In this third post in our Known, Noticed, and Loved series, I got to hear from Revive Church. Revive Church is a non-denominational church that focuses on God's love and grace toward everyone. We are dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to every person around the world. We are a mobile church currently running our services out of a small town in Vermont with an average of 250 church members who call our church home. Our mission is to change lives, reach the next generation, and impact the culture for Jesus. Our Vision is to be a Global, Equipping, Mobilizing Church hub.
There were two circumstances where Text In Church really equipped us to do outreach well during the pandemic. One was setting up a group with a connection card for anyone who needed help with food or utilities. They could leave their information on the connection card and they would automatically get added to that group. We then had messaging ready to send to them to coordinate care and stay in touch. Then, we ended up creating a Meals On Wheels sign-up after our local Meals On Wheels organization became overwhelmed with new customers due to COVID. Meals On Wheels contacted our church asking for help with deliveries; we were able to find volunteers through the connection card sign-up!
How many volunteers have signed up to help?
I serve at a small church of approximately 250 people. As we have utilized Text In Church, we have seen an exciting trend! We have had many people in our congregation who could not help financially but have now learned of ways to instead offer up their time and physical abilities to help do God’s work. And we’ve been able to communicate those opportunities well because of Text In Church! When COVID hit, we saw 10 or so people volunteer who had never served before. We typically have always over 60% of our church serving already, so to have more people step up was amazing! Many of the new volunteers helped bring food to the needy. COVID really took a toll on the elderly in our community; for example, some of them could no longer go out and retrieve food from the food banks. Additionally, when the local Meals On Wheels organization started to get swamped, our volunteers stepped up and started taking on more of the Meals On Wheels’ routes. It was so beautiful to see so many people doing what they could for others!
What system are you using for sign-ups? Is it keeping you connected with people?
Right now, we are using both Text In Church and Planning Center to have people sign-up to volunteer or to donate to the specific COVID Relief Fund. It has been a great way to stay connected to those who want to help or take some next steps, like tithing or serving in our church in an ongoing capacity.
Is it open to your entire community or just your church family? For people outside of your church, are you following up with them?
This has been open to the entire community, promoted via our Facebook page, website, and our personal church app. We have integrated the Text In Church number and email systems in all of our Social Media which is open to the public.
Will you continue with an effort like this even as the number of positive cases of COVID begins to slow?
We will definitely be keeping this effort up because even if the numbers begin to slow, the effects of COVID might impact some down the road more than it is right now. We know many people who just recently got laid off this month (July) even though many thought the biggest blow to jobs and the economy would be back in March when a majority of businesses were closed down. And even when COVID is no longer, an issue we will still continue to grow and utilize TIC.
Were you using Text In Church before this? If so, how?
Actually, we were not. We purchased Text In Church a week before the pandemic broke out, which proved to be really helpful, especially as we heard we could not open our doors for a while via the Governor’s order. So we were able to send out a text and email quickly, before the following Sunday, to let everyone know that we had moved to online only. The timing really was divine!
How did COVID change your perspective on Text In Church, if at all?
COVID really helped me realize how powerful having that easy communication process really is. With Text In Church, in a matter of minutes, we could connect with our church members all across the state of Vermont, to our church members in New York, and across the country. It helped me see how much of an impact having that connection really was when fear and chaos struck. People were reaching out, responding to our messages, and staying engaged. They couldn’t have done that without some sort of plan on our part, because they couldn’t show up in person. I’m so very thankful for this system!
How did you decide to pair Text In Church with COVID relief efforts?
When we sent out the first text to just notify people that we were moving to online services only, we saw how quick people were to respond. So, when we sent out another text and email just asking “how are you” and if we could be of any help, we had a huge response on how we could start helping individual families. Even some who had not come to our church in a while started talking to us again and rebuilding a relationship with us to where they even started coming back to church!
Do you have any results yet you can share?
I don’t have numbers per se, but I can say we have seen many families impacted by COVID and, thanks to Text In Church, we were able to get the help they needed via all of our available resources. We have also seen many people utilizing our number to reach out to us for their needs, which was difficult for those who did not use Facebook or felt uncomfortable calling the church phone number.
Have you ever used Text In Church for an outreach/service initiative like this before?
No, we have not. The closest we came to something like Text In Church was the Mail Chimp service. Usually, we tried to do all of our outreach via Facebook which was not that successful since many of our members do not have active social media accounts.
What encouragement do you have for other churches looking to be the hands and feet of Jesus and feeling stuck?
The encouragement that I have to other church leaders is that you are not alone. Don’t believe for one second that you are. We all grow and reach people differently. No church body is the same, but we all have the same mission: to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). So, what might work for others might not work for you. But if you are looking for answers on better connecting with your church especially if it is seeing rapid growth, give Text In Church a try . It has helped us and I believe that it could help you. And since Text In Church is such an awesome company if you don’t see any results you will get your money back in the first 30 days no questions asked. So come on board and give a try, I promise you will not regret it.