Is your group thinking about how to meet in light of the current situation? Taking your group online may be just the solution you need.
Here are some ideas that will help you get started meeting with your group online:
1. Choose the right online platform for your group
There are several easy-to-use platforms (services) to choose from:
- Zoom.us There is a free version that allows 40 minutes per meeting for up to 100 people. The paid version is $14.95 a month and only the host needs an account.
- Google Hangouts Free, but requires every participant to have a Google account. You can can have up to 25 people join the meeting.
- Skype More familiar to some.
- FaceTime Only available to Apple devices
- Facebook Video Chat by Messenger Up to 50 participants (6 video and 44 audio only).
2. Decide on a study to use
- The best option right now may be our weekly message discussion guide based on our weekend message series. You can find the guide each week right here.
- If you prefer a video study, there are a couple options to consider. RightNow Media offers a wide selection of small group studies for adults, as well as topics for children. Another option is Anthology, offering free video studies produced by North Point Ministries in Atlanta.
3. Decide on a format for your online meeting
- Suggest that group members watch the video in advance (weekend worship service or the video study).
- Welcome everyone as they arrive for the meeting. Remember, like a normal meeting, not everyone will be on time. Build in a little time at the beginning to catch up with each other.
- Using the "mute" and "unmute" button, ask an icebreaker question, allowing everyone to participate.
- Ask the discussion questions, keeping in mind not all questions are created equally. Some of the questions are more important and some can be skipped over.
- Share prayer requests. Be prepared to pause on anyone struggling and spend time with them. This is an important time for your group, so don't rush!
- End your meeting with prayer.
4. Basic tips and ideas for the best experience online
- Participants should each be facing good light in the room. When the light is behind them, they will look like they're in Witness Protection.
- Choose a quiet place to sit. Background noise will make it hard for you to hear and be heard.
- Make sure your computer or device is angled properly. The closer you can come to looking directly into the camera the better.
- Login to the meeting software in advance to be sure you're set up on the right camera and microphone settings or preferences (depending on the platform). Your own familiarity with the settings/preferences will make it easier for group members.
- Learn how to use "mute" and "unmute." Although your members can do this for themselves, it is helpful for the host to know how to do this.
- Suggest that all of your members download the meeting software in advance! Downloading may take time, depending on internet speeds.
The Church is God's people gathered. When you gather, whether you're on-campus or online, you are the Church!
Special thanks to Saddleback and Jason DeGraff for their versions of a guide.