Should Your Church Have a Discord or Slack Channel?
Whether your church is offering virtual services or taking other strides to grow its online community, chat apps like Slack and Discord have probably come up in discussions about modernizing your church and better connecting its community. If you’re not yet familiar with these apps, both are free and popular applications that can connect small groups, church leaders, and the entire congregation through dedicated chat servers or channels.
Chances are, you don’t need both Slack and Discord, and it’s important that you choose just one app and stick to it. The questions that arise, though, range from which option is best, how you should implement it, and why you’d go through the trouble to begin with. Let’s dive in!
Why Does Your Church Need a Chat App?
Even if your church is planning to restart in-person services, the need for a virtual or online community has long existed and the need is ever-increasing. The fact is, people interact very differently these days, and chat apps go hand-in-hand with having a great website and strong social media presence. Chat apps like Slack and Discord give your church community a new way to interact with one another and build connections with your organization.
Benefits of having a chat app include:
- Keeping communication organized within small groups
- Spreading invites and announcements quickly, with the right people
- Giving the community a safe place to interact and connect
When implemented correctly, a chat app will help your church’s congregation feel closer to each other and to your church, all while giving your church a new, dedicated platform by which you can share fundraising goals, event invitations, volunteer efforts, and more. There’s really no good reason not to implement a chat app.
Choosing the Right Platform
If you spend any amount of time looking for a chat app that fits your church’s needs, you’re likely going to come across Slack and Discord again and again. These two competitors are both old names in the chat and communication space, with Slack primarily targeting organizations and Discord often being seen as a more casual tool.
Both offer similar features, with the ability to create a dedicated “channel” or “server” where you can segment your supporters so they only see the messages most relevant to them. For example, you could create a dedicated channel for your weekend volunteer group so they can get info on future meetings, supplies, and other necessary announcements without cluttering the main channel where all of your congregants can chat.
Other features include:
- The ability to use emojis and react to a message
- The ability to use @ mentions to notify someone of a message
- The ability to direct message just a single user
The primary difference between Slack and Discord is the interface. Either option would be free for your congregants to use, so you just need to consider which one you think has a more appealing interface and best fits your church’s overall branding. You can even survey your congregants, as many of them may already be familiar with Slack through their workplace or using Discord to chat with their friends.
Making the Most of Chat Apps for Church
As with anything your church launches, you can’t simply put your Slack Channel or Discord Server out there and expect people to adopt it. Your church’s chat app needs a lively introduction and a specific, well-planned use case so that congregants want to use it.
1. Understand Its Potential Uses
Before you launch a chat app for your church, sit down with your team and brainstorm over its potential uses for your church. Organizing communication for small groups is definitely one of the most popular applications for a chat tool, but it’s far from the only way you can use one.
You can also set up a main channel for all of your congregants to connect casually, keeping in mind the risks of doing so if you have an especially large congregation (the primary risk being all those notifications and messages may annoy members!). Ideally, you’ll brainstorm a few uses for the chat app and set up dedicated groups for them, such as one for your adult bible study group, one for volunteers, and so on.
Planning how your church will use the chat app is essential. Without this planning, you’ll likely end up throwing everyone into one or two groups, ultimately leading to people muting notifications due to too many messages or leaving altogether because there’s so much information in one place, most of which likely isn’t relevant to everyone. As such, planning and using sub-groups is essential.
2. Look Past Text Chat
Both Slack and Discord enable text chat and direct messaging, but you can also use these handy communication tools for video conferencing. This is a tool that both applications offer, and there’s a good chance you can find a use for it if you plan out the implementation. For instance, you might use it to host a weekly bible study prompt and discussion or to otherwise engage congregants before/after the weekly service.
These apps also integrate with thousands of other apps, which can come in handy for synchronizing your digital communications and helping your community stay connected, without bombarding them with redundant messaging and alerts. Using these integrations in your favor let you track metrics relating to donor engagement and improve donor engagement through targeted campaigns.
3. Set a Good Example
Chat apps are definitely not something you can set up and forget about. Church leaders should be monitoring the chats and working hard to prompt meaningful, engaging discussions. They should also be stewards of use by responding to users and ensuring no question or message goes ignored. Without this effort, your chat app will probably end up either abandoned entirely or only utilized by a very small segment of your supporters.
Engage Your Congregation and Get Them Talking
Do you find discussing donations tough? Do you want to better engage congregants, but don’t know where to start? DonorWERX can help. Schedule a free consultation today and learn how you can sustainably increase donations and engagement.