The traditional way of holding meetings, making follow-ups, taking notes, assigning tasks, and scheduling meetings by church leaders has now taken a new shape. The leaders do not have to meet with their staff members or hold church committee meetings physically. With the current technological trend, meetings can take place anywhere and at any time. Leaders can use many various tools to reach out to their staff.
The virtual meeting tools offer a productive, time-efficient, and a quick way to hold virtual meetings. Since most people have the tools at their disposal, it’s easier to schedule meetings. Church leaders do not need a lot of investments to make virtual meetings successful.
Here are the best eight tools that churches would find helpful when planning to hold virtual meetings.
Let’s get the big one out of the way right off the bat. Zoom is one of the high tech conferencing software apps around the world. It’s a suitable tool for church leaders to hold virtual meetings with their staff. It creates a connection on occasions when they cannot meet physically.
Zoom offers cloud-based video conferencing experience, using either videos or audio or both while conducting live chats. Church staff members can join meetings through a webcam or any mobile device.
Zoom’s main features and advantages include:
- Group video conferencing- Hosts a maximum of 500 participants. You can still hold a free group video conference up to 40 minutes with 100 people.
- Screen sharing. People can share what they see on the screen with other participants.
- Mobile friendly. It is compatible for both Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Linux users allowing them to connect anywhere through the internet.
- Secure collaboration. An organization that zooms together stays together. Zoom allows users to share internal and confidential documents and take control of the keyboard, the whiteboard, and the mouse.
- Participants have the freedom to raise hands and ask questions or contribute to the meeting through breakout groups or small group collaborations as the session continues
- High security. Zoom offers a Secure Socket Layer that allows private login with the username and password, with admins feature and access control.
- When using the free version, Zoom allows an unlimited number of meetings and various meeting sessions.
Don’t Like Zoom? Try Join.me
As an alternative to Zoom, the Join.me platform offers rich video conferencing features. It’s an excellent platform for church leaders to host staff meetings and committee conferences. The platform provides high-resolution live streaming videos, creating a connecting for the participants.
Benefits of Using Join.me:
- It offers team collaboration, precise communication, centralized data for all participants, intuitive interface, and connects the team closer regardless of location
- Join.me is a high tech tool maintained by a top developer, which means it offers a high-end technological experience to the user with minimal tech hitches
- It’s easy to use when joining or initiating a meeting, and its software provides consistency and versatility to the users
- Church leaders and the staff can share ideas in real-time, and they don’t have to create an account or download the software
- It allows ten people per session and has VoIP capabilities. Other versions also enable more participants to up to 250, with unlimited phone dial-in.
- Participants can also share window options, create their style of representing data, store meeting information and easy documentation.
Lets All Dial In … With Free Conference Calling
Get off the internet and onto the phone lines with your team by opening a free account at FreeConferenceCallHD.com. I’ve been using this service for years and it really helps if your folks “don’t do Internet” well. As the moderator or “host,” you can manage the call from a web based dashboard if you like, allowing you to record the meeting, mute and unmute participants, and even broadcast pre-recorded audio.
Imagine having all your team on a live phone-in conference call using the above Free Conference Calling HD, your phone laying on your desk by your computer with speaker mode activated, and everyone in the meeting doing the same… while looking online at the same document and editing it together, live in real time. That’s what Google Docs can do for you.
Google Docs is free and comes with a Gmail email address. I’ve had team meetings in the past using a phone line and Google Docs and loved it.
The great thing about Google Docs is, after you create a document (it works like Word for Windows but it’s entirely online in a browser), you can share it with or without editing permissions with anyone. Changes to the document happen in real time, right in front of everyone’s eyes. So collaborating on by-laws, a letter, planning a special service or ceremony, can all happen in-the-moment and then leave you with a document that can be shared, printed or exported in just about any format, including Microsoft Word or PDF.
Have a hard time finding out when everyone on your team is available for your virtual meeting? Doodle can help with that. Doodle helps users to schedule meetings through the web.
Here’s how it works. Users can select checkboxes for the specific meeting date, time, or the number of days it will hold. The leaders can choose the date and time and let the staff decide their suitable and available time for the meeting.
Doodle also allows one to create a Doodle URL where all participants can see the schedule and send meeting requests. Its features include automated reminders, calendars, and end-to-end encryption. One can see the meeting appointment when they connect the calendar to their Doodle account. It also allows additional automatic events to the schedule.
There are limitations when the church leaders have a big group to call or text. Sometimes, it gets unrealistically impossible. Remind App allows church leaders to easily manage large committees or meeting, keeping in contact with all of them through text and email. It also enables a breakdown of the information in various age groups of the participants. Church leaders can easily log in to the website, send out mass texts, and receive individual responses at no cost.
How to Use Remind App:
- Download and create an account
- Create various groups and name them differently
- Create a handle that will allow users to subscribe for notifications
- Let the team or group members sign up by texting the primary user
- The members will get a text or email notification and reply individually
It is fast and allows instant message delivery to various groups. Church leaders can also schedule announcements before the meeting date and attach photos or other relevant. It is easily accessible, allowing leaders to send a text to any member’s phone. Remind App is also practical, allowing the sender to see delivered and read information. It has reminder guidelines and provides security to the user’s personal information.
Slack is a free communication tool that allows you to add members into a private communication channel inside the app, which can be accessed via app only or on a computer in a web browser. Slack gets you and your team or staff out of email and into a communication thread that notifies you when any new messages are posted. It also allows you to break off teams into subgroups and add more channels that may be project related. Slack is a great way to have real time chat conversations leading up to meetings and to follow up with assigned responsibilities after.
Yes, if you use Slack well, you probably wouldn’t need Remind App. However, I encourage you to try both and think through use cases and decide from there.
Evernote helps church leaders to take notes, collect and re-arrange videos, photos, text, and audio recordings. The information is backed up on Cloud, where every participant can easily access. Evernote saves bulk data, and anyone can access it from anywhere and use the information for reference. Staff members can use it to organize and store their meeting notes and access them later.
In the case of various meetings, the staff can sort their notes according to each session by searching the tags and sharing them with relevant people. Church leaders can also use Evernote to sort various meeting agendas, share the notes to the participants, or use them later. One can access Evernote on the web or install it on the desktop, tablets, or smartphones.
Advantages of using Evernote:
- Helps church leaders organize, quickly sort out and share information using the chat feature or email.
- Take photos of book covers, staff members, workflow, and whiteboards and store the data in the notebook. Guess what? With optical character recognition, whatever you upload or snap a photo of and store in Evernote becomes searchable, therefore easily found inside the app!
- Evernote allows leaders to record voice memos especially if they cannot write down.
- It offers personal emailing into notebook (think forward an email to a notebook for quick storing inside the app) and enables one to save the emailed date directly on the notebook even without opening the App.
- It helps church leaders to clear the desk from many documents, keep receipts, take meeting minutes, pulls out e-quotes, file quotes, illustrations, and share notes to staff members. It allows one to create to-do lists, create workflows, store essential records, and store meeting notes.
Planning for church meetings can be hustle free if church leaders have the right tools to reach out to their staff. The eight tools above will provide a smooth experience to run virtual meetings at any time. For more information, visit: https://gabaptist.org/researchanddevelopment/.