How To Take Your small group Ministry Online
You know that starting a church ministry is a worthwhile effort, but in this day and age, starting an online ministry for people is key. Adult small group ministry is needed in-person, but there are so many reasons why you should also take your ministry online.
WHY SETTING UP ONLINE ADULT SMALL GROUP MINISTRY MATTERS
Starting an online ministry doesn’t mean replacing your in-person adult small group ministry. Think of this as expanding and supplementing your church ministry. In 2022, there are many reasons to take your small group ministry online. Here are a few to think about:
- Bad weather
- Greater reach for your adult small group ministry
- People who’ve recently moved away or gone to college but want to stay connected
- People who can’t attend in person because of illness, special needs, travel, etc. but want to be in a small group
But knowing it’s a great idea isn’t enough. In order to take action, you may be looking for a little help. We’ve got you covered!
HOW TO MAKE YOUR ONLINE SMALL GROUP MINISTRY HAPPEN
Ready to take your adult small group ministry online? Yes, but how? Maybe you’re concerned because you:
- Aren’t very tech-savvy
- Are out of time
- Don’t know how to adapt your young adults curriculum to an online experience
- Don’t have time or energy to rethink your whole teaching strategy
No worries! We’ll walk you through the steps on how to start an online ministry for adults.
First, choose a format for your online small group ministry:
- Post a pre-recorded 1-minute sermon video online.
- Produce a complete pre-recorded sermon video.
- Host a live and interactive video conversation.
Next, choose your effort level:
- LEVEL 1: Super Easy
- For the weeks when you don’t have much time (or energy).
- LEVEL 2: A Little More Effort
- For when you have a little more time. And have taken a nap.
- LEVEL 3: Lots of Effort
- For the weeks you have lots of creativity and time on your hands.
We’ve got the teaching instructions for starting an online ministry right below (or adapt for your small group ministry).
Follow the instructions below to establish your small group online ministry through level-specific annual planning and teaching ideas.
- LEVEL 1: Plan your Teaching Strategy by having an Annual Planning Meeting to prepare and lay out the plans for the whole year, if possible.
- LEVEL 2/3: At your Annual Planning Meeting, in addition to planning out your teaching strategy, plan out the details for other small group ministry strategies, such as discipleship, volunteers, events, etc. – increasing how much planning you do per effort level chosen.
- 1-Minute Sermon:
- LEVEL 1: Post or send a 1-Minute Sermon Video for your small group.
- LEVEL 2: Post or send a 1-Minute Sermon Video. Use a few questions from your small group teaching plan to lead a discussion through social media or group text.
- LEVEL 3: Post or send a 1-Minute Sermon Video. Lead a devotional and discussion based on your small group lesson plans on a video call or a live-stream on social media.
- Sermon Video:
- LEVEL 1: Pre-record and share a brief teaching video (5-10 minutes) using ideas from your sermon or lesson plans.
- LEVEL 2: Pre-record and share a brief teaching video (5-10 minutes) using your sermon or small group lesson plans, including at least one visual like an object lesson, video, or image. Use a few questions from your teaching plans to lead a discussion through social media, video call, or group text.
- LEVEL 3: Pre-record and share a series of teaching videos (1-5 minutes each) by breaking your sermon plan into short segments and sharing those videos throughout the week. Use questions from your teaching plans to lead a small group discussion through social media, video call, or group text.
- Video Call:
- LEVEL 1: Host an interactive video conversation using 3-5 ideas based on your teaching theme and include a few discussion questions.
- LEVEL 2: Host an interactive video conversation using ideas from your small group teaching plans and a few discussion questions, including at least one visual like an object lesson, video, or image.
- LEVEL 3: Host an interactive video conversation using your teaching theme ideas and discussion questions, including at least one visual like an object lesson, video, or image plus a time of reflection or response.
Once you have your adult small group teaching plans in place, you’ll have enough information to get started taking the ministry online – but you’ll need a few tools to help you!
THE TOOLS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE ONLINE SMALL GROUP MINISTRY HAPPEN
You may be wondering what is required to set up your online ministry besides the planning. Yes, there are tools you’ll need! We’ve broken them down into the must-haves and the suggested tools to help you out.
- Your church’s website or social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
- A small group curriculum you’ve purchased or created (like Grow Curriculum)
- Tools to communicate with your people:
- An email service (MailChimp, Constant Contact, or similar)
- Hubs from Stuff You Can Use for communicating with participants and volunteers (combines calendar events, announcements and private messaging all in one location)
- Texting services (Clearstream, Flocknote, or similar)
- A camera or two (your phone will work!)
- A microphone (affordable microphone choices for online teaching)
- A tool to stream to Facebook (LiveReacting or BeLive)
- Video editing software (video editing choices)
- Graphics editing software (Photoshop, Canva, or free graphics editing choices)
- Zoom for group discussions
Now that you have the steps, instructions, and tools for starting an adult small group online ministry, are you ready to change your church for the better?
HOW ONLINE SMALL GROUP MINISTRY CAN CHANGE YOUR CHURCH FOR THE BETTER
Your adult small group ministry is so important and starting an online ministry doesn’t replace it, but supplements it. Consider the following ways that starting an online ministry can make your awesome church even better…
- Keep people connected online when you can’t meet in person.
- Expand the reach for your small group ministry when your people share with their networks or the algorithms recommend your ministry to others.
- People who don’t attend church regularly (through no choice of their own) can still stay connected and not feel alienated.
- Adults with special needs or who are experiencing illness or tragedy don’t have to be disconnected from your ministry.
- Give guests or potential visitors an inside look at your small group ministry before they arrive because coming to a new church can be intimidating.
Ready to take your small group ministry online? We’re excited for you to take that step! And remember, you can always choose Grow Curriculum to give you all the teaching and tools in one shot, done-for-you, and follow the included online hacks to take your program online.
Every teaching series in Grow Groups is easy to convert into an online discussion for small groups, using the formats we’ve given you in this post.
The Grow Team
A team packed with pastors, ministry leaders, writers, editors, designers, project managers, app developers, and more! The Grow Team works to bring curriculum and ministry strategy to church leaders everywhere.