I go to a pretty old-school dentist. When I first started going there, I think they had one computer in the entire office and I am not sure I ever saw it doing anything. Not too long ago, my dentist added a new dentist to the practice. She is quite a bit younger and things started changing. I wasn’t even paying attention when they asked me for my cell number and asked if they could text me. Sure enough, a week before my upcoming appointment, I got a text reminder. Not only that, it gave me the option to confirm by text.
Depending on your age and your comfort with technology, you might love or hate that idea. However, for a growing number of people, texting is one of the number one ways to cut through the clutter. I don’t check my answering machine at home as often as I should and I get so many emails that it is pretty easy for something to get lost. For dentists, confirming appointments is important. People are busy and they forget stuff. Empty chairs make it hard to stay in business. Dental appointments are really easy to forget because most people don’t really love going. Missed dental appointments aren’t good for the patient either. I have learned a lot about preventive maintenance in my 43 years.
In some ways, churches face a similar dilemma. Just like dentists we offer something that is good for people, something people know they need and sometimes they just forget to show up. That is not good for the spiritual health of the church and it is not good for the spiritual health of the individual. So, how can we engage people in a way that helps them keep the commitments they know they should keep?
I am not saying that every church or organization should start texting. In fact, please don’t. If everyone starts doing it, people will find ways to start ignorning texts. The point is this: There is a lot of communications technology available and new things coming every day. And a whole lot of it is cheap or free and pretty easy to get started. Are we using all the channels we have available? Are we using the right channels for the right things? Are we getting through to anybody? Are we helping people keep the commitments that will keep them healthy?