Practice Session/First Meeting (30 minutes)
- It can be helpful to have a 30 minute practice session together, or take the first half of your first online group get everyone acquainted with how an online group will work.
- Review online etiquette/best practices.
- You may want to review some of these talking points the first several meetings until people figure it out.
- Help people learn how to use the technology and answer any questions.
- If you are a new group, make sure to introduce yourself, share you name, and share how you got connected with NLCC and the online group.
- End by sharing prayer requests; have 1 person pray.
Typical Meeting (45-60 minutes)
Connect - 15-20 minutes
- Welcome people as they login (people tend to arrive late online, just like in-person groups).
- Let people know the timeline and basic agenda you’re aiming for, for example, “I’m planning on us going until about 9:00. I’d like to give us time to check in, to read and discuss a little from the Scriptures, and to pray for each other.”
- Begin with ice breaker or check-in questions. It usually works best if you say, “Bill, would you be the first to answer?” rather than just opening it up. If you do open it up, and people are a little bit hesitant to speak (it can be embarrassing to speak at the same time as someone else), just gently call on someone.
Read/Watch/Discuss - 30-40 minutes
- If you are using sermon discussion questions, proceed with the study. Remember, in general people’s attention span is a little shorter in an online format.
- If you are using Right Now Media, make sure the video is cued up before your meeting. At the appropriate time, share your screen and play the video. When the video is finished, lead the group in discussion.
- If you are just opening up a Scripture (perhaps from Life Journaling), read portions of the Scripture, pausing to give people time to respond. Aim to finish the discussion with application questions.
Prayer and Wrap Up – 10-20 minutes
- Ask for any prayer requests.
- How you pray together depends on your group:
- You could have one person pray for each individual request as it is shared.
- After collecting the requests, ask 2-3 people to pray for the requests on behalf of the whole group.
- If your group is fairly large (more than 10), you may choose to create breakout rooms in order to facilitate more personal prayer.
- After all requests have been spoken in prayer, ask 1 person to wrap up in prayer.
- Encourage people to text each other afterward for further prayer requests and to pray together. (Prayer Ideas: men’s group text, women’s group text, whole group text, prayer partners.)