I have been in youth ministry for nearly 20 years so I have tried all sorts of communication efforts. I can remember at my first job calling the entire youth list to see if they were going to an event we were holding. Of course since then we have moved through letters, email, texts, apps and all sort for things trying to find the best way to keep everyone informed.
Recently I have been on a renewed quest to find the best way to reach out to my whole group. I tried group messages, an app called group text, Group Me, and even lists on gmail.
What found that I like is an app and service called Remind. Remind is an app and website that is designed for schools, but can be used by churches and other organizations as well (when you looked at their terms of service the big thing is that you can’t use it to sell things, but to inform a group it works well.) Here is what I like about it.
- Users can elect to get text messages or messages in the Remind app.
- People can sign up by texting a simple code and message (that message is customizable)
- There is an online interface so that if you want to organize things off of your phone you can use a mouse and keyboard.
- Probably my favorite feature is that when you send a message to the group they can reply back to you, but that reply doesn’t go to everyone.
- You can also choose to send a message that is like a group message where everyone gets everyone else’s replies.
- There is an “event” feature where people who are attending an event can join what is in effect a temporary group and you can send messages just to that group (perfect for youth trips when you quickly need to communicate just to the people on the trip).
- On top of all of this there is an added security feature where the things that are sent are automatically saved so that there is a record of all conversations between you and your students. It would be nice to think you never need that, but our world today needs safeguards such as these.
- There are other cool things such as accepting money, multiple groups, and individual messages that go to members of the class without giving out your actual phone number.
If this sounds like what you have been looking for you can check them out at Remind.com or on your app store of choice.