Slack is a wonderful means of alternative communication. As bivocationals, it is important to stay connected and communicate with other staff and volunteers at any given time. Slack serves as a hybrid between texting and chat, allowing you to access the same channel of communication from your computer and your phone. This handy app not only allows instantaneous communication, but also facilitates document sharing, searchable conversations and syncs with interfaces like DropBox. Just like Wunderlist (teaser) and Evernote, it is accessible across all of your devices (phone, computer and tablet) and will send push notifications according to your customization to both your phone and e-mail.
Some of handy features available are:
- Searchable channels (up to 10,000 messages in the free version)
- Functional channel hierarchy with multiple top level channels and channels for specific discussions/participants
- Direct private messaging
- Multiple integrations
- Simple drag and drop functionality for attachments
If you are looking for an app to keep you connected and up to date, this is it. Like Evernote, this is a freemium product that is wonderful in it’s free form and has some great upgrades in the paid version, including unlimited storage and searching.
You know the features now, but how can it be practically applied to ministry?
Why…I am so glad you asked! 😉
1) Staff Communication
Maybe you are on staff with a church where others are full time. This can make communication difficult. Mass texts are great, but texts are only as good your most recent messages. E-mail is also handy, but lets face it: when you are bivocational, you are probably juggling at least three different e-mails and things can get lost. By utilizing Slack as a means of communication, all information is centralized and customizable. You can have a general channel that everyone is part of. This is a great place for questions and announcements, such as “We need to tear down the youth room for the fellowship dinner after service”. You can also set up specific channels. Say you have a team working on the 4th of July picnic. Simply create a channel and add the needed people. They will immediately have access to the thread from within their Slack app. If there is a new message, it will be highlighted. Not to mention, the search bar will search all conversations, making it extremely easy to find that message from last month with the cleaning schedule.
2) Volunteer Communication
In the same way you set up Slack for those on your church staff, you can create a channel for your volunteer team as well. Send invites to all of your volunteer team and set up a general channel. This is a great way to get out information, send out sign up sheets or even collaborate on graphic design. Let’s say you have a team within that team that focuses on connecting with church members throughout the week. You can make a channel for that. Or maybe you are a youth pastor and you’ve got a couple who are helping to coordinate a youth lock-in. Set up a channel for that and keep it out of the general flow. The beautiful thing is you can add yourself to every channel and get quick updates on where things are by simply clicking on a channel, even if you are not directly part of the discussion.
I am sure there are plenty of ways Slack can be used, these just happen to be the most basic options. Check it out and see if it doesn’t help streamline your life.
Can you think of any other ways Slack can be a valuable resource? Are you already using it and have some best practices? Share them in the comments below.