On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first telegram to Andrew Vail and it said, “What hath God wrought!” from Numbers 23:23. As a result, communication was changed around the world.
Starting this month, Maranatha will be using telegrams to communicate as well, and it will probably change all our communication. “What?!? Telegrams?!?” you may be saying. Of course, we are not talking about the same type of telegram as Morse used. We are talking about an app called Telegram.
What is Telegram?
Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security, it’s super-fast, simple and free. You can use Telegram on all your devices at the same time — your messages sync seamlessly across any number of your phones, tablets or computers.
With Telegram, you can send messages, photos, videos and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc.), as well as create groups for up to 200,000 people or channels for broadcasting to unlimited audiences. Telegram’s use of channels (one-way communication) is one of the primary reasons that we chose it over some alternatives. Also, when you are using Telegram, you won’t see advertising for other people’s groups, products, etc. As a result, Telegram is like SMS (text messages) and email combined.
Why are we making a change?
The first thing that needs to be clear is that we are adding Telegram to our list of ways to communicate with the church. We will still be using email and Facebook. There are several reasons why we are deciding to add Telegram as a method of communication. First, Facebook has made some changes in the posts that it shows you. As a result, a number of people have come to us and said that they can’t find things on Facebook or that they didn’t see important messages we posted even in the Maranatha Family Group. In addition to those changes, many people have made a conscious decision to avoid social media. So, whether their choice is made from conviction or convenience, we want to support them in their decision and offer an avenue of communication that is not through social media and avoids all the potential traps that go with it.
Second, many people are finding that the church emails are not getting to their inbox. Sometimes the emails are flagged as spam and other times they just don’t seem to arrive. Adding Telegram gives us all another way to communicate that doesn’t have as many barriers or things that might keep messages from getting to the intended person.
Finally, Telegram will open a new avenue of communication that I affectionately call Chat-Heads. No, I am not talking about Facebook’s chat heads. I am talking about real chatting heads. You will have to join the Maranatha Family Channel to experience it (the link is below, in the directions on setting up Telegram). The point is it will give us a more engaging way of sharing information. You can also listen to Chat-Heads on double speed making them both more efficient and at times hilarious.
Will Telegram be the long-term solution to our communication challenges? Honestly, only time will tell. We are committed to continuing to evaluate all the best possible options to get communication to you and enable you to communicate with each other to build up the Body of Christ. Telegram seems like the best option for today.
I know some of you are thinking, “But, I don’t have a smartphone?” It is ok. You can install Telegram on your desktop computer or even just access it through the internet and not install it at all. You only need to have a cell phone that can receive a text message to set it up.
How do I set up Telegram?
1. Decide what device you want to install Telegram on from the list below and click the link (or go to the blog on our website and click the link):
Android Device: https://telegram.org/dl/android
Desktop PC/Mac/Linux: https://desktop.telegram.org/
2. Register with your cell phone number: it needs to be a cell phone, so you can receive a text message with a confirmation code that you will enter to finalize the registration
3. Click the following link to join the Maranatha Church channel:
Maranatha Family Channel: http://bit.ly/mbcfamilytelegram
4. The difference between “Channels” and “Groups”:
Channels are one-way information from those authorized to post – no replies or interaction
Groups are for mutual communication – chatting about things
You might be feeling overwhelmed by those four steps. Don’t worry! We are here to help. We plan to have a “help desk” set up in the church lobby on Sundays after the morning service. You can stop by there at any time to get help setting Telegram up on your mobile device. If you need help setting it up on your desktop, let Pastor David know and he will get somebody to come by your place and help with that too. Of course, you can probably just ask any of our youth or college and careers to help you as well. We know that this may take some work and may stretch many of you outside your comfort zone, but in the end, we believe the effort will be worth it.