Volume 2, Issue 2 - February 1, 2016
A NEW Text Messaging System for Crossroads Church
We are going to test drive this new form of communication, an app/website called GroupMe, in hopes of solving four issues:
- It will include folks that prefer not to use Facebook or other social media venues. Several of our folks are not fond of social media and shouldn't be forced to use it in order to stay connected to their "C2 Family".
- A few of our folks are not able to receive SMS text messages thru our Elexio Texting System (the issue seems to be with specific carriers and characters used in text messages); subsequently, people sometimes get left out of important communication.
- We can post images to the Group when necessary and people can post and reply to messages to the Group (two-way communication), making it much more intuitive and interactive than receiving messages by SMS text message. Please use extreme caution when doing so (see below for rules of GroupMe etiquette).
- Using an app such as GroupMe is much less intrusive. If you use the MUTE feature within the app, It doesn't blow up your phone's SMS text notifications when you are at work, school or in meetings where you cannot be interrupted.
This is an absolutely incredible tool to help the church feel more like a COMMUNITY, providing ease of access and ability for the leadership to communicate to the entire church from virtually anywhere.
Many in our church already use GroupMe as a way of group communication (Deacons, Staff and The Journey), so feel free to ask me or any of our teens, Deacons or Staff if you have any questions. We would be more than happy to walk you thru getting set up and "live". Once we've got the church family using the app and familiar with it, our Deacons and ministry teams will probably create a GroupMe for their own group as well.
Welcome to C2's NEW Communication System...GroupME
You are going to receive (or have already received) an invitation from me by text to join our church's NEW GroupMe - "C2 Family". It’s how we communicate short messages, alerts, reminders, updates and requests to the entire church family.
If you have a Smartphone, it is BEST if you download the GroupMe app rather than receive them by SMS text message. From the app, you can see pictures that are sent, send and receive Direct Messages from the other members of the church family, and MUTE notifications while you are at work, school or in meetings. It's much less INTRUSIVE than an SMS text notification as well as far more intuitive, interactive and simpler to understand the flow of conversation.
You can download the app on any and all of your mobile devices and/or use it in your web browser. I actually use both quite frequently for many different groups that I'm a part of.
We will be eliminating our church's closed Facebook Group (we will still keep our public Facebook Page), and only force MAJOR ALERTS thru the Elexio Texting System...everything else will come thru "C2 Family".
IMPORTANT: If you do not have a Smartphone or a data plan on your phone and you choose not to download and use the GroupMe app, in order to continue to receive the messages via SMS text message, you MUST REPLY to one of the first 5 messages that you receive, or GroupMe will stop sending you the messages. If you were added to GroupMe but did not download the app (because you don't have a Smartphone) and are not receiving messages by SMS, it is because when you were added, you did not post or reply to the first 5 messages sent. Please go back to one of the messages you received from the C2 Family GroupMe and reply with "ADD" and you should start receiving messages again.
Simplest Steps for Getting Connected to "C2 Family" GroupMe
- Go to your App Store on your Smartphone and download the app "GroupMe". The app is found in the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store and Windows Store.
- When you download the app on your Smartphone, you can use your Facebook or Microsoft profile to Register/Sign Up as a user on GroupMe OR you can create a GroupMe login profile using your email address or phone number...either way. It works the same way.
- After the app is installed and you are logged in, go to the invite text that I sent to you and click the link to join the group OR you can click this link right here: https://groupme.com/join_group/19338506/f256rf
- That should have you registered and logged in and you should see the GroupMe "C2 Family" on your screen. If you click the group, you will see the conversation thread that has occurred so far.
Rules of Etiquette, When Sending a Message Using "C2 Family"
- IMPORTANT: Within the GroupMe app, "C2 Family" can be muted and umuted, by you, at will. This means that you mute the Group, you will not get a notification of new messages, BUT you can still view all of the new messages when you open the app. This is very helpful while you are at work, in a meeting, etc...just MUTE the notifications. When you would like to hear a notification of posts to the Group, simply "unmute" the Group.
- "C2 Family" is for communicating alerts, reminders, updates and requests to the entire church family (over 100 people and counting) at this time. Every time you post something to "C2 Family", it is received by every person in "C2 Family". Please be sensitive to others' family time, work, school and sleep schedules.
- Do not use "C2 Family" to communicate to/with an individual in the church. If you and the person you'd like to communicate with are using the app, you can Direct Message one another. See a current user for help with how to do this. Otherwise, please text or phone them individually.
- Do not use "C2 Family" to carry on a conversation with the church or someone in the church. It is not a place to post ideas, preach, teach, make suggestions, register complaints, etc. It is a place for us to communicate alerts, reminders, updates and prayer requests to the entire body and for PERTINENT questions to be asked that benefit the entire body. This might be possible if your LIFEgroups or Deacons set up a GroupMe.
- Within the app, there is a heart icon next to every post. If you want to communicate that you have read a post, agree with a post, are praying for a post, etc., please click the heart icon to indicate that you have read it or agree with it. Do not post comments of agreement, affirmation, etc. REMEMBER: every comment/post goes to every person in the church, and some receive them as SMS text messages...this is VERY INTRUSIVE if we are not respectful of that.
- If these rules of etiquette are not followed, then members of the church turn off C2 Family or leave the Group and then they miss out on important information sent out by our leadership. Do not let this happen.
- Offenders will be warned privately and if warning is not heeded, they will be removed from "C2 Family".
- Exception: one thing for you to be aware of. If for some reason a new person is manually added (they do not join thru a the link), if they choose not to download the app or cannot (they do not have a Smartphone), GroupMe does require that they reply to one of the first five messages that they receive or they will stop receiving messages. Above, we have instructed that people reply with "ADD". If you see a person reply to a message that breaks the rules of etiquette, this could be the reason, but it will happen very seldom.
- Please show a little grace as people learn how to use the app. Remember we have middle schoolers and maybe even some elementary students all the way up to senior saints (and every other "techie challenged" person in between) who will be navigating thru this app for the first time as part of our church body.