Best Text Messaging Strategies for Churches

Strategy #1: Communication within your Church community is very important. Though, we all know the down fall of out dated forms of communication. With texting you do not have to worry about that, at least not yet. Texting is now the #1 form of communication.

Its also safe to say that if you are researching Text Message communications for your Church or organization that you have a need for it. In this Strategy series we will discuss techniques you can easily duplicate to grow your communications list and keep your congregation or youth connected. Lets get started!

First you will want to set-up your first keyword to represent your first list. Most Churches use an abbreviation for the name of their Church or organization to represent a general list. For each list you will want to define a purpose. Also, set your Auto-Reply to send a friendly confirmation when someone joins.

On a general Church Text Message list you may have many uses. Those uses include emergency alerts, closing, updates, communications from the Pastor, etc… Its more of a one size fits all purpose. Now lets discuss whats more realistic when it comes to Church text communications.

Side Note: If you are unsure of the terminology or confused on what a Auto-reply or Textword is you may want to check out this link to educate yourself on some basics. These guys provide a great basic understanding of Text Marketing.

Learn the Basics Click Here

Setting up multiple lists is more realistic for a larger church to utilize. The first thing you will want to do is define a purpose for each one of your list. will continue this series to provide you with tips and ideas. As believers ourselves, we stand strong in the value popular forms of communication can bring to Churches and Organizations.

Like, in the first half this post you will want to choose Keywords that are relevant to your Church. Next define their purpose and set-up your auto reply.

Example 1: Text, ” NameofYourChurchHere ” to 31996 for all general communications.

Example 2: Text, ” YouthGroupParentsList ” to 31996 for communications concerning youth group for all parents of participating Children.

Example 3: Text, ” YouthGroup ” to 31996 to join the Youth Group communications list.

Example 4: Text, ” Donate ” to 31996 to be directed to our mobile tithe link

Here are some other uses for Churches and separate lists. Each number represents a new idea for a separate list.

  1. Incorporated texts with sermons (questions for members to think about for the upcoming sermon or integrated messages)
  2. Daily Devotionals/Sermons
  3. Connecting new members
  4. General members Updates
  5. Prayer Requests
  6. Emergencies
  7. Youth group trips
  8. Special offering reminders
  9. Last minute changes to service
  10. Daily/weekly/monthly Inspirational Quotes
  11. Service and event reminders
  12. Bible Study groups
  13. Youth/Teen groups
  14. Outreach ministries
  15. Internal ministries
  16. First time guests
  17. Men’s group
  18. Women’s group
  19. Ushers communications
  20. Staff communications
  21. General database
  22. Open polling (test your congregations knowledge)

Strategy #2 : Communication within your Church community is very important. Though, we all know the down fall of out dated forms of communication. With texting you do not have to worry about that. Texting is now the #1 form of communication.

Now that we have define our text list we will want to get the word out to our congregation and members on how to join. In this article we will discuss the first technique in growing your list.

The Announcement

Strategy #2 is nothing more than taking your defined list or lists and announcing them to your congregation and members. It’s as simple as that.

For your Church it will probably go something like this. The Senior Pastor or person in charge of announcements will make announcements at the beginning of Church and he will also include an announcement for new communications list.

     Side Note: As a best practice for getting the congregation ready to join your communications list, ask the Church to bring their cell phone to service the following Sunday. Then, have everyone take out their cell phone and give the directions to join the designated list or lists.

At the following Sunday when everyone is sure to have their cell phones make your big announcement to join the list. Sometimes clarifying how to set up a new text message is necessary. If needed clarify the short code number by letting them know your providers number.

     Side Note: A short code is a 5 to 6 digit number in which the SMS provider owns and is used for text communications for organizations and businesses to communicate to through

Then, explain that the keyword goes in the message box. Tell them to hit send and listen as your congregations phones go DING! Easy right? Stay tuned for part 3 of this series to continue to get great ideas for your Church or Organization.

Best Text Message Marketing Strategies for Churches #3 – In this short one page article we talk about providing the Pastor with his personal textword. Providing the Head Pastor with his own separate text list is a great idea considering he is the leader and beacon for the whole Church. This allows him to get personalized with his messages.

Step 1: The first thing you will want to do is set up your textword for the Pastor. This is as simple as using the Pastors name to represent the textword.

     Example textword for the Pastor : ” Pastor Bob “, then members can text, PASTOR BOB to 31996 to join his list.

After the Pastor’s personal text list is set up announce to your congregation that there is a second text list in which they can join that is associated with leadership messages and words of encouragement directly from their head pastor. This is another great way to stay connected with your congregation.

    Side Note: As we discussed in our Second article on Best Text Message Marketing for Churches #2, Your first list is for general purposes such as cancellations, announcements and emergencies pertaining to the Church as a whole and the purpose for the Pastors list will be strictly for personal encouragement, and leadership direction for his sheep: the congregation.

    Step 2: After you let the congregation know how to join the list verbally by announcing the option at the beginning of Church you are going to want to advertise and set up ways for more people to join. This is done by a couple different ways.

1. Projector

2. Pamphlet

3. Re-Announcing the list every so often

4. Twitter – at the bottom of every tweet. Text, ” Pastor Bob ” to 31996

5. Facebook- posting and re-posting continuously – in your fan page info under the phone number row.

6. Posting how to sign up on your website

7. On your website by including a Web Widget

     Side Note: A web widget is a snippet of code that you can generate by an sms marketing service such as that allows you to copy and paste the code into your website and in turn creates a entry slot on your website where people can enter their phone number and sign up right online from you site.

Click Here for more explanation on how Web Widgets work.

8. Treat every advertising outlet as a funnel for your text message marketing efforts.

9. Bathroom stalls

10. Salvation cards for newly saved members

11. On your live stream broadcast – Scroll the text on the screen

12. Visitor cards

Best Text Message Marketing Strategies for Churches #4 – In this short article we dive deeper into a sub category we discussed previously in our, “Best Text Message Marketing Strategies for Churches #3” article. This article will discuss more in depth using your website as a outlet to grow your text communications list. 

Your website may get lots of traffic for various reasons. Maybe you have updates posted, relevant information for directions and service times, or traffic from live stream feeds. What ever the case may be, you do not want to miss the opportunity to grow your reach by missing this outlet.


1. Advertising your Text list tagline to join

For last minute updates on schedule changes due to inclement weather and helpful reminders about upcoming events please join our text communications list.

To join the general communications list please Text, KEYWORD to 31996

For Pastor’s personal encouraging messages and communications join the list.

To join Pastors list please Text, PASTOR to 31996

You may opt out of the text message service at any time by replying “STOP”. Standard text rates apply and/or data usage (depending on your carrier).

SIDE NOTE: The last part about opting out is a compliance requirement. You must put fine print at the bottom of your site or where ever you wish that lets the congregation joining know how to remove themselves from communications.

Also, as a best practice clearly state the purpose of each list so people know what will be communicated to them on what list.

2. Web widget on site – A web widget is a sign up box where people can enter their phone number manually and click sign up. 

If using as your text communications service then, go to your dashboard, click the purple button that says, “ grown my list”, then click the button that says, “web widget”, choose the type of box you want, then copy and paste the code into the code of your website. Usually the web designer can handle this easily.

Copy & Paste code for specific list into the back end of your site to have a opt in box show up.

This is a great option to grow your list if someone does not have their phone on them. They can easily enter their cell number on your site and join the list through your web widget.

Remember every where your congregations eyes are is where you want to place a flyer or text to join option. The more people you connect with the church the more power you will have in spreading the word of God and getting people saved. Because that is what its all about. Texting is an extremely effective way to connect people. Everyone has a cell phone and every one has text.

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