Over the past decade, United Baptist Church (UBC) in Hempstead, NY has been developing a digital communication strategy, to grow their church. Their main communication channels include a mobile app, a website and a Facebook page. They also utilize the PastorsLine (formerly crossMRKT) text messaging service. When Pastor Sedgwick Easley first arrived at UBC, the church did not even own a computer. In 2011, UBC started a website. From there, they continued to add new digital and print communications channels.
They launched the PastorsLine (formerly crossMRKT) text message service in 2012 and since then, 341 people have signed up to receive texts from UBC on their cell phones. This means that, considering the congregation is approximately 500-strong, most people can be reached with a text message. The text service was launched by an announcement from the pulpit. Words of encouragement to sign up for the service continue to appear in the weekly bulletin.
UBC mainly uses PastorsLine (formerly crossMRKT) to alert members about events. They send out one reminder text on the day prior to an event. They send out another reminder on the day of an event. Sometimes, the text is accompanied by a picture in an attempt to get people excited about attending. This works great when the forecast indicates bad weather. Text messages are also used to inform of any possible cancellations.
Additionally, UBC utilizes text messaging to announce an upcoming sermon series. This helps in getting members excited about attending the weekend services.
“PastorsLine (formerly crossMRKT) works well for us and has been very successful. I think the main issue we are having is changing the culture of our church to embrace technology. The members that use the App absolutely love it.”
These are some basic but effective ways of text messaging use. However, UBC could do much more to increase audience engagement through text messaging. They could employ the more interactive features of the PastorsLine (formerly crossMRKT) system. They could employ surveys and the option of voting via the text message system to receive their congregation’s feedback. In addition, they could send out inspiring brief messages coupled with appeals to use the online donations page throughout the week. They certainly have not exhausted all the options that PastorsLine (formerly crossMRKT) offers, yet.
The PastorsLine (formerly crossMRKT) text messaging is UBC’s go-to channel for letting people to know about events. It fits in well with their overall communications strategy that involves text messaging, a mobile app, a dynamic website and social media.