Due to the current pandemic, church events and services have sadly been cancelled. Thankfully, with the technology available today, worship services are now being broadcasted online. This is such a blessing! Though, there is still an aspect that is missing. Fellowship.
I don’t know about you, but I miss interacting with my congregation and pastor. Especially over cookies and coffee after the service. While online sermons are wonderful, and some programs feature a live chat box, they are typically a one-way communication. A great way to provide that extra face-to-face fellowship during this stay at home period, is by hosting an online video chat bible study, Sunday school class or even youth group!
Google Duo, Zoom and Skype are all great (and free) platforms that you can use to connect face-to-face with members of your church. If you are wanting to conduct a bible study for a group larger than 12, then Skype or Zoom would be the best platform to use. Skype will allow you to connect with 50 people at once and Zoom allows 100. Google Duo, however, only allows users to connect with 12 people. This would be ideal for a small Sunday school class or a church board meeting. A downside to Zoom is that with their free plan, video chats can only be 40 minutes long. But this is a program that is simple to use! A great feature within Skype is that you can enable subtitles for your video call. This is a wonderful feature, especially for the older church members or if you have child napping!
Other than internet, the most important criteria to these video chats is having access to a camera and microphone. Most laptops, tablets and phones have these features. However, if you use a desktop computer at home, you may need to invest in this equipment. Nonetheless, all three of these platforms have mobile apps that can be downloaded. So, if you have a smart phone, this is another great way to join in on the meetings.
Use this technology to pick up where you left off within your lesson plans back in March. Or, choose a book of the Bible to read and discuss it together. Another idea would be to schedule a fellowship meeting after “service” on Sunday mornings to further discuss the sermon over cookies and coffee. No matter what, members of the congregation will love being able to interact face-to-face with their church family while being stuck at home.