Church canceling bible studies during coronavirus

We are canceling bible studies for the next couple of weeks and we were wondering what can be done to connect bible studies together remotely, virtually? how do we keep these ministries (bible studies) going keep people connected. Since this is unprecedented in my lifetime. if anyone has any ideas?
Zoom, Skype, Skype for business, Teams, Facebook.

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A lot of the business focused tools are going to be tough for small groups to get their hands on and/or not very competitive price-wise. Consumer Skype, Facebook and Google Duo are probably great, easy, cross-platform options to test.

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I noticed that Teams has a live meeting option that can have outside attendees. But, I’m curious what others are considering.

Almost every meeting product doesn’t require attendees to be licensed - but it does require the host to be licensed. That means, either all of your small groups must be hosted by staff or you buy licenses for all of your group hosts and ensure they know how to use and support the product.

We’ve been thinking about this possibility as well, my thought would be to have the campus Discipleship director be the “host license” and help with logistics and then we throw together a quick public sharepoint site that can be shared with tips, news, helpful links, and files that different groups may need. It may, in a positive way, force us to update the way that we meet and share with the different small groups and maybe grow that lane in the future.

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I’ve been focusing on getting Staff up to speed on MS Teams. I tested it yesterday and seems to fit the bill. i’ve been writing up instructions for our staff.

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This is exactly what we did for staff today. We had several ministries on Teams, but, not all. Here’s what I sent out to staff today.

We have a collaboration tool called Microsoft Teams that brings together Chat (instant messaging), calling (currently only internal calls), video meetings and File Sharing (SharePoint). If you have a need to include people that do not have a yourchurch.com email address in your meetings, please let us know.

The information below will answer many of your questions, however, for those lingering questions, we will be available during the IT Open House from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. this Thursday, March 12.

To access Teams:

Browser : Teams.Microsoft.com

PC : Click on the Windows key and Type Teams

Mac : Click on Launchpad or Spotlight and Type Teams. If Teams is not on your device, go to MacManage and install from there. If you do not have MacManage, contactsupport@CyberianIT.com to ask them to install Addigy, the Apple management tool, on your device.

Phone/Tablet : Install the Microsoft Teams application from the App Store or the Google Play Store.

How to Use Teams : Pages 2-4 of this document provide steps for signing in and using Teams. Page 1 is a Quick Start Guide that points out the various features of Teams.

Below are additional training Options:

Follow the articles in this quick start to get up to speed quickly

Teams interactive demo

Teams training channel on YouTube

Microsoft has also provided free training, tutorials, and videos for Microsoft Teams here and here.

We had some ministry areas making good use of teams, but, some of our hold outs have jumped right in. We have one catch-all team for everyone.

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Great idea about the “catch-all team”

Both Zoom (My preference) and Webex have announced unlimited length free accounts (usually limited to 40 minutes) for a period of time with 100 User per account for free during this season

MS teams is a great option - with Non profit Microsoft your team can have access to the Teams license (Free), and if you want to add the Teleconference option where your meeting will include a dial in local or 800 phone number and a meeting id if they do not have a device or computer to connect to you can add that on a per user basis for about $5 ish per month (depending on license plan)

As an added note you may have to tune your teams settings to allow quests to join outside your organization

I don’t see the zoom unlimited length free accounts announcement. I’ve enabled public access in Teams but the unfortunate thing is the outside member still has to go through the creating a MS account with their personal email address. I was hoping there’d be a setting to disable that. oh well. it’s still a great option.

Here is an article that outlines various online meeting tools and changes to their services in relation to CV

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For small groups, you might consider using Skype since many people are comfortable with it from the pre-Facetime days. Skype provides a free way of creating a meeting link with their “Meet Now” functionality. Can create that with no login at this link https://www.skype.com/en/free-conference-call/ or you can create the link from within the Skype app. Share it however you want, etc. May be a one-time use link, I dunno.

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Jason,
this is exactly what we landed on for quick, simple, unmanaged meetups for small groups and outside ministries. Here’s a quick “how to” we made up, for out ministry leaders to send out.

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Jeff and Jason,
That is what we landed on too for small group meetings. I connected to small group yesterday and it worked great. If everyone shares their video is gets a bit busy but most had their camera’s disabled. We just asked that each person announce their name before they contribute to the group discussion.

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