How Do I Move My Community Group Online?
So, you just found out that your group is transitioning from in person to meeting online and I’m sure you have a few questions. This guide is designed to give you the answers as well as a slew of best practices and pro tips to help you continue to lead your group into community.
1. What does “online” even mean? Any community group can gather weekly through a video chat, conference call or a text platform (preferably in that order) to share life, discuss the sermon notes and pray for each other.
2. How do I tell my group? You are free to use any avenue you would like, but we have provided an easy copy / paste response below to help you get ahead of any questions you may be asked.
“Hey Friends, here is a message that I just got from Sandals Church…
In an abundance of caution, to best align with the direction of our government and in care for our Sandals Church family, we are asking that all groups suspend meeting together in person until further notice.
Instead of meeting together in person, we are inviting all of our groups to continue meeting online through video chat, conference calls or group texts.
This means that we won’t be meeting together in person this week, but it doesn’t mean we stop being a community. I would like us to (insert your preferred method of meeting here).”
If you get asked any questions about “why” or “how long,” feel free to point people to sandalschurch.com for the latest information.
3. What tech do I use? There are a lot of options out there, but here are a few of our favorite digital platforms to choose from. We have linked several different platforms that you can choose from as well as their help pages if you have any questions.
PRO TIP: If tech isn’t your thing, see if someone in your group enjoys it and invite them to lead the charge of connecting the group in this new way.
We have also written the aptly named How to Have a Good Video Call to help you lead at your best through this new medium.
PRO TIP: As with all new things, it’s a good idea to test it before group with a friend and remember to give yourself grace through the processes of learning something new. Even if it’s hard, the people in your group are worth it.
4. What’s different about leading online vs leading in person? While leading a video chat is very similar in all the human ways, there are a few key things we would like to point out to help you have the best experience.
- Start the video chat a few minutes early for small talk so that people can mingle before the group like they normally would.
- You won’t have the same body language cues as you would in person, so be sure everyone has a chance to share if they would like and please lead into situations where two people talk at once to break the tie and order the conversation.
- It’s likely you may experience some technical issues, so please have grace for each other and you may even want to deputize a “tech person” to help handle problems so you are free to lead.
- When your group is finished with the questions and done praying, feel free to leave a little time for people to talk, like they normally would at an in-person meeting.
If you have any questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to help!