Zoom (and all the other virtual meeting platforms) have become more and more common place for just about everyone. Why not launch a virtual men’s study group using one of the Jesus Way Journey modules?
There are now three different modules to choose from:
The Jesus Way, The Jesus Way: The Bible, and The Jesus Way: Listening to God.
[Click here to get more information, a sample lesson, and for how to get your copy of these resources!]
Setting Up a Virtual Men’s Group
There are many ways one could go about setting up a virtual men’s study group. Following the guidelines in the Best Practices section, here are a couple of additional suggestions to help facilitate the nuances of a virtual gathering:
1. Pick a time each week that works best for the men you are inviting.
If you are inviting men with children at home, maybe a time could be found after the children have gone to bed, say a 9pm or 9:30pm start time on a weeknight? Limit the time to one hour.
If you are targeting men who are retired, they might welcome a morning start time over coffee.
2. Set some ground rules for the virtual reality of the gathering.
a. After a time of greeting, invite every participant to mute themselves until called upon to speak.
b. Choose one person to moderate the session. Assign different sections of the study to different men to lead i.e. one man leads the Making Ready section and then another man is responsible for leading the Checking Our Behavioral Roadmap section and so on.
c. To speak, a man will raise his hand to be called on by the one leading that section. As the conversation gains traction, the spontaneous nature of the dialogue will override the “raising of hands” procedure, and that’s okay. It will be up to the one leading that section to make sure everyone gets a chance to speak and encourage people to mute themselves when not talking. Structured chaos allows for the greatest impact of these materials.
d. After the initial awkwardness wears off, the group will develop its personality and flow in the use of the virtual platform.
3. Make good use of the Chat feature on your virtual platform.
a. As questions arise, encourage each man to write out their question in the Chat. This will allow the dialogue to continue its course without losing the importance of the question. When the current dialogue pauses, turn to the questions in the Chat.
b. As new insights arise, invite each man to share their insights in the Chat. This allows the Chat feature to serve as a running notebook or log for the group. This is an advantage that a virtual gathering provides that is not always present in face-to-face gatherings. As the insights are shared, they become topics for further conversation. Take the time to explore those topics and questions.
[Note: It is more important to explore the insights and questions raised in the group than it is to complete a session in the allotted hour! Some groups will spend several weeks on one sessions material, talking it through, before moving to the next session in the material. One of the most valuable parts of The Jesus Way Journey is each man’s interpretation of the materials for his own life. Hearing another’s story feeds and fuels other men in their faith journey.]
c. Print off the Chat after each session for further reference and make sure each man in the group receives a copy.
A virtual gathering in today’s world has become a wonderful option for men’s studies. It is not just a makeshift experience while we wait for the full return to the church and its activities. A virtual gathering allows men to participate who could not otherwise attend, for a variety of reasons. Finding an hour that does require getting childcare or driving at night or being away from home “for another church meeting” can be a real blessing!
Greg (email@example.com)and Alex (firstname.lastname@example.org) are available to assist you with any questions you may have about The Jesus Way Journey and launching one in your congregation.