Digital Tools to Help Your Group Thrive

Posted by Eric Torrence, Groups Pastor, on Apr 01, 2020

Digital Tools to Help Your Group Thrive

We believe your group can thrive during this unique season, even with all of the challenges and uncertainty we face. As you move your group online, we want to help you create a dynamic experience for each of your group members. Below is a “one-stop-shop” of different digital tools, platforms, and resources available to assist groups in connecting and taking next steps in their relationship with Jesus together.

Meeting Platforms

There are a number of video conferencing tools that can serve as a platform for your group to meet digitally. Use whichever one you are most comfortable with or have used before. Don’t know where to start? Check out these two common platforms.  

Zoom

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that offers a free account for up to 100 people and up to 40 minutes at a time (you can pay $15 per month to set up longer meetings, or you can simply redial everyone at 40 minutes if you want to go longer in the free account).
  • Pros: Easy to log in because only the host needs an account. Everyone else can simply click a link sent to them.
  • Cons: Limited to 40 minutes unless you pay or redial. 
For a helpful video tutorial on Zoom, click here.  NOTE: In an effort to increase security and keep people from hacking into meetings, Zoom has updated a few features. It now requires a password for all meetings and puts people in a “waiting room” where they have to be accepted into the meeting by the host. For a tutorial about these changes, click here.

Google Hangouts

This communication platform, hosted by Google, provides your group with easy-to-use, secure video conferencing.
  • Pros: It is free, and you have unlimited time.
  • Cons: It requires every participant to have a Google account, which makes it a little harder to set up and get into the meeting. 
For a helpful video tutorial on Google Hangouts, click here.

Digital Tools for Discussion Starters and Discipleship 

Leading a discussion digitally doesn’t need to look all that different than leading one in a physical gathering. There are a few differences: the moderator probably needs to be a bit more directive (welcome people when they join and keep the conversation moving) and the length of time you should meet is shorter (40-70 minutes). But, in general, it’s about meeting together, sharing a laugh, checking in, praying together, and having a conversation centered on the hope we have in Jesus. Pick a resource, share the plan with your group, and ask a few questions tailored to the people joining your conversation.

Here are a few great resources designed to start a great conversation: 

Sermon Discussion Questions

To help groups, families, and individuals apply the sermon to their lives, we provide 5-7 discussion questions around our weekly sermons. This is a great resource to use: Because if people have watched the message, they’ve already done 35 minutes of prep work! No homework required and everyone can participate. Check out our latest discussion guides online. You can also find them on the Chase Oaks app under the “Resources” tab. 

RightNow Media

Think of this as Netflix for churches, full of video resources and Bible studies for your group or family. It can be streamed from anywhere (e.g., smartphones, Apple TV, and Roku). And the best news? It’s completely FREE! All you have to do is set up a login through Chase Oaks. It tends to work best if you send your group the video ahead of time and then use your group time to discuss. Here are a few studies we recommend:

Vertical

This digital tool is an online devotional hosted and created by Chase Oaks Church. It is designed to help everyone develop the discipline of getting into God’s Word each day. To read it or sign up for the daily email, visit Vertical. Read through Vertical as a group and use the daily reflections as conversation starters.

Day-to-Day Connection 

Great groups don’t just happen in a meeting every few weeks. They connect with each other in between meetings and throughout the week. Besides texting, here are two helpful digital tools that will promote day-to-day interaction. 
  • GroupMe: A free group message app that allows you to easily message your group. 
  • Facebook Messenger: A simple way to text, video chat, and plan things all in one place through Facebook.

While our current reality is challenging, isn’t it fascinating that we live in a period of time where it is possible to connect in so many ways online? These digital tools allow us to get creative, stay connected, and grow in our relationship with Jesus in ways we may not have thought before. So, as the Bible says, let us not give up meeting with one another. Instead, let’s spur each other on and fight for community.


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