“The days of people leaving home to attend church have been a thing of the past since lockdown started in March.”
As Covid-19 continues to spread and spikes flare up globally, and locally the numbers spike and lockdown measures are reinstituted, it is safe to say that the corona virus brought an end to the church as we know it.
If you have not moved your services online yet, I will give you some tools on how to meet with your congregation online. As we know, the finances of most people have been hit hard by the economic lockdown, so I will focus on more readily available means of communication (in this case whatsapp).
Taking Meetings Online
Before even starting the process of introducing online meetings via whatsapp, it is important to have the leadership team on the same page about the rollout plan as well as the key issue of privacy. Some of the discussions may get deeply personal and it should be strict that what is discussed in the group stays in the group.
It is also worth doing a few practice runs with the leadership team before implementing this with a bigger audience as your congregation’s dynamics may be different.
Once you have agreed on this, you and your team may begin by following the steps below.
Step 1: Create the Whatsapp Groups
Ideally you and your leadership team can create groups of 20 people each and reach out to those members. If you are not sure where to start Heartlines has great resources here and here on how to connect with people.
The important thing to remember is that now, the focus initially should be on reconnecting with your congregation and getting them used to having meetings online, while also avoiding the trap of over communicating.
Remind members of the rules and after meetings set it that only admins can post in those groups.
Step 2: Set dates and times to “meet” online
Think of this as a normal scheduled gathering, agree on a date and time and share with everyone in the group. As you begin do a roll call and see who is there and who may need to be given a call later on.
It also helps to share any bible readings and questions ahead of time, this will enable members to read up and think ahead of the session, which can make for livelier discussion and detailed questions.
Step 3: Guide the discussion then close it with prayer
As with any meeting, ensure that you keep to time and encourage all people to be involved.
As you conclude the meeting, be sure to take prayer requests, and here you can encourage people to record voice notes directly in whatsapp and have one person pray to close the meeting.
Download detailed step by step instructions here.
As the second wave begins in the country, and the uncertainty and anxiety rises with it. Taking your meetings online is no longer a question. It does not need to be complex or require huge financial commitment, it requires time and patience.
(Note, this is based on Pastor Mark Tittley’s presentation on using Whatsapp for small group meetings. I have taken the concepts he discusses and after implementing them have settled on the ones which have worked well for those who have data struggles)
If you would like more assistance in setting up online meetings get in touch with our team.