Our job at Text In Church is focused on helping people connect with their communities. Today on the show, we talk about something brand-new for our churches. It is something revolutionary, and there is no better person to talk about that today than our guest, Caleb Miller! Caleb is not only the CXO of Text In Church but has also spent time actively involved in ministry and was previously on staff at his church for several years. Join us as we throw hot potato questions at Caleb regarding the launch of our new product, Talk In Church, and Caleb explains why this new phone system is beneficial for churches, why it’s better than what we may already have, and more!
Key Points From This Episode:
Most church leaders really struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance because making ministry calls on the go means you can’t keep your personal cell phone number private. Talk In Church is an easy-to-use phone system created for churches so you can make and take calls on the go and on your schedule without sharing your personal cell phone number ever again.
Text the word, PHONE, to 816-429-9396 to start your free 14-day trial of Talk 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.
“CM: A digital receptionist would be, like an example, you call into a doctor’s office. When you call in, you get a voice prompt that asks you, “Press one to schedule an appointment, press two to hear the office hours.” Well, with Talk in Church, you’ll be able to have the exact same system. You’ll be able to press one for service times and locations, press two to plan a visit, press three to speak to the pastor. You’ll have all that in there and what we’re doing to make that easier is we already have pre-written phone calling scripts for you. So everything in there is already prewritten for you, pretty much to what any church would need. You maybe you have to make a couple of tweaks depending on your church’s language but everything’s already done for you so you don’t have to do any of the work.”
[0:00:40.9] NH: Welcome to the Tech In Church Podcast, brought to you by Text in Church. I’m Jeanette Yates and I am here with my cohost, Nina Hampton. If you are ready to make huge, long-term impact in your ministry using technology the right way, then you are in the right place. Each episode, you’ll hear form church and ministry leaders who will share their real-life examples of how they use the right technology so they can spend more time building relationships and doing the things that got them into ministry in the first place.
[0:01:11.1] NH: Okay, so Jeanette, you asked me to do the intro today because we are bringing in a very important member of the Text in Church team, my personal arch nemesis, Caleb Miller is here today and we’ll be talking about some brand-new, something brand-new for our churches and it is revolutionary and there is no better person to talk about that today than Caleb.
[0:01:32.0] JY: Yeah, that is true and arch nemesis, yes, but also he is part of our three musketeers. He’s the third musketeer in the three musketeer.
[0:01:42.4] NH: He is, unfortunately, he is a part of this group.
[0:01:44.7] JY: Yeah, he’s a very important part of our team and we’re so happy to have him with us on the podcast today. He is not only the CXO of Text in Church but has also spent time actively involved in ministry and was previously on staff at his church for several years but better he tell you about himself than me because we’ll just keep making little jokes that nobody gets but you and I, Nina and so, without further ado, Caleb, welcome and why don’t you in fact, tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
[0:02:13.7] CM: Awesome, thanks so much for having me guys. I’m super excited to be here, to share out upcoming new product with you guys that we’ll share here in just a little bit. But just a little bit about me, like Jeanette said, I am Caleb. I’m the chief experience officer here at Text in Church. So my role is to kind of guide customers along their journey from signing up all the way through becoming what we call ambassadors every step along the way.
If you come in contact with us, our team is there to help you along the way. So that goes from our success, to our support teams, to interacting with the product itself. So that is a little bit about me and what I do here at Text in Church.
[0:02:50.3] NH: So Caleb, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got to Text in Church. I know you have a little bit of an experience working for churches in the past and just being involved in ministry in a bunch of different ways at you know, churches that you’ve been at because you’ve lived a few places. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got to Text in Church.
[0:03:04.9] CM: Yeah, so I grew up in in Central Florida. So I went to the same church that I grew up in. I eventually became a kind of part time staff member there doing technology for the church, working on anything from like office computers to phone systems, to creating graphics and announcement videos and things like that.
I worked there for a little bit, then we moved, my wife and I moved to Missouri where we were serving in churches there. During that move to Missouri is where I came onboard with Text in Church about five years ago. I start up as a part-time support person there and kind of have worked my way up thought the company and now kind of help develop new technologies and things like that, that I’m about to share with you guys now.
[0:03:41.9] NH: Awesome, so that’s actually why we think that you're the perfect person to introduce and chat about this new product. So why don’t you go ahead and do the honors of introducing it?
[0:03:51.1] CM: Yeah, so, I am super excited to announce that we are adding the perfect partner product to Text in Church and it is what we’re going to be calling Talk in Church. So that is a fully integrated phone system, along with your texting capabilities that you already have with Text in Church, you’ll be able to make and receive calls.
You’ll be able to have what we call a digital receptionist which we can get into in a little bit but have someone there 24/7 to answer your calls and have it all completely mobile. No clunky phone systems or anything like that. So I’m super excited to share more about this.
[0:04:22.4] JY: Okay. So I’m going to hop in here and I want to just ask this question because you know, Text in Church and the Tech in Church Podcast, we’re all about like, “New technology to help your church connect” and do all these kinds of stuff and then here you come in, and tell us that we’re introducing a phone system. So I want to know why in 2022 are we helping churches with a phone system, like, what is going to be the benefit?
[0:04:51.2] CM: Yeah, that is a great question. So I would say, there’s probably two main reasons for why we went this route. You know, during the pandemic, when everything was shut down, many churches have to go from work from home model just like every other business and a lot of times, there weren’t people there to actually answer the church’s phone because no one was there.
So a lot of calls went on missed, they have to go in like once a week, check their voice mails, return all their calls, they’re not actually getting to talk to those people live and then the other reason for that is, smaller sized churches are growing in the United States. In 2020, faith communities today, studies show that 7 in 10 US churches have a hundred or fewer weekly worship attendees and that number of church is actually growing.
So the smaller communities are keep on growing. A lot of those pastors don’t have the staff to have somebody sit there to answer the phones all day. They’ll be out on the field, they can’t be stuck at a desk. They’ll be out visiting people at hospitals, fellowshipping, things like that. So without the permanent space, a lot of churches don’t even have that nowadays too. They’re renting out schools, renting out storefronts to do their church.
Without a permanent space, this phone system that we’re creating is going to be completely mobile, so it goes with you wherever you go.
[0:05:58.0] JY: Right and Nina, I know you have the next question so I’m going to hop back in here though. I’m going to let you ask that in just a second but to your point, like, why add a phone system in 2022 is because people are still using phones and our job at Text in Church and Talk in Church is to help people connect with their communities with whatever they’re using and phones are still very important and yes, churches, historically have had this landline problem and this Talk in Church product is going to step in here and solve that problem in a few different ways and so Nina, now, I’ll hand it back to you and let you carry on.
[0:06:36.8] NH: Right, because I think the natural next question that like, anybody would ask is like, “Okay, that’s great, it’s a phone system, we already got one so why is this better?” Like, what is the benefit to this new system versus what we already have?
[0:06:49.2] CM: Right, that’s also a good question. So, you know, when we kind of conducted research when we started, you know, are we actually going to do this? So we put out our research survey, kind of pulling churches and we found that 66% of churches still use landlines. So using a landline while they still work, like you said, people have been using them forever, they can continue to use them, there’s just limitations to that.
One is that they’re clunky and expensive. You know, back for the church I had mentioned earlier that I used to work at, we had a voice over IP system which is you know, like, office phones are all connected together, you have the desk phone, you have extensions and everything like that. Well, again, it worked great. You know, all the hardware, including the phones themselves, a couple of thousand dollars, each phone was almost a hundred dollars, if not more.
To make changes to the system, we had the super old laptop that we had to get out because the program was only installed on that one computer, physically plug it into the server that was sitting on the wall, make our changes, unplug it, the whole music was connected to an MP3 player. So you’d like loan music, it’s like an MP3 player and plug it in and that’s where the old music came from. So like, it worked but it was super annoying.
If we ever had to change holiday hours, you know, it’s Christmas week, nobody’s in the office, you had to go get out that computer, do all that stuff. So you know, we’re really solving the clunkiness problem of that of being able just to change all of your settings of your phone on your computer quickly, make a change completely done. The other thing is like I had mentioned earlier, the expensive part. You know, all that hardware, those are a ton of money.
So this is all using stuff that you already have. So you’ll build everything on your computer and then you’ll take and receive calls from your phone, which you already have. There is no cost associated with hardware with this as well.
The third thing that really makes this better than your current, kind of what we were talking about earlier is the mobility aspect of it. So you don’t have that desk phone. The desk phone is in your pocket with you no matter where you’re at. You’ll be able to set everything up from your digital receptionist to making and receiving calls all within just a few minutes of setting up Text in Church on your phone.
[0:08:54.9] JY: Yeah, so you’ll be actually able to use Talk in Church. If you are a Text in Church member, you’ll be using it from your app as well.
[0:09:01.2] CM: Yes, that’s correct. Yep, so you’ll be utilizing the same app that you already have as well. You don’t have to download anything new. Once you sign up, it is in the app that you already use.
[0:09:09.9] JY: Okay, so you told like a horror story about phones in your church and I am not going to reveal whether this was a church I worked for or with or just heard about in all of my conversations I have with church communication directors but I will say that I have heard of a church that a committee once adjusted to get a headset or a portable phone for the receptionist so that when she went to the bathroom, she could take the phone with her so she wouldn’t have to potentially miss a call and so yeah. It’s like they didn’t think that one through all the way, I don’t think.
[0:09:47.8] NH: Right, yeah, that’s right you know?
[0:09:49.8] JY: But that brings me to my next question where I think it will bring me to – so like, you know, this was back in the day before cellphones when they were talking about this but now we have cellphones. So I do have, you know, you’re telling me I could use my Text in Church app or whatever so it’s very mobile. So the question is, that’s great but if I am going to be using an app on my phone, can’t I just use my cellphone for my church phone? That’s another question I would have.
[0:10:17.6] CM: Right and you can use your cellphone but that would also require you giving out your cellphone number to anyone who you want to call. So you know, yeah, exactly. At Text in Church, you know we’re really firm believers of setting healthy boundaries with your church members. That’s the reason you know, when you sign up for Text in Church, you are actually using a dedicated line to text with.
So that’s the same thought here, you would already use that same phone number that you’ve been texting people as your calling number. So it is a separate number that people can reach you at and you can also set the days and times, which you can be reached at that number. So if you are only taking calls Monday through Thursday from nine to five, your phone will only ring during that time.
You’ll have a voicemail box just like you would your regular cellphone, so people can leave you a message. If it is urgent, you can call them back. When you do call people like you call out or they call you and you call them back, your number is hidden the whole time. It’s using your Talk in Church or Text in Church number, whichever one you’re using, you would be able to use that same number and so everything there is fully done for you.
[0:11:19.4] JY: Okay, so I am not having to share my cellphone number. It is my local Text in Church or local Talk in Church number that I have chosen as part of my account, which again, helps with that healthy boundary. So I am not having to talk on the phone when I’m using the restroom, right, okay.
[0:11:33.4] NH: Right, cool but I do have an additional question just from what you said and we’re eliminating hardware, right? So it’s not this clunky system but it does sound like it has the potential to be complicated. That sounds like okay, setting up this digital receptionist, setting up these numbers. I guess that’s more of a statement than a question and so –
[0:11:53.1] JY: What are you doing about it Caleb is what we want to know?
[0:11:56.8] NH: Is there anything that you could say, that you could speak to about like somebody who might hear this will be like, “Okay, it sounds great but what about that?”
[0:12:03.4] JY: Yeah, I know how my phone works. It’s clunky but I know how it works. How is this better for me?
[0:12:07.4] NH: Right.
[0:12:08.7] CM: Right, that totally makes sense. So you know, at Text in Church, when you sign up for an account, you know we give you templates for automated work flows, we give you templates to do a sermon series bump, we give you templates for VBS, we’ve taken that same concept. We hadn’t left you high and dry, we’ve panned out, incorporated all of those kind of same concepts into a phone system.
So you know, earlier we were talking about digital receptionist. Some people may not know exactly what that is but a digital receptionist would be like an example, you’re calling into a doctor’s office. When you call in, you get a voice prompt to ask like, “Press one to schedule an appointment. Press two to hear the office hours.” Well, with Talk in Church, you’d be able to have the exact same system.
You’ll be able to press one for service times and locations, press two to plan a visit, press three to speak to the pastor. You’ll have all that in there and what we’re doing to make that easier is we already have pre-written phone calling scripts for you. So everything in there is already pre-written for you pretty much to what any church would need. You may have to make a couple of tweaks depending on your church’s language but everything is already done for you, so you don’t have to do any of the work.
The other thing that we made it easier is that recording, those kind of things just kind of nerve wrecking like we’re recording now, I’m a little nervous. When you go to record your voicemail, you might have a shaky voice and it sounds funny on the other end. One way we’ve also made it easier is we’ve integrated text to speech software to take those scripts and use natural sounding voices. Now I know robotic voices in the past have sounded really weird and just odd. These are very –
[0:13:34.9] NH: Thank you for calling, yeah.
[0:13:36.6] CM: Exactly, these are very natural, they sound just like people and you’ll be able to choose from a variety of different voices and use that as the person announcing, you know, “Press one to hear service times and locations. Press two to schedule a visit.” We add all that for you in there so that you don’t have to take the time to write the scripts or even record them if you don’t want to.
[0:13:55.2] JY: Right, you can but you don’t have to.
[0:13:57.4] CM: Yes, right. Exactly, yeah.
[0:13:58.8] NH: You have the choice, you have the freedom.
[0:14:00.7] JY: Well, I feel like we could keep going on all day long and asking and just throwing, you guys, we have like an outline of what we’re going to ask Caleb and we just really just been throwing you know, hot potatoes at him.
[0:14:15.0] NH: All kinds of stuff.
[0:14:15.5] JY: Yeah, so instead of continuing to do that, you know, there is so much about the Talk in Church system. We are all so excited about it on our team. There is so much but we don’t want to overwhelm everyone because the bottom line is we are solving a problem that we have heard that churches are having by our team creating the software. By we, I mean not me, you all, I did not do this.
Our development team is amazing and they have been working on this really hard but Caleb, if people have more questions about Talk in Church, if they want to see kind of a recap of all that Talk in Church has for them, where can they go to learn more about Talk in Church and how they can access it if they’re already Text in Church members and even if they’re not a Text in Church member, how they can get Talk in Church.
[0:15:02.6] CM: Yeah, absolutely. So if you are interested in Talk in Church, you can head over to talkinchurch.com and learn all about Talk in Church. You can chat with us there, you can find out anything that you need. You can also talk to us if you email email@example.com, you’ll be able to reach us there as well.
[0:15:18.3] NH: Awesome. Well, that kind of wraps up our time today. We thank you so much for joining us today. The Tech in Church Podcast is a production of the Text in Church team. To get the show notes 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.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:15:39.2] JY: The Tech in Church Podcast is a production of the Text in Church team. To get the show notes 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.