lunes, 22 de marzo de 2010


Continuing from the last post… here are some additional ideas on how technology can support small groups:
An exciting recent development is the maturing of online video chat services like Skype and TokBox. Plagued for years by spotty service and poor video quality, they’re now ready for prime time. Live video has a “face-to-face” benefit over email, text-based chat, and voice-only conference calling. It’s a great way to do an online group with people who are physically separated and have a strong affinity.

But is it “real” community? Well… yeah! Alan Danielson launched a TokBox group for group life pastors around the country, and we experienced a deeper level of intimacy and accountability than I have experienced in some living room groups. Even though some of us have never met in person, we’ve supported and encouraged each other… and grown together.

Churches could encourage the formation of online groups to serve highly specialized affinities like moms through adoption, dads of ADHD boys, or left-handed accountants… groups that may never meet in person. But the greatest benefit may be to provide an intermediate connection point for groups that do gather, but infrequently. TokBox huddles (coach with leaders) are just starting to be explored, and there is huge potential here.

YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, PhotoBucket, and other media sharing sites (even FaceBook or a group blog) let you post videos and photos of members, group events, and serving projects. Be sure somebody grabs some video every time your group does a serving project. Posting these can encourage others to engage in serving. Keeping an online record of group activities lets new or potential group members get up to speed on the group’s common history very quickly. It can reduce the amount of time that a new group member feels like a visitor.

Short videos, shown during weekend services and later posted online, can spotlight the latest all-church curriculum or to set up each week’s study when using a sermon-based curriculum. Great (sometimes funny) videos are a great way to encourage your unconnected attendees to join and participate in groups. You can even use videos to train your leaders and coaches.

The Big Caveat: Use technology where it makes sense, but don’t replace face-to-face contact. Sometimes a quick phone call beats texting, a DM, or an email. You can hear and respond to the emotion in a person’s voice. This reduces the possibility of misunderstanding a hastily written email or an overly terse DM. Even with high-rez video chat it’s easier to “hide” online, not letting your real feelings and emotions show. For spiritual direction, friendship and coaching, there’s nothing like looking someone in the eye. And for me, a real hug is still more satisfying than a trackpad.


A continuación, un precioso artículo que entre varias cosas menciona la importancia de sacarle provecho a la tecnología, en el área de los Grupos Pequeños.
This week my friend Reid Smith asked me if I had any thoughts on how technology could support community. I started jotting down some ideas and before long had quite a list! In fact, we’ll split it into two posts. Here goes…

Technology can revolutionize routine communication. A FaceBook page (and messages to fans) can keep announcements, time changes, common goals, etc. in front of everybody… all at once. If your group isn’t FaceBook friendly, though, you’ll lose some folks. They still need to check it… It doesn’t automatically come to them. Good old emails, though, go right to them. As long as they pay attention, they’ll get the message.

An example: Share prayer requests ahead of your group meeting by jotting the request in an email (Tweets work, too) and sending out to the group. The act of committing requests to writing forces brevity, saving much time (and rambling) when the group gathers. You can always add last-minute requests and updates, but the group can concentrate on prayer, not just taking requests. Assign someone to compile requests and keep track of resolutions (answers to those prayers) as they come in.

Tweets ( are great for keeping momentum up between meetings. Frequent real-time prayer requests and responses keep group members in each other’s minds and hearts. You can also cut “check-in” time (“what’s going on in your life since our last meeting?”) in half if members are following each other’s tweets. The discussion shifts from the background narrative (routine stuff) to specifics (“Hey, I prayed when I saw that Tweet. how did it turn out?”).

A public blog is great for sharing general info about group studies and outreach projects. Everyone can contribute as an author (multi-author blog) or at least leave comments (single-author blog). Point potential new members, other leaders, and even your coach to your group’s blog so they can see what you are doing and be encouraged to join, copy, or promote your activities.

A private blog lets you share more personal thoughts and maintain accountability without the fear of “going public.” Our small group used the Soul Revolution site for this when we did that study together.

The more frequently group members hang out informally, the better. GPS-enabled smartphones make this easy if you want to track each other and grab a coffee, etc. Want to gather daily, like the Acts 2 church? There’s an App for that!

YouVersion and other online Bible-reading applications make it easy to maintain a common reading plan for the group. It’s one more way to keep your group on the same page, encourage each other, apply scripture together, and hold each other accountable.

In the next post, we’ll hit some additional social media and group technology tools.

Por Dave Treat
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...