Let’s Stay Connected!
During this season there’s lots of amazing ways for us to stay connected from Social Media, text groups, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp to good old fashioned calling. But what if we could create a network of virtual groups to stay connected, care for one another, pray and encourage.
Hosting an online group is an incredible tool to help people connect with each other when an in-person group may not be possible. You can encourage each other’s faith, share authentically, and watch God work in ways you may not have dreamed possible.
Your first few meetings will take some adjusting as everyone gets acquainted with the technology and the format and works out all of the kinks.
So don’t give up too quickly if your first few meetings are a bit of a challenge.
As you look into launching a group online, or having your group try it out for a week, this page will help you figure out the technology to use, best practices for a good online experience, and what a typical group meeting might look like.
What Kind of Technology is Available?
If you have a Google account this is a great option. Allows you to create a group up to 25 people, it’s free and gives you unlimited time together. It’s accessible via a web browser on your computer or through a Google App
How to Use
- Open Google Hangouts in web browser or mobile app (apple device , android device, chrome web browser extension)
- Click “Video Call” button
- Click “Invite People” and type in their email address (If they don’t have a google account it will send them an invite to setup an account)
- You can also schedule a meeting on your google calendar and send an invite to join you at a specific time, including a link to your online meeting. (See Instructions)
You don’t even need a Facebook account to use this tool. It’s accessible via web browser on computer. (If you don’t have a facebook account you’ll need to download the app to your phone and use phone number.) You can host up to 50 people (6 on video, 44 audio only)
How to Use
- Open facebook messenger on web browser or mobile app
- Login (with facebook account or phone number)
- Click “New Message” button to add facebook friends to group chat (see image below)
- After adding contacts, click the “Video Call” button to start video chat.
Zoom offers a free service with a phone-in option, however at least one member of the group needs to have a Zoom account. Limited to 40 minutes unless you have a paid account ($14.99/mo). You will have to download the Zoom application to phone or computer. Capacity (100 participants/Devices).
How to Use
- Open Zoom in a web browser or mobile app (apple device, android device, chrome web browser extension)
- Click “Host a meeting with video on”
- Click “Invite participations”
- Select how you’d like to send an invite:
- Default Email, Gmail, Yahoo to send email invite
or “copy URL”, “Copy Invitation” to copy a link and send it via a text message, email, facebook message, etc.
- You can also schedule a meeting on the zoom website and send an invite to join you at a specific time, including a link to your online meeting. (See Instructions)