How Would You? Pastor on Call

Hello all,

I am on FreePBX, using Sangoma S505 phones at a meduim sized church. If someone calls after hours, they get an after hours message which eventually leads to a general voicemail box which is then checked every morning by the secretary. I have each person’s personal extension voicemail set up to go to his or her email.

We are looking to start a “Pastor on Call” service, where each of about 4 pastors will rotate weeks being on call, and the after hours message will say something like, “If this is an emergency, you can call this number,” or “press # to reach a pastor,” and that new number would go to whichever pastor is on call that week.

How would you implement this?

I was thinking the simplest idea would be to set up an extension associated with the number, and then add a phone to that extension, which each person could then use to forward calls to their phone when it is time to go “on call” for the week. If the call is not answered, then it could lead to a voicemail that then goes out to all pastors since it wasn’t answered and may need priority.

It’s not something that I want to have to deal with every week, so I would want it to be as simple as possible for them to change who gets the call.

What would you do?

I wouldn’t make it too complicated and leave out all the phone logic. A simple announcement with a special number is enough. There are then just 4 different announcements.

The real problem is that today hardly anyone is willing to wait on the phone for more than 20 or 30 seconds, i.e. in most cases a call would not be forwarded at all.

Use incoming routes to a time condition that goes to an ivr with announcements… and custom destination or ring group with the number to call.

Empower the secretary to change the forwarding number by dialing *PASTOR from their phone and then entering the destination. Send unanswered calls (after X minutes) to all the other pastors, so somebody always gets through during sacramental emergencies (and/or maybe send them an SMS instead to a group chat).

I would use the calendar and time condition functionality to set this up. Sounds like a fun project. I am using FreePBX for our church, as well. If you need assistance, just let me know.

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