In a few weeks were holding 7 Christmas Eve services. Due to platform designs, media we’re displaying on the screens and other issues, we’re not able to page parents the way we normally do, which is flashing their unique alpha-numeric code on the top or bottom of the main screen. The programing team has asked that we look into using text messaging on cell phones as an option and I said,”absolutely!” Although there could be the 1 or 2 parents who don’t have a cell phone, but I guess I’m banking on that not being an issue. Who doesn’t have a cell phone now days.

This brings up a good point though. There are some Sunday’s where because of special media or a unique set, our paging system didn’t work. We need a permanent fix. One is to have those LED signs installed where I can send pages from the kids building to display independently of the production team. The other option would be to just send text messages through cell phones.

Here’s what I’m thinking of the LED sign. It will cost two to four thousand dollars total to purchase and install. It will be very visible and parents on’t miss it. I also like that the control of displaying the page is in the hands of my staff. However, if that parent is in a meeting or volunteering, the LED doesn’t help.

When it comes to sending texts to cell phones, it costs virtually nothing and is probably the least distracting of all options. The downside is that it will require training parents to keep their cell phone available where they’ll feel the vibrate if we need to get a hold of them. The other negative is that there could be the occasional family that doesn’t have a cell with them.

So, what do you think? Has anyone out there gone to a full cell texting plan for paging parents? If so, do you use a service to text the parents or do you just use your own phone?

I’m really leaning toward the texting. We’ll need to go through and make sure we have accurate cell phone numbers of all our parents. Also, we’ll need to “train” our parents to keep their phones accessible. I figure that worst case scenario, we could have 4-6 pagers on hand (we could get a used system off ebay or something) for the handful of families that don’t have cell phones. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so any ideas would be helpful.