LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Text Your Question to the Pastor

Text  This weekend we called "Ask Anything" and tried something new. We had no message planned for the weekend. At the beginning of the service, we displayed a 5-digit number on the screen where you could text any question you wanted to ask.

Here's how it worked...

As people walked in before the service, they saw questions being scrolled on the screen that were coming in instantly. For the first service, we staged these with sample questions, but after a few minutes we used only questions submitted by the people in the room. We displayed these as quickly as we could click "approve" on a moderator's screen.

As the service began, Mark Beeson gave instructions on how the service would play out. No message. Only answers to your questions.

After some singing, the answers began. I sat behind a computer selecting three questions at a time that we would scroll on the screen when Mark was ready. The audience would then "vote" by clapping on which question they wanted Mark to answer. (The picture above shows the moderator's screen, a preview monitor, and then the large screen on stage for the audience).

We would "freeze" the display on the question that Mark chose. While he was answering, I would select the next three questions to be voted on, and we would continue the cycle.

This worked spectacularly. Everyone I talked to said, "We have to do this again!"

I think there are some important facets to think about if you decide to do this...

  1. Make sure your speaker is good at improvising and thinking quickly. If not, you will make him/her look bad and you won't deliver value to your congregation.

  2. The technology must work. We used Jarbyco and it was flawless. We were even on the phone with them during the service making some minor tweaks to timing, and they were incredibly helpful.

A good moderator is key...

  • They have to be able to "feel" when humor will be helpful and when it won't. 
  • They have to know the speaker really well so they don't put him/her in a corner or negative situation.
  • Questions that are too complex or which will take more than a few minutes to address should be discarded.

The weekend went great for us. We will definitely do something like this again.

More resources:

  • See Daryl's run-down of how the technology worked here and here.
  • Visit Jarbyco.
  • Watch all 4 weekend services here to see the types of questions asked.