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Zoom – where to find the low down

In the current climate many of us are scrabbling to find effective means of being church. Zoom, an online conferencing and webinar tool, can help with gathering church together. This short blog is basically an advertorial for a tool which millions of people around the globe are currently using.

From today schools across the UK will be using Zoom to hook pupils to each other and their teachers in their own homes, and thousands of Churches used Zoom yesterday in one form or another.

Here are two ways you could use the tool, and the great news is that Zoom have put together a series of short video tutorials to guide you step by step on what to do. Find them at https://zoom.us/resources. There is also a special set of resources which they’ve developed specifically for such a time as this https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/covid19.html. Basically you can:

  • create Zoom on-line meetings where the whole church can gather – there are pricing plans to cater for gatherings of differing sizes and meeting durations https://zoom.us/pricing
  • use Zoom to record a service, a thought for the day, a sermon, anything you that can be captured by a camera and microphone. Upload the video for others to access via Facebook, WhatsApp or streaming sites like YouTube or Vimeo (see other posts for details)

Our church has taken a monthly subscription to the Pro plan which meets our needs. Factor in VAT to the prices shown and remember an annual subscription slightly cheaper.  The cost for us is below £15 per month, which is a fraction of what we would normally spend on heating and lighting our building.  We’ve explained to the Fellowship that we’re renting a room to meet – it’s easier not to get technical, and there really is no need.

If you want to chat about what might work in your situation feel free to post a reply and I’ll contact you.

 

Neil Walker looks after many of Partnership’s IT services and has been a career IT Educator.  He is an elder in a local assembly

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. David Shepherd

    We have started to use Zoom and though it took a little while to get my head around and set up, it wasn’t too difficult for me, a relatively non-tech savvy person, to get up to speed. They have lots of tutorial material on the website including videos. One of the attractive parts for me is that as well as the visual online experience, you can also dial in on a landline, helpful for some of the members who have no/limited internet. One or two may need to be talked through how to set it up – a few couldn’t get in on the first try but I have high hopes for getting everyone on. If people can use laptop/tablet/smartphone it is really encouraging to see each others’ faces , especially for those (like me) who live alone and may not have much/any human contact at the moment. I think this is an ideal way for small/medium sized groups to meet. It may present increasing problems for larger gatherings, and the format may need to be adjusted accordingly. There is the facility, which I haven’t explored yet, to send people ‘out’ on smaller groups to chat and pray together. Recommend giving it a try, and for most probably worth splashing out the £15 for the paid version.
    David Shepherd (Southam Road Evangelical Church, Banbury)

  2. Roger Bird

    We are using Zoom for a daily prayer meeting, which is a great way to keep in contact with the congregation, share and pray together. Well worth using the Pro version at £15 per month as it allows you unlimited time. The free version only allows 40 minutes before cutting off, although you can log back in and continue but this does break the continuity.
    It is amazing how 40 minutes soon passes once people start to share and pray!
    We are also using it on Sunday mornings to gather more of the congregation, when we can show videos, text and have shared communion together, by asking everyone to have a piece of bread and wine at the appropriate time. It works well, and people really appreciate it.
    You will probably come across a few glitches as you use the program, but these can be easily sorted out in the settings. One thing we found was when showing a video,is to make sure the tick boxes were activated to enhance the sound and vision. All in all, a real positive tool.

    Roger Bird (Elder at Abbey Chapel, Tavistock)

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