I was recently asked what those square code things are and whether they could be used by churches to encourage people to raise funds, for example. This blog contains a short introduction to QR codes along with some practical ideas that you could use in your church. Ask one of your Digital Superstars to help.
What is a QR code?
The term QR code means Quick Response code. Think of it as a 2D barcode that opens a link to a website. The concept it simple. If you have a web page that you want people to visit, then you can create a QR code that encodes a link to that page.
Here is an example. Try it out and see what happens. Not sure how? Keep reading.
How do you make a QR code?
Just google 'QR code generator' and you will find a range of free websites to do this for you. You will also find some paid for services that do things like add your logo to part of the QR code. One example is qrstuff.com and another is qr-code-generator.com. Both services offer a static (free) or dynamic (paid for) option. The dynamic option allows you to change the page that the QR code is pointing to after you have printed and published it. If you just want it to point to, say, your church website and you are confident that the web page address isn't going to change then you should be safe with the free static option.
How do you read a QR code?
Any smartphone or tablet (that has a camera) can scan a QR code using it's camera, and open a link to the corresponding web page. There are various free apps that will read a CR code for you. Just visit the appropriate app store for your device and search 'QR code reader.' There is an android QR code reader here and an apple iphone app here. You should find it easy to line up the QR code with your phones camera as you scan the code. It's just like taking a picture.
Five QR code ideas for your church
1) Fundraising / donations
Add a donations QR code to your fundraising appeals. Link this to the specific page on your church website that deals with fundraising (if you have one.)
2) Church Website - mobile version
If you have a mobile version of your church website, or a part of the website that works really well on a mobile then advertise this on your magazine or newsletters using a QR code.
3) QR Church trail
Try creating a set of shot QR codes that lead people on a trail around your church or church grounds. These could be permanent or on a topic is pertinent for your church for a period of time. You could create a trail for visitors, for a children's activity or kids club or for families to follow together. Some locations even have these etched on to plastic or metal plates and fixed permanently in the outdoors.
If the web page that you are linking to has a very long web address, this can create a large and comple QR code that only works if it is printed off larger than normal. Don't worry! You can shorten it easily using a service such as Bit.ly.
4) Sermon notes
A great way to highlight key content on your church website would be to create a QR code that links directly to this content. You could add this to your weekly newsletter or other printed materials.
5) Advent Calendar
You could create a QR code church advent calendar in your church magazine for December. Upload pictures (drawn by your Junior Church?) to your website. Create a hyperlink to each image and generate separate QR codes. Print the advent calendar in your church literature and people will be able to open the QR code to that image (maybe with a short scripture?) on each day of advent.