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Texting Website

We’re in the midst of developing a product that will send TXT / SMS / EMAIL messages to high school and college students participating in groups such as FCA, Campus Crusade for Christ, and many others. The vision behind this is to equip and empower today’s youth toward a greater appreciation of their Father’s love for them and their innate value in Him. To do that, we are reaching out through a medium very popular in their world, TXT messaging, to keep God’s word in the forefront of their hearts, and to build a sense of community by a shared journey through life.

This concept is very closely tied to my experience with the Daily Audio Bible and A Walk Through The Word. Both of these ministries seek to share the Word of God, build community, and encourage a life of reflection and growth. I have not found them to hit home as well with the lifestyle of the average teenager, though… at least not in my world. This new site we are building seeks to fill some of that gap. Each day, a subscribed teen will receive:

  • A verse / thought / encouragement of the day sent to them early in the morning (as they prepare for school or start their day)
  • A list of the references to read for that day that will walk them through the Bible in a year (cooresponding to the DAB and WTTW)
  • Announcements or messages from those sponsoring or leading their high school group.
  • General announcements from the site, as needed.

Delivery will be accomplished via email or txt message, using a proprietary distribution system we are in the process of developing. The system allows us to send text messages at a very minimal cost, and also allows us to process replies TO those text messages, creating a “conversation” around each post sent out.

I want to blog the journey this site is taking. Eventually, I’ll probably have a blog feed on the site itself, but we’re not there yet… so WordPress will have to do. This is a bit of a catch-up list, but here’s about where we are now:

  • Initial domain registered and bound to a site on a internet facing server. Other domains may be purchased later, even for specific groups.
  • Proprietery distribution system developed that sends texts and emails so subscribed users using a unique “from” address so that replies can be processed and tied to the conversation.
  • Incoming TXT and Email reply system to place comments on the posts.
  • Signup form / Edit account form
  • RSS Feed reader to produce automated feeds. There will be additional ways to produce these feeds in the future, including emailed posts, direct data entry, and txt messaging.
  • Some basic reports have been built.
  • Each “school” or organization can subscribe to a number of automated public feeds as well as feeds specifically built for their school and managed by their sponsors or leaders.

This is a spec project for us. We’re building it for a local FCA to start and test with, but plan to roll it out locally through specific organizations and nationwide soon after that. It will be easy and affordable to sign up, and as the system grows we will continue to add features to it as time and income permits.

That’s enough for now… here is a little youtube video we’ve made up to model the idea to a few people we’ve had the chance to share it with. I have a version with paper plates and construction paper people that we use for in-person visits. (very low budget at the moment) 🙂

If you’d like to help us build this site, we’d love your help – time, money, promotion… we’re not ready to go public just yet, but we’re getting close to accomplishing the key goals to roll out our “official” beta version of the product, which will probably include some discounted / free trial periods and help us start spreading via word of mouth.

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