As we safely navigate the return of in-person meetings, it looks like the days ahead are going to call for even more creativity in how we facilitate small groups. Is your men’s group up for the challenge?
We want to let you know about some resources available for men’s studies, plus we’ll highlight a couple of churches and their plan/strategy for getting their guys together.
It has been interesting to see groups connect and study online, which may be one thing that continues long after Covid-19 is gone. For those unable to meet with others physically, virtual meetings are a great way to keep them connected to their small group. There are several virtual ways for groups to study together, which your church is probably already using. But here are a few suggestions in case you’re looking:
- Google Hangouts: hangouts.google.com
- Free resource. Host 25 people on a call, with no time limit until September 2020.
- Zoom: Zoom.us. The free version hosts up to 100 people for 40 minutes. More time available with a paid subscription.
- Skype: Skype.com. Free resource for iPhone, iPad and Mac. Host up to 50 people.
- FaceTime: Free resource on iPhone and MacBook. Host up to 32 people on Apple devices.
- Houseparty: Houseparty.com. Free resource. Host up to eight people.
- Instagram Live: Instagram.com. Free resource. Invite friends to watch your live video for up to 60 minutes. Offers a video split screen to allow one on-screen guest. Perfect for a live interview. Viewers can make comments and ask questions.
- Facebook Live:Facebook.com. Invite friends to watch your live video. Viewers can make comments and ask questions.
How can this work for a men’s group or any small group Bible study as we move forward? Let’s look at some examples of groups currently meeting:
- Men’s Discipleship Huddle: Six guys meet once a week using Google Hangouts. The facilitator shares Scripture and leads the discussion and prayer time. Email and texts are useful for reminders and sharing further resources or reading material. The meeting lasts for a little more than an hour.
- Men’s Bible Study: A church in central Alabama provided study books for their men to pick up at the church (an outside location for social distancing). The group leader emails reminders each week what chapter to read and a corresponding YouTube video to watch prior to their Zoom meeting on Wednesday nights. In the email, he includes the YouTube link and the Zoom meeting link, ID number and password. The chapter and video are discussed.
- Large Church Men’s group: Another Alabama church has purchased an online video-driven curriculum for men that features weekly 15-minute videos along with downloadable study guides. The guys can do everything from home. No books are required. The men meet on a weekly Zoom call to discuss what they’ve read and viewed.
So what about when we start meeting in person again? Do you have a plan in place for your small group to safely resume? The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions has developed a list of questions, covering many issues to consider as you reopen your buildings. Some of the questions for small groups include:
Will we be able to maintain social distancing guidelines for the specific ministry?
What will be our plan for cleaning and sanitizing before, during and after these gatherings?
Will we have adequate leadership if some step down out of health concerns?
How will we address social and greeting functions that often are a function of group ministries, such as greeting, handshakes, hugs, coffee, snacks, childcare provisions and so on?
Do our meeting areas allow for proper social distancing given the average attendance in the past? Will we be limited in some areas when multiple groups such as Sunday School are gathering?
What ministries or groups would be better served through virtual gatherings and making provisions of materials and curriculum to homes? What about service projects?
How will we address the needs of senior adults who are not technologically engaged and have feelings of isolation and loneliness?
Full document available at “Preparing for What’s Next.”
In light of health concerns, here’s how one church plans to resume their in-person small group Bible studies. The pastor explains, “It was more of a brainstorm to try to figure out how to get people back together during the middle phase of our phased reopening. The concept is to have ‘Man Night Monday’ and ‘Girl Talk Tuesday.’ We would have a quick recap of either the sermon or the Sunday School lesson from that week, and guys could sit at tables 6’ apart from each other, discuss how the main ideas apply to them, and just talk and pray with each other. The reason we have them on different nights is that families are not going to be ready to have their kids in childcare (and we aren’t prepared to have them either), so this gives both parents a chance to participate in a group while the other parent stays at home with kiddos.”
Your men’s group may consider offering a hybrid study of online and in-person once your church resumes in-person, meetings to accommodate your guys who are at-risk or have other health concerns. If you find yourself searching for study, curriculum, or video ideas, here’s a list of some recommendations.
As always, you know that we are here to serve you. Let us know how we can help you and your small group as we walk through this transition together.
Free Online Men’s Videos:
RightNow Media: Rightnowmedia.org. Take advantage of free limited access to thousands of videos for men, small groups, personal devotionals, family devotionals, and much more. A few of the men’s studies include Point Man by Steve Farrar, Man Alive by Patrick Morely, Dare to Be Uncommon by Tony Dungy, Play the Man by Mark Batterson, and many more. Most studies have downloadable resources, some are free and some for purchase.
33 The Series. Vimeo.com. Videos are about 30 mins each. A multi-volume video series that gives men a vision for manhood as modeled by Jesus in his 33 years on earth. Study guides available for purchase.
Finishing Strong Study. Youtube.com. One hour-long videos feature Rick Burgess teaching through Steve Farrar’s book, which challenges men to follow Christ in a way that enables them to overcome their past so that they finish well.
Other men’s ministry video resources may be found by searching YouTube.
Men’s Online Resources for Purchase:
The Pursuit. TheManChurch.com. A 40-week, video-driven discipleship curriculum by Rick Burgess designed to empower men to become who God has created them to be. The videos are about 15 minutes each.
RightNow Media. Rightnowmedia.com. With a paid subscription, you have access to over 20,000 videos and downloadable resources for men and families.
LifeWay Men. LifeWay.com. Videos and books available such as Tony Evans’ No More Excuses and Eric Geiger’s Unfolded.
For more information about men’s ministry among Alabama Baptist, please contact State Missionary Larry Hyche at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 268, or (334) 613-2268, firstname.lastname@example.org