I setup a free chatbot on Facebook messenger with Chatfuel a few months ago. You can do it too with about an hour of time.

Why Would You Want to Create a Chatbot for Your Church?

At the time of this writing (4/11/2019), Facebook assigns a badge to pages that are very responsive to messages. You want that badge. When people see that badge they are much more likely to send you direct messages. Those direct messages allow you to have ministry conversations that you wouldn’t otherwise get to have. So the answer to the question is, to better serve God’s kingdom!! Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a Jesus juke, but you get the idea.

How to Setup a Chatbot for Your Church

Go to the chatfuel page and fill out the necessary form, and then attach the chatfuel site to your facebook page. You need to be the administrator of a facebook page in order to do this step.

Once you have filled everything out, use the tab on the left-hand side that says “Set Up AI.” This is where the magic happens. You can enter a phrase in the block under the words: “if user says something similar to,” and if a person enters something similar it will trigger the pre-programmed response that you enter on the right hand side under “bot replies with.” I recommend that you set up several of these, and then check back to see what you are missing each month.

I started with the following trigger phrases:

  • Contact pastor
  • Pastor contact
  • Version of the Bible
  • Question about easter
  • Serve at easter
  • Serve easter weekend
  • Easter services
  • Time easter
  • Time are your services
  • Get started
  • Service
  • Block party (you probably don’t need this)
  • Located at
  • Register
  • Thinking about suicide (come on, you have to have a quick response to this one!)
  • Place to live
  • Help fixing
  • Bible version
  • Bill
  • Wednesday evening
  • Children’s programs
  • Electricity
  • Rent
  • Hello
  • Worship
  • Need help
  • Bible study
  • Small group

I chose not to give you my responses because I don’t know that they would be of help. Your chatbot needs to be customised to your church. Different churches will answer questions about these subjects in different ways.

Concluding Piece of Advice

Click the “Automate” tab on the left. Then click where it says “Default Answer.” I have entered the following text in that space: “Hmmm that’s a good question. Let me get Justin Allison, our Small Groups Pastor, to answer that one…” And then I will jump in and answer the person’s question as soon as I can. Using these steps, you will have a default answer to questions that people ask where you don’t have a pre-programmed response. You need something like this because people will ask weird questions and it might be 2am and you are asleep. By having a bot reply, you get to keep your badge that says you respond quickly 100% of the time. Yes, it’s sort of playing the system, but you gotta do what you gotta do to keep facebook happy since it’s their sandbox.

Thanks for reading this post – in fact you may be interested in reading my post about iPhone settings for your team, or My Sunday Morning Tech Checklist.

I hate ads, but I have to pay bills. If you would like to help support me and my family financially please check out these two companies that I have an affiliate relationship with (means that buying their services won’t cost you extra, but will pay me a little money). Bluehost web hosting, and Carbonite online backup solutions are the two products I recommend even if people don’t use my affiliate links. I use them myself. Feel free to click the link and explore even if you don’t plan to buy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.