My Church Does SMS

One of the places I get scolded by Mrs. Guru the most for using my cell phone is in church. I’m usually just checking the time or whatever, but it bothers her alot. You can imagine my joy, then, last week, when I was invited to turn my phone on silent, and then send an SMS, right there in church!

Our church has added a cool feature where I can text in a question during the sermon, and at the end, the pastor takes a few minutes to answer some of the questions that were sent in. More of the questions are posted on the church’s blog later in the week, if they weren’t able to be answered on Sunday.

Here’s the ‘ad’ (announcement?) in the Sunday morning brochure:

04142009001

Now, the mobile nut in me will notice that while the phone pictured is the Nokia 6680, which is powered by S60, it is also over 3 years old, and a model that was never sold in the United States (Cingular carried the 6682 for a while, which is similar, but not the model pictured). However, that’s not the point.

Here’s the response I got when I sent in a test question:

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Definitely a well-done response message. They thank me for participating, and offer me a next action, if I choose to further interact. Unfortunately, there is a single fail point – the URL points to a regular desktop site, with no mobilization at all. While this was fine for me, with a smartphone, and the nice-sized batch of iPhone users in our church, there’s also a good portion of ‘dumbphones’ that likely don’t have a powerful web browser handy.

The church clearly needs to complete the loop by setting up a mobile-friendly landing page, specifically for these users. Since the URL is being presented to the user, rather than being typed in, it would likely be OK to use m.McKinneyChurch.com, though an auto-detect would obviously be the best option for this. This landing page could offer contact information for the church, be a mobile version of the blog mentioned, or any number of other useful content that would facilitate more interaction.

In any case, I rather like the ability to pose questions anonymously, and definitely think that it helps others who might not be comfortable speaking out to ask a question, or who might not know who to ask. This setup also closely adheres to my belief that technology should enrich and enable real life, and not get in the way. In this case, it enables others to easily get answers to questions they might have, in a nonthreatening way. It also enriches others, as it helps the staff know what things the congregation might be confused about, or what things would be good to focus future sermons on.

  • http://antoinerjwright.com/ ARJWright

    Very cool; and sound observations. If one is going to go mobile, they need to go all the way. I recommend that your church look at mobify.me for a mobile solution that is painless and easy to deploy and manage. Their IT folks will thank you.

  • http://antoinerjwright.com ARJWright

    Very cool; and sound observations. If one is going to go mobile, they need to go all the way. I recommend that your church look at mobify.me for a mobile solution that is painless and easy to deploy and manage. Their IT folks will thank you.

  • http://www.blackphoebe.com/msjen Ms. Jen

    How fabulous! I love that the pastor will answer the questions texted to him/her at the end, as that really breaks down the barrier between audience and pastor.

  • http://www.blackphoebe.com/msjen Ms. Jen

    How fabulous! I love that the pastor will answer the questions texted to him/her at the end, as that really breaks down the barrier between audience and pastor.

  • http://mommyloftin.blogspot.com/ Corrie Loftin

    That’s a really good idea and right up your alley. I wasn’t following your blog so I am adding it to my list now :)

  • http://mommyloftin.blogspot.com Corrie Loftin

    That’s a really good idea and right up your alley. I wasn’t following your blog so I am adding it to my list now :)

  • Seth Austin

    I will say your comment made me chuckle a bit. I designed the ad, and chose the 6680 for the promo because it was 1) an easy and free stock photo and 2) because it very closely resembled, as you correctly pointed out, the 6682, which is the phone I’ve used and loved for the last 2 years (I even unlocked and and carried it over to t-mobile). As far as phones go, it can take a beating! Thanks for your post!

  • Seth Austin

    I will say your comment made me chuckle a bit. I designed the ad, and chose the 6680 for the promo because it was 1) an easy and free stock photo and 2) because it very closely resembled, as you correctly pointed out, the 6682, which is the phone I’ve used and loved for the last 2 years (I even unlocked and and carried it over to t-mobile). As far as phones go, it can take a beating! Thanks for your post!