2. Text different

3. Text questions

4. Text value

5. Text updates

You can create more connections within your congregation, and community, than ever before!

If you want even more texting strategies, download our FREE Texting Guide!