Sue George • Director of Communications & Technology

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One of the things I enjoy most in my role as Derry’s Director of Communications and Technology is checking out new ways to keep all of us informed and connected — especially during a pandemic year when in-person gatherings have been few and far between. 

Last year Derry Church plunged headlong into video and it paid off: we’ve doubled the number of subscribers to our YouTube channel from 223 a year ago to 450 today. While YouTube is great for getting the church’s worship services, adult education classes, cooking videos, sermons and Sunday music previews in front of a large audience, it’s not so great for two-way conversations that spark relationships and community. So last year the Communications & Technology Committee (CTC) began exploring ways we could connect through the use of text messaging. 

CTC member Lori Klucker discovered these facts about texting:

  • 90% of text messages are opened in the first three minutes after receipt
  • 94% of text messages are read, compared to read rates of 29% on Twitter, 21% on email, and 12% on Facebook
  • Average response rate to a text message is 90 seconds vs 90 minutes for email
  • 7 out of 10 churchgoers use text messaging

The CTC agreed the time was right to try out a texting service built especially for churches, so last month I set up an account and dropped a blurb into the eNews just to see if anyone would sign up. I’m thrilled that 60 Derry friends have already signed up to try it out! Right now I’m texting Sunday morning reminders, and I envision that we will be growing the service to text two or three times a week with a variety of updates of interest to our members. Texting also gives us another platform to begin conversations and give users a quick and easy way to ask questions and even share prayer concerns.

If this sounds good to you, click here, scan the QR code at the top of the article, or text Derry to 717-820-9060 to start receiving general Derry Church reminders and updates. 

If you text Tech to 717-820-9060 you’ll sign up for tech news and reminders to join the Monday afternoon tech time group on Zoom. 

To discontinue either service, text STOP to 717-820-9060 automatically opt out.

In coming months, we’ll be expanding the service to visitors and new Derry friends who would like to know more about all that Derry Church has to offer. One of the cool features we plan to test is an option to “plan your visit” to Derry Church: visitors will be able to use the texting platform to make arrangements to attend in person.

If you’re not a person who texts, rest assured you can always keep up with Derry Church news by reading the weekly Thursday email and by checking the church website. Texting is great for many people, but it’s not for everyone.

While texting can’t solve every problem or answer every question, we hope it shows that Derry Church is a place that seeks to inform, connect, and engage with our community of faith.