Unless you live in in a barn in the backwoods of nowhere USA you probably have seen the hideous square bar codes, known lovingly as QR codes. QR is short for Quick Response codeand the idea is that you can snap an image of the code with your phone and by web voodoo you will be transported to a webpage, article or something [similar].
Some people think QR codes are trendy, and some people think they are a pain, but they do have their place. It would be silly of me to say that every church MUST use QR codes in order to effectively minister to their communities, but perhaps they can help you to be more effective with certain things.
Most of the QR codes out there look absolutely horrible, and that is too bad because they don't have to look bad. Before we begin, let us first raise our right-hand and say the following aloud: "I will only use QR codes for the good of mankind. And when I do use them, they will look good."
Here are some ways that you can use QR codes that you may have never considered. For all of these examples I suggest that you use http://www.unitaglive.com/qrcode because their codes actually look cool.
1. Link to your URL or bulletin
This is pretty obvious, right? Plus with Unitag’s site you can put your logo in the code and make the colors match.
You can also take it a step further by having the codes at the entrances of your church, [where] people can scan them when they come in and it will automatically take them to your weekly bulletin instead of having to give them a hard copy.
2. Use it as a business card
You can have a main one containing all of the church's contact information and you can also create QR codes for each staff member. One quick little scan of the code and it will import your contact info into the user's phonewith no typing required.
3. Instant contact
You can create QR codes that will immediately send a text message or make a phone call. This could be useful for advertisements or even for event sign ups. So you could have a code that once a user scans it they would send you a text message saying that they are going to be attending your barbecue, [for example].
4. Special events
Whenever you have an upcoming event you can generate a code that will automatically add it to [people's] calendars and remind them when the event gets close. You can also have a code for that event that will take [people] to a specific area of your site for more information, or so they can sign up right from their phones.
5. Wireless access
If your church offers WiFi access, you can have a code that will give out the login information and automatically sign them into your network.
6. Ministry information
You can easily create a code for each ministry and display it on any materials that they use or even place it on the door to their room. The code can take the user to a place on the web with info about the ministry or you can load up a text file or contact information for them to access.
Create a QR code that brings them to a video or special area of your website, that tells them about your church or about how to have a life of faith. You can print these on stickers, mugs, shirts, or just about anything else you can think of.
So, QR codes can be used for a lot of different things. In fact, if you use them properly you [may] never have to actually talk to anyone ever again. OK ... maybe that’s a bit extreme. In fact, if you go overboard on them, people will probably just start to tune them out. It’s probably best to just start by using one of the methods and see how well people receive it. If it helps, then keep going for it. If people just stare blankly at it, it may be time to move on.
Judah Thomas is a blogger, pastor, husband, and father of three. He is a pastor's kid, so he grew up in the church and was able to experience the good, the bad and the ugly of living [a] life of faith. He entered ministry full-time at age 16. http://judaht.com