Hebrews 10:25 says “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”.
The following is written as a quick guide to help Life Groups and other groups within the church decide how they may begin meeting together in an online format. There are many tools available, but I am going to focus on 4 specific tools along with pros and cons of each:
- Facebook Live
Facebook Live allows one video source (a mobile device, webcam, or video camera) to be broadcast to Facebook Friends, a Facebook group, a Facebook page, or those that aren’t on Facebook (with specific requirements). The people that you choose can watch, comment, and/or ‘like’ the video. The live broadcast is limited to 4 hours and the video is saved to Facebook for future viewing once the broadcast is complete. The drawback to Facebook Live is that everyone in the group needs to have a Facebook account unless the group is made public. If the group is made public, anyone can view and comment on the video, but you may not want comments from the public on your video.
- Facebook Scheduled Videos
Facebook also allows you to record a video and schedule a time for that video play. After creating your video, instead of choosing ‘live’, choose ‘photo’, choose the video you want to play in the future, then ‘schedule’ your video to play at a future date / time. Your class will be able to watch the video together, type comments, and react to the video.
- Google Meet
Google Meet is an easy video conferencing solution provided to the church by Google. Meet allows many sources to communicate with each other at once through mobile devices, webcams, video cameras, telephones. The small drawback of using Meet is that I will need to create a Countrywoods.net Google account for your Life Group or other small group, but that’s really easy. Once you have an account, someone from your group will go to calendar.google.com and create a new meeting on the date and time that you want the group to meet. Fill out all of the information such as title, description, location and recurrence information. Make sure to click on ‘add conferencing’ when creating the meeting. You will notice that a URL displays that similar to the following: meet.google.com/oct-ybqc-wrp. This is the link that everyone will use to join your meeting. After you create the meeting, you will also see a phone number / pin that can be used to join the meeting from a land line. You will need to share the URL and phone / pin with those that you want to join your meeting. A few minutes before the meeting time, the host will need to go to meet.google.com and start the meeting by clicking ‘Join Now’.
Zoom is a slightly more complex video conferencing solution than Meet, but it also has more bells and whistles. Zoom allows many sources to communicate with each other at once through mobile devices, webcams, video cameras, telephones. In order to use Zoom, you will need to go to zoom.us and create a free Zoom account. Once you have your account, you can login and create a meeting. Once the meeting is created, you will receive a URL and phone number / pin combination that will be given to your meeting participants. A few minutes before the meeting time, the host will need to login to zoom.us and ‘start this meeting’. The drawback to Zoom is that the free account is limited to a total of 40 minutes.
Keep in mind that these solutions are constantly being updated so everything I have written here is subject to change. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.