Tips and tricks for taking your church committee meetings to Zoom

In addition to it being Lent, there is a ton of work that typically goes on in the church this time of year — everything from finance to administration to staff parish relations — and the suspension of worship, along with state and CDC guidelines on group gatherings means you’ll need to use your church’s Zoom account to keep things moving.

The Regional Media Resource Center in Des Moines, Wash., offers the following tips and guidelines for how to best accomplish this:

  • First, be careful with your Zoom account login information. By default, Zoom saves login information. Extra people logged into the account could mistakenly cause a scheduled meeting to be disconnected.
  • Your account is allowed to be logged in on one computer, one tablet, and one phone at the same time. (which can be handy for presenting or screen sharing on a second device. Just be sure to only have only one microphone active at any given time)

    If you decide to share the account, use the email address of someone that won’t mind a few extra notifications. Typically, that person will get an email if someone shows up for a meeting before the host arrives. You can change the email address for the account in your settings by logging into the zoom.us website with your account.
  • When you have groups meeting remotely, it can be helpful for the person setting up the meeting to allow people to “join before host” in the Zoom account settings. When that option is enabled, meetings can proceed without the account “owner” present. Without the host joining, the meeting can exceed the 40-minute limit free accounts have but you do lose a few options only hosts can perform like recording and some management of the other attendees.
  • Scheduling meetings can be done in a web browser (https://zoom.us/meeting/schedule ) or by logging into the Zoom application on your computer or device. After a meeting has been scheduled, (or if you open any meeting you’ve scheduled in your account,) you can copy the invitation that will need to be sent to attendees via email.
  • Developing a regular practice of scheduling your meetings on Zoom in advance is critical if you plan to use the account to support multiple committees and the church’s pastoral work. During this time where the facility may be off limits, think of your account’s schedule as you would a particular room in your church building — one meeting at a time.
  • As your members use Zoom more, some may even grow to like it. Don’t forget to consider how to utilize the free plans Zoom offers. These plans can support unlimited 1 to 1 meetings between church members (40 minutes for groups up to 100 when a free account is the host), and could provide those physically isolated (with internet) some essential face time with family and friends.
  • Zoom actually has a fantastic support site where they’ve anticipated lots of the questions people commonly have. You can find it here:

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