Resources Collected by the Commission on Thriving Congregations
Tech Pastoring in the Time of COVID-19:
Rev. Bruce-Reyes Chow is hosting a Zoom Worship Webinar every Monday morning at 11 am EST with pastors around the country. It is very useful and supportive. Link here.
…is livestreaming their evening prayer services every day at 8:30 PM CET (3:30 pm EST): https://www.facebook.com/taize/
Discounts on Software and Hardware for Nonprofits, including Zoom: TechSoup
https://www.techsoup.org/ Tech Soup is a clearinghouse for non-profits, libraries and other charities to receive deep discounts on software and hardware. You are eligible for a tech soup account by using the PC(USA)’s 501(c)3 tax exempt number (contact Presbytery for that info). Once you have a Tech Soup Account you can request various software programs through them for deeply discounted rates – including Zoom, Microsoft products, Adobe, Windows upgrades, Quickbooks etc…
Sample Process for Checking-in with Members
(Email Letter that Brown Memorial leaders sent out Monday March 16):
The deacons, elders and clergy are concerned about our congregation experiencing potential sickness, isolation or other disruption to their lives because of the coronavirus, We want you to know that we are here to help.
Please let us know what kinds of help you need. We also know some of you may be in a position to offer assistance of many kinds. In order to help us identify those who may need more proactive assistance, we ask everyone who is receiving this email to please respond and let us know:
1.) How are you? Are there immediate needs that your church family should know about? Examples might include: “I live alone and would like someone to check in on me by phone periodically”, or “I’d like to join Brown Memorial worship but I don’t know how to use my computer to connect.”
2.) Are there particular ways that you’d like to help others? e.g. “I’m good with technology and could help someone connect in worship on Sunday”. Or “I’d be willing to make a grocery run for someone who’s stuck at home.”
3. We are considering organizing the congregation into smaller units (e.g. groups of 5-10). Would you be interested/willing to be a team captain, helping your group to get organized by text, email, or phone, to make sure that no one gets overlooked?
Thanks in advance,
Your deacon and elder/elders
Sample Zoom Instructions for Worship, Bible Study, and Prayer Services
Zoom gatherings are fairly easy to navigate but do take some familiarity. One of the nice features about Zoom gatherings is that they can be accessed from any kind of phone, even landlines. To get the most out of the Zoom experience we recommend using a computer with a camera (most have them built in these days) or a smartphone. However, if you have any difficulty with either of those methods simply call the number in the invitation. Smartphones can use the OneTouch Dialing feature and do not need the Meeting ID. Traditional phones will require punching in the Meeting ID after dialing the number.
When you first use zoom, you will be asked to download the zoom software onto your computer. While this process is automatic, you may wish to do it in advance of your first gathering simply by clicking on the link to the gathering.
Zoom also has many video tutorials that can be found here.
Pastor Andrew’s Tips for a Good Zoom Gathering:
- Click the zoom link early to familiarize yourself with the controls and iron our any kinks. This link is located under the Join Zoom Meeting heading in the invitation. The default setting for when you join the gathering is for your video to be on and your audio muted. You can change these settings once you’ve joined the meeting.
- If you have trouble with audio or video, you can always default to the conference call option.
- Take care to mute yourself when you are not speaking. This cuts down on feedback and background noise. The hosts have the power to mute and will use it from time to time when appropriate. Also, be sure to unmute yourself when you speak.
- Use the chat feature to ask questions. This cuts down on interruptions and helps the flow of the meeting. We will also be using the chat feature to collect prayers during worship.
- Take note of the multiple ways you can switch screen views. You can choose between a “Brady Bunch” view of many people on your screen or a “presenter” view of the active speaker filling your screen. At times we will be sharing our computer screens with you for parts of worship. If your zoom window covers content you should be able to click and drag it out of the way.