It is easy to feel disconnected, lonely, and unmoored in this new reality of social distancing and shelter-in-place due to the novel coronavirus. Churches and small groups are not able to meet in person, but it’s still true that the best way to deepen our Christian faith and grow closer to Jesus is in community.
There is a way that you can still meet with your small group or Bible study! We wanted to share with you a few simple ways to be in community from your home, using technology.
Make Sure Everyone Can View the Video Teaching
Stream from Study Gateway, Vimeo, or retailers. Study Gateway is a streaming video site from HarperCollins Christian Publishing that offers hundreds of small group Bible study series. You can sign up for a free trial at studygateway.com. You can also purchase streaming sessions from Vimeo, ChristianBook.com, or Amazon.com.
Make Sure Everyone Has a Copy of the Study Guide
ChurchSource offers study guides for all studies at 30% off the list price and ship right away.
Insiders tip: If you sign up for a free Study Gateway subscription, you qualify for a 50% discount on your study guides! Study guides offer group discussion questions but also Bible exploration, personal reflection questions, and in-between study questions.
Make Sure Everyone Can Connect Online
Once everyone in your group has access to the streaming video and study guide, make sure everyone in the group has a way to connect online at the same time. There are a number of services available like Skype, Zoom, or Discord. Many of these services allow users to connect with video, and some offer audio and a chat feature for geographic areas with slower internet connections.
Make Sure Everyone Can Meet
Set up a time to meet each week—likely, your normal small group time. Arrange to have everyone watch the video prior to the meeting, then join together on your online meeting service for your group discussion.
Nothing works quite as well as meeting together in person, so be patient with your group members and with the technology. Allow everyone time to get used to the platform you are using and allow every person space to talk and offer insights.
What’s Working for You?
How have you and your group continued to foster community in the last month with the increase in social distancing and large and small group cancelations? Leave a comment below with what has worked (or not!) for you to inspire others.