Scott Greening has discovered a great ministry resource, MailChimp. Read below how the Greenings have been able to use it effectively in their church-planting ministry.

Missionaries and churches are privileged to live in a day when communication is made easy. However, even modern conveniences have their limits. My wife and I have spent the better part of two years traveling from church to church presenting our church-planting ministry. God in His goodness has seen fit to raise up a team of over 300 people who have committed to pray for us and our ministry. But this blessing presents a unique challenge. My e-mail server allows me to send only 150 e-mails an hour, so sending an e-mail to our prayer team means waiting three hours for all the e-mails to cycle through the server. I realize this dilemma would be laughable to a missionary attempting to communicate with prayer supporters even a few decades ago. Missionaries of previous generations communicated by mail (the real kind that shows up at your house occasionally). Nonetheless, my problem remained.

How could I solve the problem of a three-hour status bar? I realized that I needed to investigate bulk e-mail providers. These companies facilitate e-mail marketing for businesses and organizations. They also are beginning to be used more and more by Christian ministries such as Bible colleges and churches. After investigating several options (constantcontact.com, easycontact.com, and iContact.com to name a few) I settled on www.mailchimp.com. MailChimp is free to any organization that has less than 500 people on its mailing list and that sends less than 3,000 e-mails to that list per month. These limits allow my wife and me to send one prayer letter a week with plenty of room to spare.

Besides alleviating the stress of watching my e-mail self-implode during every prayer letter, MailChimp provides other helpful benefits:

  1. Mailing list management: No more flood of bounce-back e-mails from nonvalid e-mail addresses. MailChimp automatically removes bad e-mail addresses from your mailing list. It also provides several different ways to allow people to subscribe to your mailing list—code to embed a box on your website allowing people to enroll, and a permanent link to a webpage dedicated to enrolling people to your mailing list.
  2. Statistics: MailChimp gives you detailed information on the effectiveness of your e-mail. MailChimp will let you know what time of day people opened your e-mail, what percentage of people opened your e-mail, and what percentage clicked on links in your e-mail. Be prepared for some humble pie. Our current best open rate is 31 percent.
  3. Social networking integration: Sending out an e-mail? MailChimp will help you let people know it’s on the way via Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.
  4. Video integration: With an easy to understand tag system, MailChimp allows you to easily put a screenshot of an online video into the body of your html e-mail. The screenshot acts as a link, directing people to view the video online.
  5. Multiple mailing lists: Need to send different e-mails to different lists of people? MailChimp allows you to upload different lists to its site. You can also choose smaller segments of lists and mail a specialized e-mail to only part of a given list.

Churches and missionaries can increase their communication effectiveness by taking advantage of bulk e-mail services. If you or your church uses e-mail to communicate with your ministry constituency, using an e-mail service such as MailChimp will save you time and energy. Let me know if you have questions, and feel free to subscribe to our prayer letter by visiting www.scottandbrooke.infomailchimp-logo.