Today on the show we take a look at how to use technology for a devotional series with Josh Gribble, who serves in a church in Conyers, Georgia. In our conversation, Josh describes how he uses Text In Church to help him connect with his church members and support them along their spiritual journeys. He also reflects on what he’s learned from his latest seasonal devotion. Tuning in you’ll hear our breakdown of how you can incorporate his strategy into your church communications. You’ll gain insight into how best to use email and text in your communications and the value of a longer devotional series. Join us today to hear it all!
Key Points From This Episode:
Most churches really struggle to communicate consistently with their people and that can leave them feeling disconnected. Text In Church is an easy-to-use 2-way texting system created for churches to connect with their members and guests beyond Sunday mornings to make them feel known, noticed, and loved.
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The Tech In Church Podcast is a Text In Church team production. For more information about this podcast, go to https://podcast.textinchurch.com. For more information on Text in Church, visit https://textinchurch.com.
[0:00:00.5] NH: Welcome to the Tech In Church Podcast, brought to you by Text in Church. I’m Nina Hampton and I’m here with my co-host, Jeanette Yates. If you are ready to make a huge, long-term impact in your ministry using technology the right way, then you are in the right place. In each episode, you’ll hear from church administrative leaders who will share their real life examples of how to use the right technology so that they can spend more time building relationships and doing the things that got them into ministry in the first place.
Today, we’re talking about using technology for devotional series with Josh Gribble. He uses Text in Church to help him connect with his church members and help them along their spiritual journeys. After hearing from Josh, we’ll break down how you can incorporate his strategy into your church communications. Let’s get started.
[0:00:48.6] NH: Okay, Jeanette, tell us a little bit about what you and Josh talked about recently?
[0:00:52.9] JY: Yeah. So, Josh Gribble serves in a church in Conyers Georgia, in my neck of the woods and they started using Text in Church through a Lenten devotional series that our friends over at church marketing university created called The 21 days of Hope.
And so, I recently asked him to come and talk to me about that in our Facebook group and share a little bit about his experience with using that 21 days of hope and how that led to him and his church team create another devotional series during the Christmas season. Let’s take a listen at what he talked about.
[0:01:33.8] JG: So, this one we wanted to get something physical in people’s hands. We have done an advent booklet for a while now, that’s just been something that’s – and it is more popular with our senior adults.
[0:01:42.3] JY: Right.
[0:01:43.5] JG: Additional content, reading plans, you know, maybe information about events at our church, right? Because it’s just something to go in their hand to prepare them for advent. So we integrated all of these together, so that there is an advent book, there were online plan they could do kind of through their phone or computer or whatever and then also written things for people who don’t use that and then weekly reminders and just encouragements.
Some of that was, you know, conversations related to it, some of it was just letting people know, “Hey, this is what we’re doing this week” or “The video is about this” and it really highlights that or just some way of kind of doing it together instead of doing it on our own and so that is what we did for advent and it was pretty well-received. I think people liked doing something familiar but in a slightly new way.
[0:02:28.5] JY: Yeah, man, that’s really cool. You know, he spoke at the end about using something familiar but doing it in a way that’s completely new. Let’s break down how doing something like a devotional series, which in most churches already do in some form, can utilize technology to bring the experience to their church in a whole new way.
[0:02:46.9] NH: One of the things that I really liked that he talked about was using technology like emails, like, don’t sleep on the email. Yes? Here in Text in Church, we do love texting but emailing devotionals is something that many people in the age groups are familiar with. I mean, I remember when I was a young mom, I probably signed up for like a million mommy devotionals, I needed all the devo’s I could possibly get when my kids were babies.
[0:03:13.8] JY: Yeah, for sure, but then, if you use text messages added into the mix, that provides like a more one-on-one way of communicating in addition to those emails. The text messages don’t need to go out every day but they can be used as a way to check in or encourage or even to start a conversation with the devotional participants and you know, to create deeper relationship with them.
[0:03:36.7] NH: That’s right, you know, that texting component does add a little bit more one-on-one, check in conversation that’s not the same as that like, I’m just opening my inbox and there’s 15 mommy devotionals. The one that’s going to stick out to me is the one that also comes with text periodically, right?
That’s another thing that we talked about actually is that deeper connection and our conversation, Josh mentioned the value of doing a Lenten devotional or another seasonal devotional when the time was longer. He had some great insight here so let’s listen.
[0:04:07.5] JG: The advantage of the long time period is you’re looking at more like kind of weekly content. You know, you don’t want to send daily messages for all of lent and –
[0:04:17.2] JY: That’s a lot.
[0:04:17.8] JG: You don’t have to have every single message prepared ahead of time and you have a really good theme with lent. If you're doing an Ash Wednesday service like whatever your service is on is going to have some element of call to action. Some element that you’re putting in your congregation’s minds.
An idea of how they can use this season and so simply saying like, “Join us as we do this together” and then following up with them on whatever that this is, I mean, you can start planning and be good to go, no problem. I think this is a great championing point if you’re doing like Lenten stuff.
[0:04:52.9] NH: Yeah man, that’s so true. Doing a devotional for lent doesn’t mean that you have to send messages out every day but just consistently schedule the messages during that time. That way, you can also do this type of thing in the summer to create and keep your congregation connected during vacation times and all the things that summer has going on.
[0:05:11.4] JY: That’s right. I don’t know about your church Nina, but in the summer time, at my church, it’s like a ghost town. Except for the VBS week, it’s like crickets. There’s mission church.
[0:05:22.7] NH: See, we're the opposite. Well, I guess it’s a ghost town because we’re busy, right? So much stuff, we have camp with the kids and there’s like kids camp, youth camp, all kinds of trips everywhere, we’re just out of the building. So the church itself is a ghost town but we’re running around.
[0:05:37.0] JY: Yeah, that’s right. Everybody’s going in all different directions and summer time is another – you know, we’re talking about seasonal devotions but that summer time is a good season to go do that but one last thing that I really appreciated Josh saying was that you don’t have to do the devotional before the big Sunday like Easter or Christmas, right?
Let’s hear what he said about taking another take at those times of the year.
[0:06:02.6] JG: Either side of it, right? Like leading up to Easter, getting people engaged and inviting people or in the theme of you know, the theme of Easter spiritually in their lives is great but what’s the next thing after that? What’s the next steps, how are they going to be involved, how are you go to kind of engage them in the weeks following Easter.
I think our devotional content and Text in Church is going probably going to be a post-Easter stuff. That’s what I’m working on and brainstorming through right now.
[0:06:28.4] NH: Really, you can set up a series to lead up to or follow after any gathering at your church. You know there are so many different times that lend themselves to asking people to take their next steps like Christmas and Easter but also at the end of sermon series or a mission’s drive or a huge community outreach, there is all kinds of different ways that you can utilize that.
[0:06:47.0] JY: Yeah, it is really just picking a time and getting it started and when you don’t have it going leading into that big Sunday or big season, you can always do it afterwards and each church, one of the things that’s really important about this strategy is it’s not a one-size-fits-all, right?
[0:07:06.3] NH: Yeah, for sure.
[0:07:07.2] JY: Each church, each community is different, has its unique needs, using devotional series is a great way to reach your community where they are and walk alongside them. If you want to hear more about how church leaders are doing this, you can here Josh’s whole entire interview and other interviews and our Text in Church community Facebook group, they are always sharing how they’re using technology to connect with their members and that they love helping other people as well, so I highly – I mean, I am kind of bias about it.
I mean honestly, it’s my jam but I would love to invite you to come to our Text in Church community Facebook group and have conversations with other ministry leaders just like you and we’re going to put a link in the shownotes so you could do that.
[0:07:49.7] NH: Absolutely. So that is it for this week’s episode of the Tech In Church Podcast. Be sure to follow us on your favorite podcasting app to know when episodes are available.
[0:07:59.3] JY: I am Jeanette.
[0:08:00.5] NH: And I’m Nina and we’ll talk more tech next time.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:08:03.7] JY: The Tech in Church Podcast is a production of the Text in Church team. To get the shownotes for this week’s episode and to download the resources mentioned, go to podcast.textinchurch.com. For more information on Text in Church, visit textinchurch.com.