Text Messaging for Service Q&A HELP!!!
I am the person responsible for putting together all the aspects of service production at our church (which sounds way more complicated than it is because we don't have that much production!)
Anyways, we are launching a second service in a few weeks, which we anticipate will be a bit more laid back and aimed at serving a nearby college campus which is providing an increasing number of service attenders. We want to start doing a Q&A at the end of the sermons, but I need some input and ideas on the best/easiest/cheapest way to pull this off. Basically we want to do something similar to what Mark Driscoll has done at Mars Hill in Seattle.
Our current setup for video is as follows:
One Macbook running Kenote presentation of slides with lyrics, scripture, announcements, etc.
That Macbook is connected to 2 ceiling mounted projectors through a signal booster/splitter, which project on two screens up front on either side of the stage.
Any ideas and thoughts are greatly appreciated. If anyone needs clarification on what we're trying to do, please ask, I will be on here FREQUENTLY between now and Sept. 21st (when we launch the second service)!!
Thanks brothers and sisters.
Could you elaborate on what it is exactly you want to do with text messaging? Have them onscreen? Go to the pastor? Go to the tech person?
Yeah, sorry. We want people in the congregation to be able to text in questions regarding the sermon during the sermon. Then, compile those questions, select a few, and put them up on the screens. The pastor then reads one, answers, etc. until we have moved through however many questions seems appropriate for the subject, time, etc.
The only thing we are unsure of at present is where this Q&A session will take place in the service. Right now, we go straight from sermon into communion every week. So it would most likely be either after communion, or somewhere in the last few songs, or immediately before the benediction and dismissal. Where has not been decided yet mostly because that all depends on how fast we can get questions in and integrated into the presentation.
Hope that clarity helps!
Have someone at the computer be the recipient of all the texts. That person can then read all of them and decide which ones to add to keynote for the pastor to respond to.
I'm really hoping there are some other people out there who do this style of Q&A and have a few thoughts on things they've learned that help make the whole process run smoothly. The I only know of two churches who do this, one being Mars Hill in Seattle. Our pastor spoke with their tech director today, and their system is definitely out of our price range (year old church just starting a second service with three people on staff, two added in the last two months).
Or maybe this just isn't something alot of churches are doing. If that is the case, what are everyones' thoughts on best ways to approach this? Such that it accomplishes the main goal of helping people engage with the sermon on an even more personalized level, while not being distracting or simply another neat trick that makes a person think, "oh, this church is cool, what a neat Q&A deal that is so quick in it's response."
I appreciate any and all thoughts, I am sure our church will be working on this long after we implement in hopes that it keeps improving and is always helpful for people personally engaging with The Gospel.
My first thought is: Do you really want people furiously texting during the message, or listening? What am I going to miss while I am typing out a text message? (Maybe the answer to my question!) Who am I going to distract while I do it?
Wouldn't it be better (especially as you are a small church) to simply have people ask questions during the appropriate time? The questions on the screen may be nice eye candy, but is it really necessary to accomplish what you want to do.
It's one thing if you have several thousand people in an auditorium, where hand-raising can get a little difficult to manage. But with a smaller group, a hundred or two, maybe just a "conversation" with the pastor is better.
Or possibly even hand out small slips of paper as people walk in, maybe even the previous week. Have them drop their questions in the offering. Take a week to pick out the best ones.
If you really want to go the text route, I'd just have a number available in your program (bulletin) and tell people to text their questions in at a specific time during the gathering. I would do it with a song playing in the background. Maybe carve out 60 to 90 seconds for people to text in their questions to that number. Then I'd have an associate pastor or leader pick out the top 5 and have them quickly transfered to keynote.
Have a template already set up so that the questions can be typed in really quickly. I'd also think about creating an image for the computer's "desktop" or wallpaper so that if I had to exit the slideshow to add the questions in it would be relevant to the message still. Or consider using ProPresenter if you have it. You can edit stuff on the fly. If not, I'd definitely use a series image for desktop.
Google Westwinds Church in Michigan and talk to John Voelz.
Ahh finally a good use for Twitter..hahahaha.
We have done something similar in the past and are doing a series that is actually generated entirely by questions.
In your situation you'll need someone with a good interview or journalism background to sort quickly through the questions and come up with ones that are least one person specific and have the broadest application to your worshipers (ex. "I've been dating 14 girls at the same time, one of them being a poodle...so what do i do with the sexual integrity passage you preached on tonight?" doesn't carry a lot of cross-congregational need.) I wouldn't let them be randomly asked. There is nothing worth than a Q&A time with questions that are so context specific and non-transferable that everyone has to sit and listen to "random answer."
Check out Mobivity. For $99 you get 1,000 texts without all the hastle of owning your own CSC.
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