Communicating During the Coronavirus Outbreak

4:57 PM


I realize everyone is scrambling to determine how they will be communicating with their group during the Coronavirus outbreak.  I have encouraged all our leaders to determine what is best for their group and do all in their power to continue to “meet” with their groups. 

Below are some ways I suggested they could continue to meet digitally and minister to one another while public gatherings are limited.

Phone Calls & Texts
Relationships are such a vital part of discipling and ministering to someone. We have to determine to keep relationships and ministry strong during this time of isolation. Simply emailing everyone each week will become less meaningful. I recommend that leaders check in with their groups via text or phone call at least once per week to make sure they are well. If someone in the group has a health issue or other need that the group cannot address they should contact one of the pastors or church staff.

If a leader has a large group this is a great time to look for those who could help with caring for a smaller group of 5-10 people. They could call their smaller group each week to check on them, they could pray with them, and they could share any information regarding the church or group.

Zoom Meetings -- https://zoom.us/signup
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to setup a personal Zoom account (free version). You can do so using your email OR Facebook account. BEFORE you start a meeting you plan to host, I encourage you to login and become familiar with the controls, settings, etc. Make sure the mic & camera feeds are working properly.

As a Host, you can control the audio & video settings of others on the call, so that you can mute individuals OR the entire group, if needed. When you setup a meeting, you can cut/paste a link to share with anyone you want to invite to join the meeting. Be careful not to share this on a public social media page, as you may have unwelcomed guest join.

Here is a 1 minute video about how to schedule a meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362413-Scheduling-meetings

GroupMe
This is an app for your phone that you can download. It provides group text capability without bogging down your text messaging on your phone. It is great for group communication and could be used as a part of Bible study as well. People can mute the text or opt out at anytime. Here are steps for setting up GroupMe:

You can download the GroupMe app from the App StorePlay Store and Windows Phone Store. If you’re on a desktop, you can use the web version of GroupMe instead.

To set up GroupMe:
  • Enter your Facebook details, Microsoft Account, Google Account or email address, and then tap Continue.
  • Enter your name and create a password.
  • Check the box to indicate that you agree to the Terms of Service.
  • Check the box if you want to sync your contacts to GroupMe, then tap Continue.
  • Enter your phone number and then tap Get PIN. We will send you a text message (SMS) containing a PIN.
  • Enter the PIN we sent to your phone into the app and tap Continue. We will take you through a brief tutorial to get you started.
Setting up your group on the app:
  • Select the box icon in the upper right corner of your GroupMe Chat page.
  • Select Start Group, then choose the new group name and group avatar.
  • To add members, type their name, number or email or scroll through your current GroupMe contacts.
  • Select Done (or the blue checkmark) at the bottom right corner to create your group.
  • An email will be sent to everyone you added and they will have to set up the app by following the instructions. (Note: You should give you group a heads up before you invite them so they will know to respond)
Free Conference Call
  • Go to http://www.freeconferencecall.com
  • Type in your EMAIL and create a PASSWORD – Click on “Create my FREE Account”
  • Free Conference Call will create your account and provide Dial-In Number Access Code Host Pin
  • Write this information down – after registering, you will not need to login to your account to host a conference call
Hosting the Call:
  • From your cell or land-line telephone, call the “Dial-In” number provided by freeconferencecall.com
  • When prompted enter your “Access Code” followed by #
  • When prompted enter your “Host Pin” followed by #
  • As participants enter the call, you’ll hear a tone – participants may also announce themselves
  • When the conference all has completed, simply hang up
  • Encourage call participants to MUTE their audio unless they are speaking
  • Greet each participant by name as they enter the call
  • Write down the names of the participants so that you remember who is on the call
Facebook Live
  1. Click Create Post at the top of your News Feed.
  2. Click then click Live Video. (Note: You will need to give Facebook access to your camera through your web-browser. Follow instructions if your camera isn't automatically allowed.)
  3. Write something about your live video and schedule.
  4. Click Go Live in the bottom right.
Note: Let everyone in your group know in advance the time and date that you will be going live.

Group FaceTime
How to use Group FaceTime on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

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