Last night we made our first foray into texting during worship. We had a panel discussion answering questions that focused on how faith impacts life as a college student. I thought the questions were very good and the panel did an excellent job dealing with them. We did have a few issues in the moderation process, which is something we'll have to improve in the future. There were several questions that we didn't get to because they didn't show up in the moderation tool until after the panel was completed.
We used the services of Jarbyco to setup the the text-to-screen and moderation interfaces. They did a great job and made handling text messages really easy. A team in the back was able to filter questions and get them posted to the screens. I was able to read all the approved questions off my iPhone. The huge screen behind the panel scrolled through questions as they were being answered.
I'm looking into whether or not doing this on a regular basis is going to work. I try to keep the message time during worship on campus to about 18 minutes. I'm pondering trimming messages to 15 minutes and then spending three minutes answering questions every week. The Jarbyco tool will also let us do polls, voting, and send outbound text reminders/updates.
Last year we did a panel about romantic relationships where we had students step up to a mic to ask questions. I feel like the quality of the questions were much better this fall given the anonymity provided by texting (just the question showed up on screen). Working with college students I've become incredibly aware of how important texting is to effective ministry. I'm very excited to see how the use of this technology will unfold and how it will help us to be better communicators of the Gospel.