Text (SMS) Messaging at the Church

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capelrd-p40
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Text (SMS) Messaging at the Church

Postby capelrd-p40 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:50 am

This topic is to generate discussion about what units of the church are currently doing in the area of text messaging. Please post your experiences, the tools you use, your objectives, the effectiveness of your methods, who the primary audience is, etc.
Thank you!

techgy
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Postby techgy » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:37 am

capelrd wrote:This topic is to generate discussion about what units of the church are currently doing in the area of text messaging. Please post your experiences, the tools you use, your objectives, the effectiveness of your methods, who the primary audience is, etc.
Thank you!


Perhaps you could clarify what it is you're looking for here. I wouldn't expect church units to be involved in text messaging. Members, however, would be. Can you be a little more clear on how this would apply to the technology efforts of the church, aside from an individual member using text messaging?
Have you read the Code of Conduct?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:54 am

Techgy wrote:I wouldn't expect church units to be involved in text messaging.


Text messaging is used in church units quite a lot in my area. For example:

  • Our YM president may text the members of the Priests Quorum to remind them of an activity.
  • Our local YSA ward uses text messaging for lots of different communication.
  • For the recent Draper Temple Celebration, the youth could request e-mail reminders and other notices from the Celebration committee. Leaders in our ward and stake also sent reminders to youth in our ward via SMS.

I also know someone serving in the bishopric of a student ward who uses text messaging even more than phone calls just to connect with members to set up appointments.

Except for the Draper Temple Celebration, as far as I know most of these usages are simply from cell phone to cell phone, so they don't use any other technologies. I think in at least one case a local leader used e-mail to send text messages to a group of youth.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:18 pm

Our Exececutive Secretary has found people won't pick up phone calls or return voice mails nearly as often as text messages. In fact, the responses to text messages is nearly always immediate. Our demographics consist of a higher than average number of young couples and families.
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Enigma1-p40
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Postby Enigma1-p40 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:17 am

I've found it very nice to connect my Nokia XpressMusic to my laptop with the cable that it came with when I got it, run the Nokia software, and send mass SMS about Temple trips, Ward activities, etc. It saves time (of calling everyone, visiting everyone) and money (designing paper flyers and making copies, and taping them to peoples doors)

other than that, there really isnt much benefit to SMS that people dont already do in there every day life

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Postby scion-p40 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:20 pm

One of our prior YW leaders sent texts to her class regularly. They were typically to everyone, such as:
-HS back to school on Tu, so YW on Wed (Since our chapel is next door to the high school, we have absolutely *no* use of our own parking lot on back to school nights.)
-Tu 6:30 @ Central Park wear gym clothes
-Anna: paper plates, Mary: cups, . . .

Our YW secretary also sends email frequently, which some youth now access from their phones.

Our YM prefer google calendars, which I love!

Most of our youth have their own cell phones.

I haven't noticed much usage by the YSA ward, though.

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McDanielCA
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Postby McDanielCA » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:39 am

When I was in a YSA I got text messages almost daily from one bishop, and the bishop after that. He would send uplifting messages, reminders about activities, and everything in between. He also responded to texts very quickly. It was so awesome! He would text me on occasion after I left the ward as well.

I also know a bishop that uses it to send personal uplifting messages to members he knows are struggling. I know some of the people who received them really appreciated that.

As a YW secretary I will send texts to the girls to talk to them about activities.

Nothing out of the ordinary, but still pretty astounding how effective it can be.

capelrd-p40
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Your Ideas and Experiences With Text Messaging in Church Environments

Postby capelrd-p40 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:39 am

Techgy wrote:Perhaps you could clarify what it is you're looking for here. I wouldn't expect church units to be involved in text messaging. Members, however, would be. Can you be a little more clear on how this would apply to the technology efforts of the church, aside from an individual member using text messaging?


As a Program Manager in the ICS department at church headquarters, I'm exploring how text messaging technologies are being utilized in church organizations. I know of several units that are using this technology, either experimentally, or as a regular part of their communications methodology. I would like to reach out to a larger technical audience and solicit more information to learn what works and see if there are cost effective ways the church could support this communication method.
Church HQ is currently using text messaging on several fronts. The Public Affairs department and PEF program are two prime examples. You may be aware that if you text "ldsnews" to 29222 (or 447624805710 outside the US), you will be subscribed to LDS news bulletins published by the Public Affairs department (for more information, browse to http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/sign-up-for-breaking-news-text-message-alerts). Also, the Perpetual Education Fund program sends out thousands of text messages each month to participants. In many parts of the world, text messaging is the most reliable and cheapest way to contact people.
Some potential scenarios might include:
  1. A Relief Society President finds out that a sister needs to go to the hospital to visit her relative who has suddenly taken ill. The President sends out the following message to the RS members: "Is anyone available to watch Sis Smith's kids for an hour so she can check on her mother at the hospital?"
  2. The Stake President sends a message to the members of the High Council on Sunday morning to remind them to sustain a new stake clerk in meetings that day.
  3. A Sunday School Teacher sends a reminder to her 16-year-old class members to bring their scriptures to class.

If this capability were available through the Ward Web Site, leveraging the membership and calling information, would that be useful and cost effective?
One can imagine many other potential applications: surveys, emergency communications, notices, etc.
Text messaging is growing in popularity, it's easy to use, and cheap in bulk purchases. Outside the US, there are many locations where it is the primary means of electronic communications.
How does your organization use it, or plan to use it? What has your experience been? What works, and what doesn't work? What are your "big ideas"?

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Postby SheffieldTR » Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:35 pm

Thank you Bob for posting that. There are quite a number of church units using texting. Many have been outlined above. We are working closely with a company that provides this service and to see if it can be done in a cost effective way that we could roll out and make available to all the units who might be interested.

Due to current policies it would not be appropriate for me to mention this companies name here. But if you are seriously going to move forward with this technology feel free to PM me and we can talk.
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Postby shanebankhead » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:27 pm

Kind of late to the thread, but I saw this while surfing the forum and thought it was interesting...

A few more things come to mind:

Our stake president is famous for sending a text message to all of the youth in his address book on random Friday nights. Something to the effect of "Have fun & remember who you are..." It's done with love and a sense of humor, and believe it or not the kids really like it.

Also, like it or not, it has become a more efficient way of communicating important messages to someone up on the stand during a meeting. While I'm sure some would argue that this may be inappropriate, it is certainly less distracting than the usual walk up to the stand to pass a handwritten note...

During our multi-building stake conference broadcasts, the presiding leadership at the remote locations text back the results of sustainings in real-time, and the clerks text the attendance counts so the information can be immediately confirmed and recorded.

In general though, we haven't implemented any organized programs. It just happens to be how people communicate now. But I can guarantee our members would welcome and use any church tools that would facilitate text communications with ward members.

Not sure if the late post adds anything helpful to the topic, but I thought I'd pass it along FWIW.


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