Palermo Bible Family Church in California recently began using text messaging to communicate with its church members. We sat down with Daniel Jacobsen of PBFC to understand how his church decided upon using text communication and what the process has been like:

What brought you to the point of wanting to communicate with your church via text messages? What were you using previously and why was it not working?

The first obstacle has always been time in our services. Our Lead Pastor does not want to spend time during our services doing the traditional announcements so there has always been, “I didn’t know about that.” To jump over, I created our website and Facebook fan page both with calendars and reminders but we still got the, “I didn’t know about that” feedback from our members. I started looking into text message systems which would allow me to remind our congregation all at once. Looking through YouTube I came to SendTree. We signed up and started having people subscribe to it. We named it to personalize it: We call it PBFCconnect.

What made you decide to begin using text communication?

The price point for us was huge in our decision making! We didn’t know if this was the correct answer to our problem.

Who uses SendTree at your church – just one person, or multiple staff or volunteers across many ministries?

I am the only one that sends out messages. To keep cost down we thought that would be for the best.

Describe the process of how you send out a message – is it easy? Can you schedule in advance? How do you market these messages – send them over Facebook and Twitter? Include them in church emails?

At the end of each month when I am making the calendar for the new month I log into my SendTree account and start setting up messages to go out. I set the message to go out in advance. I find that to be better for me not having to remember to send this message today or that message tomorrow. I do it all at the beginning of the month and don’t have to think about it until next. When you log into your account you select “message,” I then select which group or ministry I would like this message to go to. I type the message then select when I want it sent. All our PBFCconnect messages our attached to our Facebook page.

Any particular examples you can share about when text message communication really helped – or encouraged people to come to a special event?

I think the biggest way this has helped is when we have canceled a service. In the past, my parents and I would get on our phones and start texting everyone we can think of…but we always missed someone! In this case now with PBFCconnect, I send one message takes two minutes to set up and send. Another example of text success is that we just had our “Father’s Day Celebration” in June with a BBQ, blow-up events for the children, chili cook off and more. This was our first real big event while using PBFCconnect and it was our largest! We had a great turn out and I do believe PBFCconnect was influential in the success of the event.

If your church is looking to add an efficient method of communication to its arsenal of communication tools, take a moment to check out SendTree.

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