We’d like to introduce Pastor Jacob Serns. You may have run into him on his YouTube channel. If not, it’s worth checking out.
Jacob describes himself as a church planter. He loves the concept of going into a new community or area and starting work there. At the moment, Jacob has two churches in Texas: Benbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church (less than 3 years old and picking up in growth) and Weatherford Seventh-day Adventist Church which is a bit more established. Jacob hopes to plant the 3rd church in his district soon.
About a month ago, Jacob became one of our PastorsLine partners. We caught up with him via Zoom to hear his story and see how it’s been going.
Jacob says he is “not a fan of email”, so his church communication consisted of “text messaging”. In addition, he told us that “for a while there, it was just me”. As a result, the texting was “really sparse and limited”.
Jacob explained further: “You text somebody and you think, ‘I’m totally going to text them again because I’m going to remember… and you don’t remember. There are just too many people. There are tons and tons of people. Somebody shows up once or twice, and they’re gone, and you totally forget about them. Out of sight, out of mind.”
Perhaps you’ve been there? Perhaps you’re there now?
Jacob tried to get some help: “So I was texting by myself for a long time. Then I had an elders leadership team that I was working with. I was giving them each a list of names, like maybe 10 names or so, and having them text those people just to keep in touch, invite them to events and things. That was working ok, and it’s nice because it’s a personal way of doing things, but that was pretty much it. Text or phone call.”
Jacob knew he needed a better way to communicate. A friend told him about PastorsLine, so Jacob decided to check us out.
Jacob’s goals when he signed up for PastorsLine
The same friend who recommended PastorsLine told Jacob: “More communication is a good thing”. So that was Jacob’s main goal: to increase communication, especially inviting people to events, getting the word out about things at church.
He also saw the data capture feature and got excited. Although his church still uses connect cards on occasion, they have mostly stopped using them, so he was looking for a solution for that also.
Lastly, Jacob wanted to save time. He was spending hours and hours on the phone, copy/pasting the same message to different people. He tried putting people in groups to save time, but some got angry with him. They didn’t want to be in a group chat with people they didn’t know. When Jacob saw our bulk texting app, he said: “Yes, please.”
Any wins so far?
Even though Jacob has used PastorsLine “for only a month or so now”, he has already “had big results”.
This is a full-day event. After the regular worship service, there is a communal lunch. Then there are afternoon activities such as a nature walk and a social gathering. People can drop in and out as it suits them.
As Jacob tells it: “One of my first uses was inviting people to one of these Super Sabbaths. I used the first name merge field, so the text seemed personal. [NOTE: In case you are not familiar, using the text first name merge field will begin each text with the person’s first name.] I was also careful with the wording to not seem spammy.”
Here’s what happened: “I got a ton of responses back. I sent the messages instantly and then boom, boom, boom…the replies started coming in. No one is in a group chat. Using PastorsLine avoids all that.”
Another benefit that Jacob mentioned is that “attendance has gone up. At that first event, we broke our attendance record. More people showed up than to any other event at our church up to that point.
Could your events do with more attendance?
We asked Jacob to estimate his time-saving. He said, “I did about 6 hours worth of work in 30 minutes.”
Does that sound like savings you would be interested in?
Jacob used PastorsLine to invite people to the meeting. Did we help his “show up” rate? Jacob says he got “2-3 times as many people as I was expecting”.
And just last weekend…
It was Jacob’s third time inviting via PastorsLine. The church “broke its attendance record again”.
What’s next for Jacob with PastorsLine?
He told us that he wants to dive deeper into the automated messaging campaign feature (AMC). Specifically, he’d like to set up a system in which a person texts a keyword—such as “Membership”, for example. This keyword would trigger a notification to the Membership Contact on Jacob’s leadership team. The contact could then be in touch with the texter to help them with their request.
We can’t wait to help Jacob put that into practice! He’ll be able to choose to send his leadership members texts or emails. He can set up as many AMCs as he needs. So one for membership, one for visitors, etc.
And speaking of helping…
As a relatively new partner, we asked Jacob for feedback about how it’s been learning to use our platform. Jacob told us it’s been a “pretty smooth process. You guys help me over the hiccups. Your customer service is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
It seems that Jacob’s church used other worship service coordination software in the past. When they reached out to customer service, no one was ever there or if they were, they could never fix anything. He said it turned into an “epic disaster”.
“With you guys, it’s just like an instant, all the time; you guys are always available. I thank you and Praise God for that. That’s a huge blessing to have you guys there for my questions.”
What’s Jacob’s conclusion about PastorsLine?
He said it’s been “a game-changer for my ministry”, has “saved me many multiple hours of work and has produced results very quickly. I’m excited about it.”
Jacob continued: “Other pastors who feel like they can’t keep in touch with everybody, they CAN keep in touch with everybody effortlessly, for a pretty small fee. It’s a very good price. If it was expensive, we couldn’t do it. We’re a church plant, a little baby church; we can’t afford big buck things, but we can afford this. I think that makes a difference for a lot of smaller churches that are trying to grow. This will be a tool that can help them to grow. So I feel PastorsLine is something that people should at least try out.”
Is your church looking for a “simple, easy, effective tool to invite people to events”? Are you interested in growing your attendance? Would you be happy with big results without having to spend big bucks?