I believe we are at the point where every church should have a church wifi with captive portal. But what does that even mean? Find out below!

What Church WiFi with Captive Portal means

To give the most simple explanation, I’ll start by asking have you ever been to Chick-fil-a, or another casual dining restaurant? If so, you then you have likely had to go through a captive portal to use their wifi. The captive portal is the little popup that you have to agree to before you can use the internet.

Why you should create Church WiFi with Captive Portal

Much like a restaurant or a public library, you probably hope that people will use your church’s wifi in a certain way. You likely want to block access to certain elements on your church’s wifi. When you use a captive portal, you can ensure that all users are aware of the guidelines on your wifi. You will likely also include a brief description of usage guidelines. So the basic idea is that you are using the captive portal to ensure that all users on the system are aware of a certain set of expectations, and the consequences of improper use. In church terms, it’s like a membership covenant for your wifi.

Benefits of Church WiFi with Captive Portal

Captive portals make use of many different ways of validating users. I won’t mention all of them here, but one of the most useful ones for churches is the email capture option. In other words, if someone wants to use your wifi, they will have to check a box agreeing to your terms AND submit an email address. That email address will then be associated with the MAC address of the device(s) that they are using. You can then track activity on your network by the email address. Plus, you score email addresses!

church wifi with captive portal

When you get a new email address, you can use it to send a greeting to that person on Monday, or whenever you wish. I choose to export the list of collected emails each week on Monday, then see which ones are new. At that point I send the newly collected email addresses a welcome message.

Conclusions about Church WiFi with Captive Portal

When we create church wifi with captive portal that collects email addresses, it isn’t because we are trying to be stingy. Instead, we are trying to initiate a relationship with people. I like the idea of leveraging the resource that God’s people are providing through the church. By doing this, we can attempt to build relationships with first time guests. It is most likely overstating the case to say that using a captive portal to collect an email address is a form of evangelism. But, in my view it should lead to an attempt to share the gospel. That gospel conversation is likely a few steps down the road from a welcome email. Still, the first step in building a relationship is to open a channel of communication. And that’s exactly the point of collecting these email addresses!

I would love to continue the conversation with you in the comments below. So, please leave a comment. Also, I’ve started a podcast with new episodes twice a month. If you are in the DFW area I’d love to meet up in person for coffee sometime. You can contact me via email here, or hit me up on twitter!

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