Using e-mail distribution for prayer needs

Discussion in 'Computers & Website Forum' started by allenm, Jul 24, 2008.

?

How do you "alert" prayer needs within your church?

  1. Phone call chain

    1 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. E-mail from personal distribution (Outlook address book)

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  3. We use a web or server e-mail maintenance tool

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Go to member's houses for a visit

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. We don't broadcast prayer needs

    1 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. allenm

    allenm
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    I wanted to get a "feel" for what the majority of people are using for e-mail notification of prayer needs.

    We have one or two individuals that typically *broadcast* e-mail prayer alerts from their personal computers. They've taken the responsibility of being the go-to person to send out to the group.

    I'm an IT engineer by trade so I've seen the flaws with this process for some time. I'm not sure the best solution though.

    My hope is to hear replies with how you use technology to notify of prayer concerns. Maybe I can follow your example to make our process better.

    I've added a lot more detail below, just for support information.

    I would love to hear how you use technology within your church.

    Thanks

    -Allen

    --------------------------------------------
    Here are the flaws I see with the current system:
    • The point-person is the weakest link. If they go on vacation, for example, there are no e-mail notifications.
    • The notification person uses Outlook to maintain the distribution list. For a small group, that's fine but we are growing to the point of needing to notify people throughout the church.
    • There are many *stale* e-mails on the distribution of people that have moved away or dropped that e-mail account
    • If someone wants to broadcast a message themselves, like me, they have to open a previous message that was sent by the point-person and do a REPLY ALL. How do I know if that list is accurate?

    For a previous job I used an e-mail marketing tool called Constant Contact. It was very affective for "self service" e-mail maintenance. Users could sign in and update their e-mail or subscribe/unsubscribe. I was looking for a free, or open source, version of that but could not find one.

    I've thought of installing blogs, forums, or CMS tools but that seems to be overkill and might be intimidating for users.
    I wanted to keep it simple.

    An idea I have for maintenance:
    Like Constant Contact, I was working on a PHP tool that would allow church members to sign in and maintain their own e-mail address and maybe offer choices for different subscriptions (Prayer chain, building needs, mission needs, etc). I have had no time to work on it so the project does not progress.

    I guess the perfect solution for us would be an open source tool that I can install on our website (Linux hosted) that allows users to self-service their own e-mail and subscriptions.
    When e-mail is sent to the group, a tag line would have a note saying "click here to edit your subscriptions".

    Any suggestions =)
     
    #1 allenm, Jul 24, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2008
  2. allenm

    allenm
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    No reply :(

    So, either no one cared for the topic, or no one had any input.. or you just don't like me :tear:
     
  3. exscentric

    exscentric
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    So what are you hear for to gain attention, love, fellowship? You surely expect a lot on a Christian board! :laugh:

    It is generally a little slow in here. The church we attend is very small and a phone call or two does the trick - some don't have computers, in fact one that doesn't feels everyone with a computer is watching pornography :laugh:
     
  4. allenm

    allenm
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    Sorry. Not trying to be pushy. :eek:

    I guess I was expecting some form of comment. I also assume that a lot more people are using e-mail to keep in touch for prayerful needs.

    I'll be more patient.

    Do you have a suggestion of a better place to put this question? I seriously would like to know what is common practice for modern churches regarding alerting for prayerful needs.

    Thanks for replying.

    -Allen
     
  5. exscentric

    exscentric
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    If you don't get some results soon try it in the general area, more people frequent it by far I think.

    From the past I think some only drop in here once a week or so.

    There is Christian Computing magazine that does articles on that sort of stuff. You might snoop their site, I don't know if they have their back issues cataloged or not. http://www.ccmag.com/
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    None of the above. I use online texting to mobile phones of our church folks only.
     
  7. allenm

    allenm
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    Wow. I didn't think about texting..
    Do you have a pre-defined distribution list you send to? How do you get the SMS text message out to a group of people?

    Thanks for the reply.

    -Allen
     
  8. allenm

    allenm
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    exscentric,

    Thanks for the reply. I went to Christian Computing and signed up for their newsletter.

    -Allen
     
  9. rdwhite

    rdwhite
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    We are currently using a telephone chain, but it is certainly flawed. We recently activated a page with "mychurch.org" that I hope will facilitate prayer requests more effectively. It also gives us an events calendar and members can upload pics of church events.
     
  10. allenm

    allenm
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    I've been very surprised to find a lot of our 20-50yr old's that have FaceBook accounts. I have linked with about 10 members of the church.

    I've also created a MyChurch.org account and a few people have joined it.

    This is all on top our existing website.

    I just spent a couple hours installing phpList. It will help with the e-mailing but it's not 100% what I was looking for. phpList is for an administrator to broadcast an e-mail - great for marketing - but not good for allowing users to post e-mail to the rest of the group.
     
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    My phone service allows me 250 free texts a month when I send them online. In my address book there I simply have a group called 'Church.'

    Now of course that only works when a church is small, and I don't know if any US phone servers even have that option.

    It does work for us here though.
     

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