Welcome back to another episode of the Tech In Church Podcast, where we give you advice on how to use technology the right way in order to have a huge, long-term impact on your ministry. Today, our hosts Jeanette and Nina discuss how Becky Friberg uses Text In Church to stay connected with her congregation. As we listen to Becky’s interview with Text In Church CEO Tyler Smith, we learn how using two forms of communication leads to better engagement, and what an automated workflow is. You’ll come to understand how easy it is to use the Text In Church workflow system, the simplistic beauty of the QR code, and how two-way communication can help build meaningful connections. We look forward to you tuning in!
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.
Text the word, CONNECT, to 816-429-9396 to start your free 60-day trial of Text In Church today to see just how easy it is.
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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.
“JY: You have to know your audience and there are a ton of great ways to do it. At my church, we actually, you know, we started using text in church with a guest follow-up system, but when we launched it to our congregation we didn’t even highlight the texting part that much, we actually highlighted it as a devotional email and then we included some text reminders with that. Becky’s church actually did this too. What was great about her strategy was that it worked for members and guests.”
[0:00:31.0] 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 cohost, 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. And, each episode, you’ll hear from church administrate 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.
[0:00:59.0] JY: Today, we’re hearing from Becky Friberg, a communications leader in her small San Diego church. Becky uses Text in Church to help her church members stay connected and engaged in church worship and events, through some unique and fun strategies.
In today’s episode, we’ll be hearing clips from her recent interview with Text in Church cofounder and CEO, Tyler Smith, and unpack the strategies she’s using to build deeper connections within her church and community.
[0:01:23.1] NH: Okay, so, Becky’s interview with Tyler has so much helpful information in it that I really had a tough time deciding which great idea to start with. I would love to start with how she introduced Text in Church to her church and taught them even how it works. So, this is a question that we get a lot with the member experience team and I really love what she did.
[0:01:41.2] JY: Yeah, me too. She is so creative. Of course, I always love it when our members think outside the box and create something new on their own, even though we do have a ton of resources including a section in our health center called, “How to introduce Text in Church to your Congregation.” That said, her strategy was really creative and maybe better than ours, I don’t know, it might be, it’s just another way. If you’re up for it, we’re going to listen to it right here.
[0:02:07.4] BF: I was, as usual, assigned to do the ice breaker activity for an event that we’re having, and I was just thinking through, “How can I use Text In Church, there’s got to be a way.” And I came up with a really simple way but it was also a great way for us to teach our people about Text in Church. So, Sophia just jumped in with the 21 days of hope, we didn’t do any kind of official rollout with Text in Church, which I would recommend.
So, they were confused on who was texting them and was it really the pastor texting them or was it Becky, who was it, who was texting? And so, I was able to use this ice breaker to explain to them how the whole system works, at the same time, we played a fun game where they had to get into groups and get to know each other through different questions and things like that.
So, it was a great fun way to introduce the whole platform.
[0:02:54.6] NH: So, what’s great about this is that she really knew what her members would like. Some churches benefit from something like this, that is like gamifying texting. Other congregations might prefer a simpler on-ramp to Text in Church. You know, I have heard people that randomly do it, not randomly do it, but in the textbook way of, “Hey, take out your phones, this is the time of the service we want to get to know you.”
But then, there are other members who are like, “Hey, you know, the first 10 people that take out their phone and do this get a free latte at the coffee shop” or you get a free T shirt or something like that. So, there’s definitely a ton of different ways that you can do it.
[0:03:33.3] JY: True, true. Yes, you have to know your audience, and there are a ton of great ways to do it. At my church, we actually started using Text in Church with a guest follow-up system, but when we launched it to our congregation, we didn’t even highlight the texting part that much. We actually highlighted it as a devotional email and then we included some text reminders with that.
Becky’s church actually did this too. What was great about her strategy was that it worked for members and guests. So let’s take a listen to this clip.
[0:04:01.4] BF: Sure, it was 14 days of really short emails, about 250 words, just really focus on things that moms deal with, as far as loneliness, anxiety, just feeling disconnected during those times of raising young children, even we try to speak into even empty nester years like myself.
What is that? What are the challenges that we face, and how can we speak truth and comfort into their lives through these short DVOs? We got great response with those too. Again, the text were in there as well, to inspire that conversation and to engage in the two-way conversation.
[0:04:39.2] TS: Yeah, and so, to be clear with this, this is not an exclusively a text message approach. So, you’re sending out emails which are these devotionals and then you’re supplementing that with an occasional text message to encourage them to interact with those, is that correct?
[0:04:54.4] BF: Yeah, we would say—we’d send the email out every morning at eight, and then every three days or so we throw one in. Maybe it says how can I pray for you or, “Hey, did you see today’s DVO? Go check it out.” Just a reminder, “Hey, it’s in your email inbox waiting for you.” So, those type of things.
[0:05:09.8] NH: So, one of the things that I noticed while Becky was talking with Tyler in this interview was that she kept mentioning the engagement, the two-way conversation that happened as a result of the use of both text messages and emails. What’s really awesome about that is that it’s proving this strategy of church communication is working in a really measurable way. So let’s listen to these clips really quick.
[0:05:30.0] BF: We have different series of DVOs that we send, really short, to people’s emails, but we’ve included the text feature and I just love the two-way conversation opportunity. Instead of just sending out content, it starts a conversation and people really responded to that and really have opened up through text. These are people we actually don’t see on a Sunday morning, that’s people all over the country and even in other places.
Of course, they can’t text back, but we still have conversations with them through email, and it’s great.
[0:05:55.4] TS: At what point did you realize, like “Oh, wow, we’re on to something here”
[0:06:00.2] BF: Right from the start of the campaign, once the automated workflows are so great. So you just have those set motion, and then the text, as soon as that first text went out, that first week and we saw the engagement come back, you spend a lot of time writing content with anybody who writes content, you know how much time that takes. Since, when you send it out there and you’re like, “Is anyone even listening? Is this even making an impact with anybody?” and then they start responding like via text and through the emails.
But the text was the highest engagement by far, of getting responses of simply, “How can I pray for you or here’s some encouraging verse”, things like that. It was pretty much right off the start, we saw the engagement level go.
[0:06:38.7] TS: Yeah.
[0:06:40.3] JY: Wow, that really gets you fired up, doesn’t it? Let’s break down how exactly these automated workflows help her setup for success with these devotionals. First thing’s first, Nina, our wizard in the Text in Church space, what is an automated workflow? Break it down.
[0:06:57.4] NH: Okay, so let’s walk through this because it’s so critical for allowing you to start to continue conversation, start or continue conversations with your people. So, if the term “automated workflow” is foreign to you, it’s essentially what it sounds like. At Text in Church, our automated workflows are a series of emails and text messages that are automatically sent to a specific group of people based on a specific sending schedule.
So, once the workflow begins, the person joining that group will receive the right message at the right time, every time. You can even include the reminder messages in the workflow, to go to yourself or somebody on your staff, to take action for them. An automated workflow is a series of emails and text that go out to a group of people, workflows will also send reminders to your staff members as well.
[0:07:45.6] JY: So, in Becky’s Mother’s Day devotional example, people would opt in to receiving the devotional messages by texting a keyword and filling out a digital connection card. That would automatically add them to the group and the workflow is triggered to begin, right?
[0:07:59.1] NH: Exactly. Becky mentioned that her mother’s, their workflow is actually a series of emails that went out daily to encourage mothers, but she used the text messages to remind them of the devotions in their email, and offer to pray for them or engage them in a two-way conversation that she mentioned that was so pivotal in her communication with her church and community.
[0:08:20.4] JY: Yeah, and reminder messages are always a good thing to have as part of the workflow as well.
[0:08:26.2] NH: Yeah, absolutely.
[0:08:26.9] JY: In this case, it might be nice, she didn’t specifically mention a reminder message, I don’t think. I think, in this case, it might be nice to schedule a reminder to your pastor or volunteer to follow up and connect in another way, if appropriate.
[0:08:39.9] NH: Yeah, absolutely. That really brings up a good point. The workflow in Text in Church can be created from scratch, or you can use templates that we have and customize them to meet your needs. The point is, the workflows, once they are set up, you’ve customized your templates or created your own emails and text, they are automated to automatically go out according to the schedule, based on when each person joins that group inside of your account.
[0:09:02.7] JY: Yes. I just want to clarify how people are able to opt in to get these messages or, as we say in the Text in Church world, they join a group. There are a few ways this happens in our system, like I mentioned earlier, when you created additional group, you will want to give it a keyword. Then you share that keyword in your Text in Church 10-digit local phone number and ask people to text the keyword to the number, pretty straight forward.
They’ll receive a text back from our system that includes a link to your digital connection card for that group, and when they submit that connection card, they have opted in to your devotional group and those workflow messages will automatically begin. Of course, you could also do a manual signup, and then add them to your devotional group inside Text in Church as well.
[0:09:44.2] NH: Don’t forget about the QR code though as well. Inside of Text in Church, you also have the option of generating a QR code so that someone can scan that instead of texting the keyword. This is really great if you want to send an invite to join at the devotional, in the mail, print stickers to put on seat backs, add to posters or banners around your church, or just make a graphic to use on your welcome slides during your online services. There is a ton of different ways to use it.
[0:10:09.5] JY: Yep, for sure. And remember, the point of getting them to join a group and gathering their information is not just to share your devotional message or your guest follow up message or even event information. It is to build that connection with them through engaging them in a two-way conversation. Here is how Becky described it.
[0:10:26.8] BF: Gosh, there’s a lot of things, they’re different I – again, I can’t talk too much about the two way conversation because, as someone who is a content creator myself, I don’t want to just send things out there. I’d rather start a conversation, a hundred percent. I’d rather have a conversation just letting you know about what I think about things I want to start. What do you think about those kind of things?
Just the opportunity to be able to have a conversation. I was a cheerleader for many years and I have a vision of myself with a megaphone. I’d be yelling at the crowd but it wasn’t just to yell at them, it was to get them to engage.
[0:16:18.4] TS: Yeah.
[0:10:58.9] BF: We want them to cheer the team on. It wasn’t just about us (at all) just yelling to the crowd. The whole point was to get them to engage. I kind see that the role of the communications director the same way with the megaphone, being able to rally the people and help them engage and, just like I said, build those relationships.
[0:11:18.5] NH: That two-way conversation, that relationship, is really what it’s all about. Yes, you can use texting to blast information out to your church or your community, but that is really just scratching the surface. If you want some ideas for how to start the conversation with your members and guest using text messaging, then I’ve got a free resource for you called, The Text Messaging Playbook.
You can download it for free by going to podcast.textinchurch.com and finding it in today’s shownotes. This resource from Text in Church is filled with texting strategies for 10 different ministry areas that will help your church boost attendance connection and engagement.
[0:11:58.8] JY: If you want to ask Becky more about her communication strategy or the icebreaker or the Mother’s Day devotional, I invite you to join our Text in Church community Facebook group, it’s my favorite place in the world. Becky and other church leaders just like you are a part of this community, and we love sharing ideas and brainstorming new ones with each other. You can join it also by going to the podcast.textinchurch.com.
[0:12:22.9] NH: All right friends, thank you so much for joining us today. Jeanette and I love to bring you information and inspiration to help your church use technology the right way. I want to challenge you to take what you learn and put it into action. It’s the implementation of these ideas that will move your ministry forward. So, head over to our shownotes at podcast.textinchurch.com to download The Text Messaging Playbook, and join our free Facebook group.
[0:12:49.5] JY: That’s it for this week’s episode of the Tech in Church Podcast. Be sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app to know when new episodes are available. I’m Jeanette.
[0:12:57.7] NH: And I’m Nina, and we’ll talk more tech next time.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:13:00.9] NH: 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.
[0:13:14.6] 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/podcast. For more information on Text in Church, visit textinchurch.com.