Connection and community may not be happening at our campuses, but we can, and should, make sure that it’s happening online. It is our job to come alongside our people and equip them throughout the week. It may not happen in the lobby, but it can happen online in digital groups.
When it comes to Sunday services, we’re seeing churches use language like this…
- Church isn’t cancelled, we’re just meeting online.
- The church is OPEN, while the building is closed.
That same thing can apply to your small groups or Sunday School classes.
You don’t have to cancel your groups, you can simply move them online.
Encourage your small groups to continue meeting online. While many states are initiating SIP protocals and every state is practicing social distancing, it's important to consider to mental and emotional ramifications of not getting together with other people.
Now, maybe more than ever in our lifetime, small groups matter. A group of researchers found that having strong social ties meant not just healthier minds, but also healthier bodies.
Meeting online can be a challenge, just as meeting in person with no childcare can be a challenge. There is major value and worth in your groups still getting together, no matter the current challenge.
If your small groups are able to meet via video, here are a couple video solutions for online small groups:
We’ve talked about zoom before, but this is a great solution for your groups. Have the leader schedule a zoom call or just start a zoom call and text or email the link. Everyone is able to jump online, see each other, and carry a conversation virtually. Zoom even has a chat feature to share links to devotionals or small group materials.
This is another group conference solution that will work great for online small groups. Most people have a Gmail account, which makes Google Hangouts a breeze. Have the small group create an event in the Google Calendar, and simply invite the other group members within the invite.
The key isn’t the technology, it’s intentionality.
Outside of your small group meetings, you can stay in touch with each other during the week. Provide regular check-ins to see if there are any needs, help people feel thought about, or just to laugh about funny memes.
Our favorite places for group conversations
The Group Me app is a great way for groups to stay in touch throughout the week. Similar to a group text, but with Do-Not-Disturb mode and Leaders can ask questions, share prayer requests, and more.
Each small group could set up their own Facebook group and stay in touch that way. Your church might also have a private Facebook group so your members can stay connected.
Some people love them, some people hate them. But if the group isn’t too big, a group text is a great ways to stay in touch.
Marco Polo combines the convenience and privacy of texting and the ease and fun of social media, all in one spot. You can send video or voice messages, do video calls or send text messages either in a group or 1:1.
At the end of the day, it just comes down to preference. The best tool is the one everyone is willing to use. Group leaders need to be encouraged to LEAN IN to their small group. Encouraged to continue to pastor and shepherd people, which means staying connected to them, wherever they are.