In my last post I shared about how we changed the way we ran our most recent stewardship campaign at Park. We didn’t do much of the prescribed hubbub that surrounds most church stewardship campaigns. Read more about that here.
One of the unique things we incorporated into this campaign was texting.
We’ve been using texting at Park for over two years now, both in our weekend services as well as a means to communicate important announcements and events.
During the campaign we used texting in some new ways that helped extend our message, engage our audience, and communicate information about the campaign.
Opt-in Text Group
At the beginning of the campaign we set up an opt in group for people to get text reminders throughout the sermon series.
During the week we texted questions for them to consider, highlighted what was coming up, and texted various verses and quotes on generosity and giving. It was also a great way to communicate announcements related to the campaign.
We announced the opt in group the first week of the [IN]VEST campaign and had over 950 people [that’s over ½ of our church] sign up to receive them.
It was a huge success and something we’ll consider repeating for future series as way to help people continue the conversation around our messages.
We’ve done text polls in service before, but for this series specifically, we wanted to ask some tough questions and challenge people’s understanding and motivation for giving.
There’s two distinct benefits to doing text polls in service:
1 – They create a shared experience. We all come into church with different experiences, thoughts, and ideas. Many people just spectate and never engage in the service. Something as simple asking people a question invites them to participate, and in doing so, see that there are other people in the room who feel the same way they do.
One of the questions we asked during the series was, “Do you think people outside of the church view the church as being generous?”
2 – They help the speaker gauge the audience.
Texting in service can help bridge the gap between the speaker in the audience. And, it can help the speaker know where the audience is coming from or their understanding of a particular topic. In the few times we’ve done text polling the audience’s response has helped refine our pastor’s message and made the content more applicable to people’s experiences.
One question we asked toward the end of the campaign was what people’s primary motivation for giving was. It was a great way for our teaching pastors to see how our church viewed the topic of giving.
Commitments via Text
We printed about 3,000 paper commitment cards for people to fill out indicating how they’d like to commit to our campaign. Less than 100 printed cards were returned.
It took some creativity to make it work, but thanks to our friends at Jarbyco we were able to create a way for people to text in their commitment to the campaign.
Since our campaign was called [IN]VEST, we created the keyword IMIN and asked people to text in if they’d like to respond via texting. Nearly ¾ of our commitments for the campaign came in via texting!
- 455 households are [IN], representing roughly 600 adults – that number reflects the number of new people in our church since we did our last two campaigns!
- People committed to invest in hundreds of lives to help their friends cross the line of faith.
- People committed to invest in nearly 50 different neighborhoods around the city
- Our church has committed to fighting many different injustices, the greatest being those around education, human trafficking, and poverty.
- Our primary financial goal going into the campaign was to pay down 2 debts totaling $2 million.
- Thanks to those who continued to fulfill their pledges from previous campaigns and the new [IN] pledges we have enough commitments to meet our goal of paying off the 2 notes totaling $2 million!
This was by no means a perfect campaign. There are probably many things we could have done differently, but it worked.
We didn’t follow a prescribed path, but charted our own course that was reflective of our congregation’s thoughts and experiences around a tough subject.
We focused more on the holistic aspect of stewardship instead of zeroing in on money. As a result, people are focusing on creative ways they can invest, make a difference in their neighborhoods, and in the lives of their friends.
More than anything else, we recognized there were many new faces in our audience and used the campaign as an opportunity to share our vision, tell our story, and invite them to invest in our future.