Here are some of the most-used online tools for virtual Life Group meetings!

GOOGLE HANGOUTS

  • Pros: Free. Unlimited time. Closed Captioning. Accessible via web browser on computer.
  • Cons: Requires a google account for all participants. (can sign up for one HERE). Phone-in option not available unless you have a business account. (If you have a G Suite business account, you can also share a phone number for people to call into the meeting if they don’t have access to a computer or smartphone. GSuite accounts are free till July 1.)
  • Capacity (25 Participants/Devices)
  • How to use: 
    • Open Google Hangouts in web browser or mobile app (apple device , android device, chrome web browser extension)
    • Login
    • Click “Video Call” button
    • Click “Invite People” and type in their email address (If they don’t have a google account it will send them an invite to setup an account)
    • You can also schedule a meeting on your google calendar and send an invite to join you at a specific time, including a link to your online meeting. (See Instructions)
  • Watch 6 minute youtube tutorial.

ZOOM

  • Pros: Free. Only hosts are required to have a Zoom account. There is a phone-in option.
  • Cons: Limited to 40 minutes unless you have a paid account ($14.99/mo). Have to download Zoom application to phone or computer.
  • Capacity (100 participants/Devices)
  • How To Use:
    • Open Zoom in a web browser or mobile app (apple device, android device, chrome web browser extension)
    • Login
    • Click “Host a meeting with video on”
    • Click “Invite participations”
    • Select how you’d like to send an invite: Default Email, Gmail, Yahoo to send email invite or “copy URL”, “Copy Invitation” to copy a link and send it via a text message, email, facebook message, etc.
    • You can also schedule a meeting on the zoom website and send an invite to join you at a specific time, including a link to your online meeting. (See Instructions)
    • For those who don't have a webcam or microphone on their computer, they can call in to the meeting on their phone. In your Zoom account, go to Settings, then Telephone. Under "Global Dial-in Countries/Regions, select Canada (and any other countries you where group members may be dialing in from). In the listing of dial in numbers, look for the 778 number. People call this number, and then enter the 9-digit meeting ID number to join. 
  • Watch tutorial videos in Zoom video library.
  • Watch instructional video specifically designed for Small Group leaders.
  • Some users of Zoom are experiencing Zoom “trolls,” uninvited people joining meetings and then sharing obscene or disruptive content on their screens. Watch this brief video to learn how to guard your meetings against this possibility. One easy way to do this is to only share your meeting link directly and privately with your group, not in public online environments.

FACEBOOK MESSENGER GROUPS

  • Pros: Free. Accessible via web browser on computer. Can access without a facebook account. (If you don’t have a facebook account you’ll need to download the app to your phone and use phone number.)
  • Cons: Phone-in option not available.
  • Capacity (50 participants/Devices: 6 video, 44 audio)
  • How To Use:
    • Open facebook messenger on web browser or mobile app
    • Login (with facebook account or phone number)
    • Click “New Message” button to add facebook friends to group chat
    • After adding contacts, click the “Video Call” button to start video chat.
  • Watch 2 minute tutorial. 

FREECONFERENCECALL.COM

  • If your group is not as tech savvy or doesn’t have the technology to do a video chat, this website offers a free conference call option to phone in. It will be a long distance number most likely.
  • How to use:
    • Sign up for an account HERE
    • Share the dial-in number and access code with your group.