When it comes to connecting with people about Jesus, the Church has embraced a “megaphone” mentality. This broadcast approach has made sense—from the printing press, radio, and TV—it has been an efficient and effective way to communicate to the largest possible audience. But as technology advances, the Church is presented with a unique opportunity to get back to its one-on-one discipleship roots.
From the earliest days in the Book of Acts, the church was built in homes and in small places. In the New Testament, we the way God did his work through people, revealing his thoughts and words to them. We find some of the most memorable and intimate moments in the Bible when Jesus shares his one-on-one conversations and teachings with others. So how can technology possibly bring us closer to interactions like those?
The Megaphone vs. The Conversation
It’s estimated that there are over 14.4 billion owned tech devices in the world. That’s almost double the population. We see it all around us, riding on a train or bus, sitting at a restaurant–people are on their devices most of their waking time. What’s more, is that according to the Federal Communications Commission, texting is one of the most prevalent forms of communication today. Think about it: the most personal way to show up in someone’s life is through their phone. That’s why Gloo is offering free texting to ministry leaders through The Gloo Communications Platform.
Free texting represents a more tailored approach to communication, where church leaders can communicate with members directly, either as a group or individually, and members, in turn, can connect with church leaders. Texting has many advantages as a communications medium; it’s been around for a long time, it’s a personal communications tool that’s easy to use, and because it’s used by all generations, the acceptance rate is universal. Coming out of the COVID19 Pandemic, we saw that the churches that invested in relationships, connection, and community became the churches that weathered the pandemic the best.
Here at Gloo, we understand that for churches, personal relationships catalyze growth and that all ministry involves communications. So, we asked ourselves, “Why isn’t there a free way for the faith ecosystem to communicate at scale?” We think that texting for the church should be free because it removes the barriers to communication among us and allows leaders to engage people in more effective ways.
Practical Ways to Put Texting to Use
What are some possible uses of free texting for your church? As a pastor, you can sit at your laptop and send a text to people’s phones. But it can be more than the Thursday announcement email or a clarification of the scheduling of the men’s and women’s breakfast. Texting can enable powerful one-on-one conversations, where church leadership can tell spiritual seekers, “Hey, if you need an expert on marriage, or if you’re facing a mental health-related situation and you feel like you’re out of your depth, we want to bring support to you.”
Your church can use texting to manage workflows that can be automated and personalized at scale. For example, how do you want to develop more personalized care for that new set of parents? You can send a text follow-up to them four days later with a small gift or a gift card for babysitting, using Gloo’s automated workflows.
It’s a great way to involve volunteers, too. For congregants that have time, interest and desire to disciple others, texting can be a great first entry point for them to connect with and communicate with existing and new members.
The Power of Digital Prayer
Prayer is an essential practice in the culture of any church and when we see tools like texting used for digital prayer, the culture of prayer in that church grows–from those asking for prayer to those who step forward to give it. The platform helps leaders invite more prayer, create auto responses, assign prayers to team members, and help train leaders on how to empathetically respond.
These are just some of the ways technology can bring people closer together, and it can be as simple as using text messaging. Dave Adamson once declared that we need to determine how to turn the phone from a source of distraction into a tool of discipleship. Free texting provides the perfect opportunity to get started, and get back to our roots.