Google Voice is an incredible, free tool that Google has created. One of my favorite features that is built into Google Voice is text messaging; once you have a google voice number set up you can use it for text messaging. We have utilized this in our youth ministry as a great tool for sending out mass text messages. Google Voice does not have mass texting as a built in feature, but there are some work arounds that can let you capitalize on this possibility. As we've been using Google Voice, I've had a few ideas of ways that we can make use of this technology for our student ministry.
4 Ways To Utilize Google Voice:
Do you have announcements or reminders that you want to send out to a large group of students? Text messaging can be a great way to do that. Of course, students should have to sign up so you aren't just spamming their phone's inbox, but texting could be a great way to get the word out about an upcoming event or program.
2. Prayer Requests
If you set up Google Voice to work with your e-mail, any text message that is sent to your Google Voice number will also be e-mailed to you. Share this number with the youth group and let them know that if anyone has prayer requests to text them in and you will be praying for them. It's an easy way for students to be asking for prayer and for you to potentially share those requests with other people.
3. Bible Reading Campaign
We are currently in the middle of utilizing Google Voice for this. We had students sign up if they wanted to be reminded daily of a Bible reading that as a ministry we are going to be doing. Each day around 3:00pm a mass text is sent out to anyone who has signed up and gives them a section of scripture to read and something to think about.
4. A place to save prank calls
Inevitably part of youth ministry is prank calls. If your kids don't know your actual phone number, you could easily give them this one instead and have their messages saved in the Google Voice database. Plus if Google Voice is saving it, you're not waking up in the middle of the night to hear it.