After this article was written, TextMarks updated their interface. In order for this tutorial to make sense to you and utilize incoming messages, the good folks at TextMarks say you just need to go to http://lite.textmarks.com.
There are some pretty expensive solutions out there that allow you to display texts during gatherings. I’ve priced and used several of them.
If you like to do things on the cheap, while maintaining quality, I’ve found an alternative that works beautifully.
We used this method recently at The Chapel during a worship and communion service. We asked folks to text “How have you experienced God’s goodness?” It really enhanced the worship service and provided a new dimension.
Here’s the high-level flow…
- Decide on what you want to display during the gathering — comments, questions, response to a general question, etc.
- You provide a number [and keyword] for folks to text to, and display and promote it at the start of the gathering.
- Folks text in, and they are held in queue.
- A moderator handles and approves the texts that display on the live screen.
- The live screen displays the texts in a rotation.
What You’ll Need
Here’s everything you’ll need to pull this off…
- A textmarks.com account and keyword- free or basic (19.99/month and you can cancel at anytime). This used to be way cheaper. I was surprised to see they recently hiked up the pricing.
- An install of WordPress
- Download and install the WordPress plugin, Flexi Quote Rotator.
- A custom-themed wordpress page to display your quotes on your sidescreen(s) in full-screen mode. This way you strip out all of the nav, footer, and other on-screen elements not needed.
Download the code
I’ll try to cover everything in detail, but I know some things will be left out. Please email me (email@example.com) if you have any specific questions.
- Create an account and a keyword, or “textmark.”
- Click the “manage” tab and click “edit” on the keyword you just created.
- “TextMark Response” tab: Leave blank
- “Configuration” tab:
- Use the default template and configuration
- Edit and add the custom display page in the root of your WordPress site. Example here
Flexi Quote Rotator WP Plugin
Here’s how you make it work when you’re ready for prime time. You’ll probably need to open three browser tabs.
- Ultimately, here’s and example of the page you’ll need to display on the screens during the gathering: http://chapelfamily.org/txt-to-screen/rediscover.php
- Folks will be asked to text in their response: In our case, “txt ‘TheChapel’ [SPACE] your comments to 41411.” Make a slide to display.
- To access and copy the texts, you’ll need to log into your account on textmarks.com.
- Click the “manage” tab.
- Click the “edit” button under your keyword.
- Click the “show” button under “messages”. This will display all txts submitted to that keyword. Copy one at a time.
Paste into WordPress:
Add the txts so they will appear on the live screen.
- Log in to the WP-admin.
- On the left nav, under “Tools,” click “Quotes”
- Add, edit, or delete per this admin screen. Don’t worry about entering a name into the “author” field.
That’s it. Try it out, and let me know what questions you have. I’m happy to help.