Building and maintaining community will always be important to any ministry even in these trying times. Luckily, we have many tools available to us to continue building relationships.
Pick an activity
Lectio Divina, rosary, liturgy of the hours, book club, etc. – there are many things you can do virtually with a small group.
Here are some considerations:
- What does your community need?
- Will this be a space for prayer, dialogue and life-giving fraternity?
Pick a meeting format
Now that you’ve picked an activity, it is time to prepare an agenda/schedule. This allows you to set the expectations of this online group meeting.
- Keep the meetings as brief as possible
- Send the agenda/schedule in advance
Pick a time
Even while quarantined, there is no perfect time. Try your best to find a time that will work for you and most of your participants.
- Start and end on time scheduled
- Designate a time-keeper
- Do not go beyond 9PM
Pick a platform
Skype, FaceTime, Messenger, Hangouts, Whatsapp, Zoom – There are many options available. Pick one that is suitable for your target audience.
For meetings under 50 participants, we recommend using Messenger or Skype. If all your participants are already on Facebook, Messenger is the obvious platform to use.
For meetings exceeding 50 participants, we recommend using Zoom. Starting at 20$/month, you can set up online meetings for over 100 participants. It might be a worthwhile investment for your ministry.
The other advantage of using Zoom is that participants don’t need to have an account to use it. They can join the meeting through a link or a phone call.
- Find a quiet and well lit place in your home. If there is too much background noise, it may distract from your activity.
- Don’t wait for everyone to start. If most of your participants are present, start the meeting.
- Ask people to mutetheir mics when not speaking. This allows for clearer confirmation.
- Assign meeting responsibilities at the start. If you need multiple participants to do a task during the meeting (Reading scripture, leading a mystery of the rosary), we suggest that you assign these responsibilities as soon as possible.