Text Message Poll for Gatherings and Buzz

We all know that many of our teens are cell phone & text messaging addicts. It has become their main means of communications. So why not tap into that habit and use it for making your youth gathering times live or during the week interactive.

I’ve been using a text service called Poll Everywhere and it is great. You can do the free version or pay for different levels of account functions (usually a size of respondents). I used the personal pay account option.

Here is a bit of our strategy for using Txt Polling in our Youth Minstry

We’d put out a poll at the beginning of the week that go promoted through the emails, twitter, facebook accounts we had. I’d even txt that there was a new poll. The poll would be posted on the website and would have something to do with the upcoming lesson or series. We would also do some simple ones, “Who thinks it is going to rain this week? “I Do” “I Don’t” “50% Chance of Either.”

The idea was to get them engage in what what happening during the week. Didn’t have to be a huge ordeal just something to get a response. Some of the simple questions we put together.

We would then have a gathering time poll that youth could vote on right before services or lessons. These were the most popular times for the youth to vote. We would use those polls for some reflection of our opinion or understanding on matters of God / Theology / History / Culture.

The polls are capable of updating instantly so teens got a huge kick out of seeing the numbers move. Some would try and vote more than once to make numbers move (which you’d have to decide if you care that much to call it a problem).

Those were just the polls though.

With the paid account options you can plug in automatic responses. So if we had an event we wanted to make sure youth knew about, maybe the weekly announcements, we put them in as an auto-responder. So as a teen votes via txt, they get a message back, “God Love You & So do We! So glad you are here! Come back for Evening Service at 7!”

I love to have an extra way to get some message to kids. Love it!

A few cons in this.. If you do the questions where teens can write their own answers, you open your poll up to get whatever they feel inclined to write.. Not always a good thing. So we usually stuck with a multiple choice poll.

Our teens used the open answered polls to take ‘requests’ on the audio system in the youth room. That seemed reasonably creative to me.

Check it out, try it out! shalom -gavin