COVID-19: FIVE Advantages of Online Disciple-Making

Virtual gatherings can’t replace a genuine in-person experience. They do, however, provide five distinct advantages you might want to consider during this time of mandatory social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Participants can chat & ask questions without disrupting the conversation. 
Group conversations spark ideas in every group member. Some of those ideas should be shared with the whole group while others need to be directed to only a few members. Sadly, most of these ideas will not be communicated in an in-person gathering due to time and the desire to not talk over others. With a built-in chat room, these ideas or questions can be shared instantaneously with the whole group or targeted people without disrupting the conversation. These ideas can easily be copied and pasted into note taking apps for future use.

2. Groups can divide into breakout rooms for processing, prayer, or accountability.
Groups are great. Subgroups, or what others call Triads or D-Groups, make groups even better by allowing more vulnerable conversations to happen. ZOOM, my favorite virtual meeting app, allows the host to break the meeting into these groups and then bring everyone back together with a few simple clicks. At your next huddle, introduce the group’s topic, then break into these “rooms” to debrief for 15 minutes, then bring the group back together to share the highlights. 

3. Even those that missed don’t really need to miss!
It is impossible for every group member to make every group huddle. Most virtual group platforms allow you to record the experience and share the link with your members. This way, they can do more than hear about the huddle… they can actually hear and see it!

4. You can invest your travel time into something more valuable.
Most group members travel to their in-person huddles. For some, that “to and from” travel can take up to 45 minutes! Since I started using virtual groups, I no longer need to rush through our family meal or ride separately to a ball game like I normally would. I can use that time in more meaningful ways.

5. Disruptions are minimized and potential reach is optimized!
I have relocated with my work three times in the last 25 years. Each move required me to forfeit deeply meaningful disciple-making relationships. Virtual groups significantly reduce this disruption. Even more, virtual groups can allow you to meet regularly with people all over the world! The Disciples Made groups I lead that have people from different countries are blessed with a variety of cultural differences that stretch us to grow. I will be doing more and more of this in the coming years.

Move from Reluctance to Discovery!
I have been leading small groups for over 25 years. When I started Disciples Made, it became critical to make sure we could meet each week to make the most of the experience. That became difficult to do in person with the occasional ice storm in Kansas City. When the first storm was clearly coming on a meeting day, I reluctantly sent a link to a ZOOM huddle to my group. The group was far more meaningful and intimate than I expected and I have continued to use this awesome tool ever since – I even have one group that meets solely via Zoom!

Disciples Made will soon be hosting a FREE webinar on how to leverage online groups to make new disciples, equip leaders, and multiply disciple-makers. Interested? Click here and put “COVID” in the comments box.

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