Online Life Groups

We recently launched our 1st “on-line” life group – this functions the same as any other regular life group, but instead of meeting at home, we meet online.

We utilise Skype premium which allows every member to see and hear each other.  This idea has been something simmering in my heart for a long time. When researching the viability, I stumbled across lifechurch.tv (Craig Groeschel) and thought the idea was absolutely brilliant. Our groups run a little differently to lifechurch.tv, but I am thankful to them for being bold enough to pioneer this kind of thing.

The two biggest issues that I anticipated were

  • Technology letting us down
  • The  potential for awkwardness

Firstly, the technology was adequate. We had a few teething problems at the start, but they were quickly sorted out. Any newish computer with above average internet works well enough. We are committed to growing the group at only 1 extra user per week so when/if it starts to slow down or get “glitchy” we will multiply the group.

Secondly, it really didn’t feel awkward… at all! Actually it was quite the opposite – I felt both vulnerable and comfortable. We are really growing into a tight group and all the signs are pointing toward spiritual depth and community.

The main objection I have heard when pitching this idea is that some believe that this method (on-line) contributes to the notion that the internet is enhancing social ineptness and is conducive to people living in a world where the truth is hidden behind walls where people are role playing. I have my opinions, but I will let the fruit speak for itself over time because anything I say at the moment would simply be my untested opinion.

Here is my list of pros and cons… let me know what you think.

Pros

  • Parents with small children can attend
  • Geography is not an issue… at the moment our group has members in Sydney, Mt Tamborine, Southern Gold Coast and Papua New Guinea!
  • Time efficient – we have found that out time together is intense and focussed. We accomplish a lot in a very short time, plus setting up the venue is also unnecessary.
  • We can have global reach and minister to people who don’t have a Christian community available.
  • It is fun!!… It’s exciting for me especially because I really believe it will be effective.
  • Younger people seem interested. This motivates me immensely, especially because most people find Christ while they are young.

Cons

  • People without good technology are automatically excluded.
  • The potential for creeps/wolves in sheep’s clothing is something to consider.
  • The legal/liability side of things will be tricky, but not impossible.
  • People could see this as a gimmick and not “real community” – but once again, only time (and fruit) will tell – but praise God I don’t really have to worry about that.

I am committed to this project and believe it may well become one of the most effective evangelism initiatives our church ever implements, so please let me know what you think and I’ll keep you posted.

Dave

7 thoughts on “Online Life Groups

  1. Hello Dave,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    I am so happy to know that Cell group is on line, keep the fire burning for Christ.

    Question

    Can some one in Africa be part of the on line cell group?

    I will love to be part of the on line group.

    Bless you

    • My Brother!
      It would be great if people in Africa could be involved in this group. This is exactly one of the reasons i love the idea; geographical barriers are no longer a barrier! Praise God! We are not meeting this wednesday, but we will meet weekly from Wednesday 22nd june from 7:30pm Brisbane Time (Sorry, i dont know what time that would be in Africa).

      I will send you an email with all the details of how to join, and how it works!
      Bless you my Friend
      Dave Quak

  2. Thank you and Well done for pioneering new ideas Dave, praying that all goes well
    Blessings
    Gary

    • Cheers Gary. Bill always talks about you (all good stuff :) hopefully we could meet one day.
      Bless you bro
      Dave

  3. Dave and Jess

    Bravo for being willing to trial somethng “new”. The unchurched community at large commune in various camps in Australia. This inovative approach provides the church with an additonal option that may help people to enjoy some community-connection if transport, time, money, working away from home, etc. are “legit” reasons for not being able to attend the small group. I stress the importance of “belonging” to a small/cell group, before “attending”. Your “on-line” option helps those who already belong to attend even if they can not be bodily present. I see this a win-win option.

    Bill :)

  4. It’s a cool idea mate – and it will interesting to see how it develops. Good on you for giving it a go – radical I like!

    Lifechurch.tv really has got something going in an online community which part of me thinks is weird, but the other part thinks is great – and it seems to be working for them.

    I know there are going to be arguments about it not being ‘really’ relational (i.e. in physical terms) but I am sure that there are people (many) for whom the ‘virtual’ world IS their reality most of the time.

    Can’t wait to read Bill’s feedback!!