Technology: Tools That Enhance GroupLife

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What are you using to communicate with your small group leaders?  What are you using to train your leaders?  If you’re not yet using a blog or e-newsletter to communicate you’re missing a great opportunity.  What about Facebook and Twitter?  If you’re still relying on centralized, come-to-the-church meetings for training and encouragement…you’re not in step with some ideas that will increase the number of leaders you can train.

Here’s an overview of a few of the possibilities:

Blogs: A blog is an easily updated web-based tool.  It can look like a website (markhowelllive is actually a blog) or it can look more like an online journal (like this).  The key idea with a blog is that you can update it.  It’s not hard.  You don’t need your webmaster.  It’s not expensive (some are free like Blogger, others are inexpensive like Typepad and WordPress).

E-Newsletters: You’ve probably assembled a newsletter at some time in your ministry.  Your church may still be mailing out a hard copy newsletter or making it available in the lobby.  The advantage of an e-newsletter is that there’s no postage and it can be easily forwarded to someone else.  I use a service called ConstantContact.  Easy to use.  Template based (you don’t have to design anything…you pick from many prefabricated designs).  Looks great.

Facebook: If you’re not using Facebook, you may think it’s a little crazy to talk about it, but you need to realize that regardless of where you live or where your church is…many of your members are already using every day.  It’s a free service.  Easy to update.  Your leaders can get the update on their computer or as a text message.  Very cool.  You can connect with me right here.

Twitter: You may have heard about Twitter and not really understand what it is.  Think about it like sending a text message that everyone in your small group ministry gets.  You set up an account.  It’s free.  Group leaders follow you on Twitter.  They get the update either on the computer or cell phone.  I also use Twitter to follow ministry leaders around the country that I want to keep track of.  You can do the same!  In fact, you can follow me right here.

Survey Tools: I’ve been using web-based survey tools for about 5 years.  It’s a great way to gather information from your leaders.  You can find out how their group is going.  You can see what they think about the most recent study they’ve done.  You can use it to ask your leaders what kind of training they need.  Two very popular services are SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang.

YouTube and Vimeo: If you’re not taking advantage of YouTube or Vimeo for online training opportunities…it might be time to check it out.  With so many easy-to-use digital video cameras (I picked up a Flip camera last year) it’s getting easier and easier to post your training videos online and let your leaders watch the skill training from home (or a coaches home).  Here’s an example of how Seacoast is using the idea.  I shot this welcome video with my Flip camera (and a tripod).

This is an overview of some technology ideas that you can use to enhance your small group ministry.  Here are my expanded posts on each technology:

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