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The New Normal: Zoom for Coram Deo Life Groups!

March 25, 2020
|
preached by
Tony Bolander

In the midst of COVID-19 we have all started to use alternative ways to communicate and stay in community with one another.

And while Facebook Live has become a preferred way to host sermons and one-way communications, we have found that Zoom is the best alternative for scheduled collaboration, meetings, Bible studies, and Coram Deo Life Groups! Zoom meetings can easily be accessed from any location using your computer or mobile device/phone.

I’d like to encourage you to try this out soon! Our entire Life Group was thrilled when they realized that meeting digitally was possible and we had a great response with 17 life group members (plus pets) joining our first meeting. This included a family who recently moved to Japan! 

We started after dinner and used our initial meeting to connect by sharing life updates during these uncertain times. Everyone shared, everyone laughed, and everyone embraced the opportunity to gather virtually. Even the kids got into the action by opening up their own Skype call in real-time (in the future we will use the Zoom Breakout Rooms feature for the kids). Now we are looking to move Life Group from bi-weekly to weekly meetings and even looking at pulling together virtual game nights!

While anyone can use Zoom Basic for free, The Life Group Leaders at Coram Deo Church have been assigned Zoom Business accounts to allow for group meetings greater than 40 minutes.  Once you have your account here is how to get started:

As a Zoom Host or Leader:

1. Create your Zoom account or Login to an existing account here.
2. Click Profile and customize your Personal Link for something easy to remember
3. Click Settings to make any changes. Here are my personal settings as examples:

4. Use your favorite calendar app or use Facebook events to schedule your Life Group Meeting and be sure to put in the Zoom link! You can do this one of two ways:

5. To Host and Start your meeting be sure you are logged into your account. You may consider sending the get started instructions & tips for Guests as highlighted below, or cover them verbally once you start your Zoom.

6. If you want to include the kids, consider opening a Breakout Room so they have their own space for connecting and chatting. Once your meeting starts, you can find the Breakout Room button on the bottom menu towards the right (must be turned on in Settings). You can create rooms and assign who goes where. Once they click “Join” they will move to the assigned room.

As a Zoom Guest:

1. Click on the Zoom invitation link you received from your host and log into your account (or Create your Zoom account here).
2. Check/Select your Audio and Video settings at the bottom left of screen to turn on/off Audio and/or Video.  
3. If you want to see everyone at one time (encouraged!) move to Gallery View by selecting the setting in the upper right corner (grid icon with 9 dots). And Yes, I realize it may remind you of this. :)

Here are some additional tips for both leaders & guests to make the most of your meetings:

Feel free to let us know if you need any help or guidance, or if you have more ideas, tips, or tricks to share with others! Please let us know if you want to join a group.

Have fun & stay healthy!

Tony Bolander
Deacon of Benevolence and Groups

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Tony is a deacon of Coram Deo Church who serves the benevolence and groups ministries. He lives in Bremerton with his wife Allison and their four children. He enjoys exploring the PacNW on land and water, traveling with family, and coaching little league. Go Mariners!

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