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5 Tips on Hosting a Church Small Group Online

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Tune in today to hear Katie Allred and Kenny Jahng talk about their best tips on hosting a church small group online.
This episode is brought to you by Ramsey+, a money plan for real life. You can start a free trial of the Ramsey+ system over at daveramsey.com/ccwebinar

 

 

Transcript:

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Church Communications podcast. We want to help you become a church communications expert. We understand it can be a challenging and ever-changing role because we’ve worked in the church too, which is why we built a community with over 25,000 church leaders that are ready to support and cheer you on. Your hosts for the show are Katie Allred and Kenny Jahng, who want to help equip you to reach more of your congregation and community. This is the place where we’ll talk shop with fellow practitioners and professionals about what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Kenny Jahng:

Hey folks, our friends over at the Ramsey+ team practice what they preach. Now, they would love to give everyone in your church and organization the tools they need to budget, save, and control all of their money. The Ramsey+ site license is really what you should be looking at. It’s the most flexible, efficient, and cost-effective way to bring Dave Ramsey content to your people. Now, if you want a dedicated relationship manager they give that to you too, because we know that churches need support every step of the way. One of the things I’d love for you to do is actually check them out, and learn a little bit more. They’ve put together a demo webinar to walk through this Ramsey+ system, because it’s much more than Financial Peace University. I promise you. Go to daveramsey.com/ccwebinar. That’s daveramsey.com/ccwebinar, and learn more today.

Katie Allred:

Well, hello, church communicators.

Kenny Jahng:

[crosstalk 00:01:45].

Katie Allred:

I am so excited to be with you again today as we share how do I host a small group online? Okay. How do we do it? It’s five tips, basically. We’re going to give you five tips on hosting a smaller group online. Kenny, sometimes we have to accept the fact that we cannot always physically come to church.

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah.

Katie Allred:

Which was mind-blowing for a lot of people recently. Although, I felt like I understood it from the beginning, because I was always considering people with disabilities. The fact is now we live in an age where next Sunday we may say, “Nope. Everybody stay at home and meet in your pajamas, because we were meeting online.”

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah.

Katie Allred:

Okay? How do I host a small group online to add to the virtual church experience?

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah.

Katie Allred:

Okay.

Kenny Jahng:

I think going over these basics is important. Especially-

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

We’re seeing churches that have gone online, abandoned that because they thought they were going back offline. Now, they’re coming back online. Not only that, there are more and more online group leaders that are embracing this, so I think going through these basics is really good. The first tip that we have today is basically, you have to choose your online platform of choice. There’s a lot of choices out there today.

Katie Allred:

Yes.

Kenny Jahng:

There’s a lot more online available right now than you think. There’s Zoom.

Katie Allred:

So many.

Kenny Jahng:

But there’s others, right? First of all, they’re not all free.

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

Some you actually have to download software, some you don’t, but there are some social media platforms that you can use for free. Or these video platforms that you can use for free. We’ll just list a couple of our favorites right now.

Katie Allred:

Yeah. Facebook groups.

Kenny Jahng:

Facebook, Zoom, YouTube, and Google Meet, right?

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

What’s what’s your favorite, or what’s the latest thing that you’ve been experimenting with Katie?

Katie Allred:

I love Facebook Groups still. How surprising? I also really love Messenger Rooms. Facebook has really-

Kenny Jahng:

Yes.

Katie Allred:

… pushed the envelope for meeting online more so than ever, because now Messenger Rooms have links just like a Zoom would. They have the capacity to hold like 50 people? You don’t need another account or some kind of other setup. You don’t even need software installed to use a Messenger Room. I think you can start probably using Portals more, and really cool, fun, technology. If you haven’t used a Portal yet you should. It’s the best. Another one that I feel like is pretty underrated is Google Meet.

Kenny Jahng:

Yes.

Katie Allred:

Right? Google Meet is included in a lot of churches’ software package if they’re using Google Apps, and so many churches are yet to use it. I’m like, “Oh, this is a great way for you to do small groups,” because there’s nothing to download and it works on pretty much any platform. Yeah, it’s just fantastic. Sometimes we don’t know how to do any of this, and we have a really hard time doing it. The truth is that sometimes you need to seek help from a tech, and that’s okay. You can do that. There are many times where I’ve had to do that, even though I used to work in IT, Kenny, to be true. It’s okay for you to actually not just seek help from a tech… Maybe you don’t have a tech. Maybe you’re like, “I have no idea. I know no one techie in my life who can help me do this.” Well, that’s okay. You can go in our Facebook group, and literally ask any question you want. I bet you will get a couple of great answers on what you should do, and how you should do it.

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the side thing is I’ve been playing with Google Meet also.

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

There are little things like the live captioning-

Katie Allred:

Yes.

Kenny Jahng:

… that happens. Anyway-

Katie Allred:

The live captioning on Google Meet’s cool.

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah. This is where I’m saying sometimes you think you need to seek help from a tech, but there’re all these things that are now being automated that actually make it easier for you that you don’t need to rely on the tech.

Katie Allred:

Right.

Kenny Jahng:

The next tip is really plan and outline the meeting. Right? You got to have a-

Katie Allred:

Right.

Kenny Jahng:

… strong finish, and a strong start. Right. You got to create a plan and outline for your entire activity, so-

Katie Allred:

Just like you would in person. You wouldn’t go into a meeting in person without an agenda. Right, Kenny?

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s one of those things. You know that the meeting’s going to go much smoother. There’s going to be a flow of activities. If you’re just thoughtful about it. If you’re organized and everything’s aligned you’re just going to be able to walk through the meeting, and it’s going to end… Usually what happens, Katie, is that the meeting ends much quicker in your mind than it is for participants.

Katie Allred:

Yes.

Kenny Jahng:

That’s a good thing, because it means that you weren’t caught up in all the technicalities of what’s next, what’s next, and then you can actually participate in the meeting with the people. I think that’s a good tip. Plan and outline your meeting before you get there.

Katie Allred:

And if you plan something, you should practice it. Okay. Practice, practice, practice, practice makes perfect. You can’t do anything unless you practice. Actually I would do a couple of dry runs with whatever platform you’re using, and ensure that all the people can connect and use what they’re doing, or maybe connect and use it with people inside your church. That way you can double-check that everything is going to work without a hitch. That’s something that actually happened in one of the small groups I was meeting with earliest this year. They were going to play a video in the Zoom, and they couldn’t get the sound to work. There’s a little check mark when you hit share screen that says, “Share computer sound,”-

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah.

Katie Allred:

… and they just could not find it to save their lives. Really, it is very important that if you’re planning on showing a video, or maybe you’re just so anxious about talking in front of people weirdly to your camera, and they’re not in person, which is like anxiety inducing, honestly. If you’ve never done this before it is weird. Okay? So, maybe you do a couple of practice runs with friends, or people who you wouldn’t feel super nervous about before you certainly do this with a bunch of strangers that you haven’t met at your church.

Kenny Jahng:

Absolutely. Practice makes perfect.

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

There’s a famous quote, I think by Jim Rohn, that basically says… Jim says, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day,” and it’s kind of like this. Just make sure that you know where everything is before you go. Everything could be avoided… Most things can be avoided if you just practice a little bit.

Kenny Jahng:

The last tip I have for us, Katie, is basically-

Katie Allred:

[inaudible 00:08:35] important one.

Kenny Jahng:

It’s intuitive.

Katie Allred:

[crosstalk 00:08:38].

Kenny Jahng:

It’s very easy, but people just don’t do it all the time. This is why we say it out loud. Don’t share your Zoom link publicly on social media. Don’t tweet it out.

Katie Allred:

Don’t do it.

Kenny Jahng:

Don’t put it on Facebook, et cetera.

Katie Allred:

Or Google Meet link. Don’t do that either. Don’t share your links publicly on social media for these things, because people are going to drop in and share some inappropriate stuff. Okay?

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah.

Katie Allred:

I’ve had it happen. I’ve seen it happen at town hall meetings. Okay? Because they thought they were going to share the town hall Zoom on their Facebook page. Then some people just started dropping a bunch of crazy memes in there. We don’t need that.

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah. It’s unavoidable at some point if you do have big meetings-

Katie Allred:

Sure.

Kenny Jahng:

… that the link will get out there, but there’s no reason why you should help those Zoom bombers.

Katie Allred:

Yeah. Don’t help them.

Kenny Jahng:

No. The hecklers out there that… People just don’t have… There’s some people that are even well-meaning, and just don’t have common sense.

Katie Allred:

Right.

Kenny Jahng:

They think, “Oh, it’s an opportunity to promote my business.” There was one Zoom meeting I had that a clown came in. A clown that does clown engagements for birthday parties, and churches, and stuff like that. It was a church meeting, literally interrupted-

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

… our Zoom meeting, and just advertised his church clown service. That’s one of those-

Katie Allred:

Church clown service.

Kenny Jahng:

Yes.

Katie Allred:

Can’t wait.

Kenny Jahng:

Get that clown out of there. Anyway, don’t publicly share your Zoom links, or your video links on social media.

Katie Allred:

Yes.

Kenny Jahng:

There you have it. Five tips. Katie, I’m going to just recap what the five are. First one is you got to make sure you understand each platform, and you want to make your choice wisely. What technology and online platform you’re going to choose to use, and then just be consistent with it. Second one is seek help from a tech. Right? Just expect some problems ahead. Some bumpy roads. It’s okay. Everyone gets it. Just make sure that you have some backup help. Third is to plan and outline your meeting, so you actually have a nice flow, and you understand the front and the back end of the meeting in particular. You want to practice, practice, practice, especially if you have any anxiety or some uncomfortableness with any of the technology or the content you’re presenting. The last one is don’t share your links publicly. Just don’t share your links. Your Mama always said, “Don’t share your Zoom links.”

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

Anyway, those are the five tips. Katie, where can people find out more information and resources about things like this? Why don’t you share with our audience that’s listening in today as we close out today’s show?

Katie Allred:

Well, first off you can go back and listen to any podcasts you want. There’s a whole wealth of-

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah.

Katie Allred:

… knowledge out there back in our podcasts. You can also go to churchcommunications.com, and read the blog. A lot of great information is in our blogs. You can catch up on some shows. We have several different shows. Not just this one, but we have several different shows that are put into our group that we would love you to watch. Then we also have, of course, the Facebook group. We would love for you to be a member of our Facebook group if you’re not already. 27,000 other people are, and they are sharing great knowledge and information every single day. We would love to have you join us in that. Also, if you enjoyed this video, like it, share it, send it to a friend. We can’t wait to see you next week. Hope you have a great week, and God Bless.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Church Communications podcast with Katie Allred and Kenny Jahng. If you liked our show today, and want to learn more you can join our Facebook group with over 25,000 church leaders. Simply search for Church Communications on Facebook. If you liked today’s episode, please consider subscribing and leaving us a review. It’s the most impactful way you can help us reach more church leaders, and equip them to become better communicators for the church. Finally, don’t forget to check out our website at churchcommunications.com. Thanks for listening.

 

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