By David Bond
We’ve always known that Sunday School classes and other forms of groups are essential to discipleship, ministry care, fellowship, Bible teaching, and mobilizing people for ministry. In these days of social distancing, how can your church still help people connect and minister through small groups? Let me give you some ideas that are free and simple.
Group Bible Study through YouVersion
The YouVersion Bible App is one of the most downloaded phone apps in the world. First, get everyone in your group to download the app and create their own free account. In YouVersion, you can search through hundreds of Bible Reading plans, by topic, single book readings, or longer parts of the Bible. If you are using a SS curriculum, you can choose a plan that correlates with your current study.
Once your leader has selected the plan, members of your group can be invited by the leader through text or email. The group can then read the study together and even interact with comments and discussion.
YouVersion’s latest update to the Bible App includes the ability to create an online prayer group for submitting requests and praying for and with one another.
Many groups already have Facebook pages dedicated to their Sunday School class or small group. This is a great way to have many different kinds of interaction including sharing Bible study note, posing discussion questions, and informing the group about ministry needs and opportunities. Leaders can post videos and receive feedback in the comments.
Zoom is a way to host an online meeting in real time. Use the Zoom app or website to create an account, set up a meeting, and invite the participants in your group to join in either by phone only or with video and audio. The Free Version of Zoom allows up to 100 participants but limits your meeting time to 40 minutes…plenty of time for a group check in and to just connect with one another.
Phone Conference Calls
For smaller groups, set up a time to talk briefly on phone. Smart phones have ways to easily set up conference calls with small groups. Or go an even simpler route and assign every person on your group roster to some care group leaders who will take the responsibility for making 1-2 calls a day to check on people, offer to pray, and make sure they know about other ways to connect with the group. Text messaging apps like Group Me are also easy ways to stay in touch.
Nothing substitutes for Groups meeting in Groups, face to face together…but when Groups can’t Group, we are fortunate to have some options to keep the ministry of Groups strong.