Find a Way to Connect That Works for You
It’s the connecting not the platform that’s important!
Meeting face to face will always be the preferred way of building relationship but Online Groups have some unique benefits. They provide a stepping stone for those resistant to the idea of “going to church.” They are not limited by geography, weather, or transportation and with so many people online they can grow the church exponentially! While the Gospel will always be the treasure we want to share, all kinds of fun topics can be used as an opening wedge.
Host an Online Small Group
Different types of group include Conversation Groups, Interest Groups, Game Groups, Using Robert’s discussion questions, Bible Studies, YouVersion Bible App Groups etc. If interested in hosting, contact Sandy Tull at Sandy@cctri.org or 423.384.7839.
Here are some links to help get you started
A Few Possible Platforms
Interested in Zoom and need some help? Check out the links below or read the Q & A for new Zoomers.
Here is the link to a training demonstration done by Hettie Brittz:
Here is the link for those who want to look at the PowerPoint from Hettie Brittz demonstration:
Like the idea of inviting people to do a Bible Reading Plan?
Click here to learn more Better Connect Groups Using YouVersion Bible App
Considering a Facebook Group?
Watch parties can be set up to encourage the group to watch their church’s online service together and be able to chat with one another throughout the length of the service. While the group reads a devotional through the week, members can post their comments on the Facebook Group page to keep the conversation going until the group’s next meeting.
Q & A for new Zoomers
- To attend a meeting does everyone need to have an account created beforehand? No, all they need is a link that is sent by the host. The meeting is able to be run from the browser (on a desktop computer) or through a free, easily downloadable app (on a mobile device).
- What does it cost to open an account at Zoom.us? There is a free version but it only allows meetings to last up to 40 minutes. Paid accounts allow for 24 hour use at $14.99 a month. To help cut down on costs meetings can be scheduled from a centralized account if there is no time overlap. Contact Sandy Tull at 423.384.7839 or email@example.com if interested.
- Will I be given a password for each meeting? Going forward, your previously scheduled meetings (including those scheduled via your Personal Meeting ID) will have passwords already enabled. If your attendees are joining via a meeting link, there will be no change to their joining experience. Now and then someone may not have success clicking the link from their device. In those cases simply send them the Meeting ID and password that is shown when Scheduling your Meeting. To invite someone once a meeting is in process look on the right bottom of the screen after you click on Manage Participants. You’ll see the words Invite, Mute All and Unmute All. Click Invite and a window opens for you to enter their email address.
- How do I schedule a meeting? Once in Zoom.us click Meetings on the left & Click Schedule A New Meeting.
Give the Topic a name and then ignore Description and ignore Use Template.
Enter for When & Date. Ignore Registration.
Meeting ID will generate automatically. Keep Meeting Password checked.
Video Host and Participant should be on.
For Audio click Both
Mute Participants so that they will not make noise when they enter the meeting. Then each can unmute themselves when they want to say something.
Under the various Meeting Options only Enable Waiting Room. It is a security.
Alternative Host allows you to share responsibilities with someone else in the meeting.
- How will someone join my meeting? It’s as simple as clicking the password protected invitation link and following the prompt to download the software. Or go to Zoom.us and click the “Join a Meeting” tab. You can find the tab on the top right corner of the homepage. On the left of the Zoom bar each will click Mute, Start Video and Join with Audio.
- How do I admit participants into my Waiting Room? Select Manage Participants for the option to admit individually by selecting the blue Admit button or all at once with the Admit All option on the top right-hand side of your screen. On occasion the name of someone’s device may appear instead of their name & the correct name will need to be entered. For step-by-step instructions, watch this 2-minute video.
- How do I share the screen? If there’s something you want group participants to see, like a slide presentation, simply click “Share Screen” at the bottom of the window. To stop sharing the screen, click “Stop Sharing.”
- As the Host what should I be attentive to? The host can set a more pleasant atmosphere by keeping the mics of those not yet seated off as people tend to forget that every sound they make will be heard by all. Ask participants to mute their microphones when they’re not speaking. Explain Gallery View (which allows users to see everyone at once) & Speaker view (that enables you to see one person at a time).
Begin Planning Your Online Small Group
- Spend time in prayer. Any ministry work that can be done in your own power is not worth doing.
- Define your target audience. One of the biggest mistakes online missionaries make is to say, “I’m trying to reach everybody.” Although there is a lot of heart behind this goal, it won’t help you achieve success in ministry.
- Set a date and time
Creating a Healthy Online Community Experience
After all these years this quote is still apt and decent theology: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
Remind yourself to be intentional about getting to know each member not simply discuss a topic.
Sensitivity is an important key to building community. Encourage the group to provide opportunity for those who have not shared in a group meeting to do so.
Remind regarding Confidentiality, Respect & Authenticity.
Remind to allow the Holy Spirit to shape rather than give pat answers & try to fix each other ourselves.
The host is reminded to supply contact information and encourage texting prayer needs etc. outside of meeting time.
- Find ways to have some fun! 8 Icebreakers for Online Groups