CHURCH WEB SITE
DIAL MY CALLS
This is the calling system that lets us send out calls to everyone or to just the members of a particular group. It is a mainstay of our communication strategy. To date, we have sent more than 800 calls in the time we have been using the system. It has saved us hundreds of hours that would have been spent in making individual calls. It has also saved us lots of money in terms of postage and resources that might have been used to send out notices for meetings. It will remain at the forefront of our communications strategy.
This is the weekly one stop shopping place to see what is happening in the immediate future at the church. It contains worship, announcements, servant ministry updates, prayer concerns, etc. The only drawback is that you have to be a church to get one or you have to go to our church web site and look up that particular Sunday and then download a pdf of the bulletin for that Sunday. However, since we use 11x17 paper, hardly anyone will have the capability to actually print it out and read it. We will continue to utilize the bulletin. However, we may be supplementing it on various other communication platforms.
SENDING ITEMS VIA MAIL
Think about this. When was the last time you received something in the mail from the church other than your giving statement? We just don't utilize the postal service. It is time consuming to create and send items and it is an added cost in postage.
This avenue is still an effective means of creating a message-especially if there is an audio/visual element you need to convey along with the message. However, keeping email lists up to date is not as simple as it sounds. Also, sending mass messages to the whole church requires a special kind of email platform. I have tried a couple of these and they are not always that easy to use. So, email has taken a back seat in the last couple of years as a result.
At first this was not a viable avenue for me. I had to pay extra for texting on my phone. However, with changes in my plan I began to utilize texts more and more. It is a quick and convenient way to get out a short message and get back a quick response. The draw back is that not everyone has a phone that allows them to easily and efficiently receive and respond to text messages.
While Facebook was a one time a great way to get out a message to the wider community, it is becoming more and more difficult to use it in that manner due to changes in the way Facebook does business. While Facebook does provide a viable place to tell our story, it is harder to tell it to people that don't already know about us and follow us.
Sending 140 character messages has just not been an effective way for me to communicate and I get the impression that most church members do not have a Twitter account. So, this avenue rarely gets used.
SO WHERE DOES THIS BRING US...TO THE BEGINNING OF A NEW COMMUNICATION AVENUE
The church is now officially (well in a few weeks when we get all the paperwork filed and accepted) and app developer with Google and Apple. That means that we will be able to place on the Google Playstore (android) and the Apple iOS Store a dedicated church app. It will be free to anyone that has a smart phone or tablet to download and use. This will be good for us because research show that people tend to spend more time on their phones that they do in front of computers. That means that our church's story will be only an app click away. It means you won't have to sit down in front of a computer and wait for it to come on and open your browser and type in the church web site--it means almost instant access to the church and its ministries.
We intend to couple this new ability to more effectively reach out with an initiative to reach out to a younger generation. We are going to specifically target young adults and families with ministries to help them grow in their faith and deepen their sense of service and commitment to the Kingdom of God.
I hope you will get excited about this new way of communicating God's love with a new generation. Even if you are not in that group we are seeking to target, you still need to download and use the church app. Currently, only a trial version is available. You can download and start using it. However, when the dedicated app becomes available, you will need to go to the app store on your phone and download it. I'll let you know when that happens.
Here are the instructions for getting the trial version that is currently up and running. Please note, it is being created a section or so at a time by the pastor. So if you get some pages or links that don't seem to work. Understand that it is a work in progress.
- On your phone go to your app store (Google PlayStore or Apple App store)
- Download the app My Church App (please note that there are several with similar names so look specifically for one with this name.)
- Install the app and open it.
- Once it is open and running, you then search for Trinity United Methodist Church. Choose that option.
- The next time you open My Church App it will take you directly to the church app that is usable, but still being created.