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Reply to "HOW TO do Online and At-Home Sunday School, "ZOOM," Ways to Connect with Kids"

Hi, all!

I received some great information from @Beth Tobin that I will be sharing on her behalf, as she is busy making lots of things happen at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Olympia, WA.

The platform she is using for Sunday school is Zoom. She writes:

For Sunday school:  I will be sending out an invite to a Zoom.  I can have 100 people on at a time for free.  I’m still deciding how I’m going to run it, but here’s my initial thoughts:  Welcome and Intro to Zoom.  Zoom etiquette.  Open with doing the prayer table.   We are going to sing some songs together that the students are use to singing.  That will take a least 10-15 minutes right there.   This is going to be whole group two year olds - 5th grade.  Wish me luck.  Then I’m going to tell a Bible story. ( I’m planning to offer a drawing idea or story workshop idea they can follow up with at home or something similar.)  Then we are going to break into groups.  (I have to watch the tutorial on how to do this yet, but people are saying it’s really cool! So I’ve got homework yet for Sunday.) Then we’ll all pull back together for closing prayer.  In the breakout groups we’ll have more of a discussion time.  If that doesn’t work, when I check in with grade levels of kids I’ll follow up with discussion then.  We get 40 minute Zoom sessions for free. 
Oh!  I’m also thinking of empowering fifth graders to help lead the break outs as well as shepherds.  We’re calling all of this a Holy Experiment.  
Side note:  I did a Zoom with my family yesterday.  Four states, Four time zones, three generations, pets, plant starts, 13 attendees, oldest 93 years old.  It was so great and we were able to get my mom on without anyone being with her.  It meant the world to her.  There are so many cool uses for this great technology. 
Here is a link to a Zoom webinar I was on for doing worship and ministry online. 
This recorded webinar I was "in" last week was headed up by the Episcopals on how to use Zoom in ministry including worship. [This webinar was planned two months ago! Talk about timing!]  One big take away for worship is to assign roles for people, so when the leader is saying things like, “The Lord be with you,” ONE other person audibly voices the response for everyone, “And also with you.”  Everyone else is saying, “And also with you," but they are at home, muted.
More resources shared from that webinar:
We recently had a great first run Zoom meeting with 40 some pastors in our synod. Here are my notes:
I think it would be very helpful to not assume that people know how to use Zoom or know Zoom etiquette.  I think it would be good to offer some guidelines at the start of the Zoom and also in an email preceding the Zoom.
• Mute your microphone unless you are speaking. - And how to do that if they don’t know. 
• Please don’t monopolize the speaking time.
• Make sure people are aware of and know how to use the chat feature.
• There are also “reaction” features people can use to respond what people are saying. 
Zoom meetings have the option to do break out groups.  We could have a whole-group introduction by the bishop for whole group information dissemination and then break into our clusters to discuss particulars.  When we come back whole group, one person from the cluster could report back to the whole group if there were anything to report.
Have Zoom meetings about specific topics - small parishes, churches still doing daycare, churches with food pantries still open etc.   
Our worship is online and so are our devotions. and also linked on our Facebook page.  I did the first two devotions and tried to make them so they could be something kids could do/relate to.  The first one especially.  Our staff is taking turns with them.  Some will be video.  Some just audio.  Some text.  Some text and photo - whatever the person comes up with.  I actually LOVE my first devotion - it was totally Holy Spirit inspired!
(No judging our website…..  we are working on updating it, actually completely reworking it, but it’s functioning for now.)    
We are pre-recording our worship.  Uploading the link and then doing a live intro to it.  We’ve got one under our belt and already have adjustments we are making.  Some are addressed in the text around the Zoom info I sent you.  
Our worship online is very shortened.  Interestingly, attendance has practically doubled!  
We are also planning a virtual children's choir using Zoom and grade-level Zoom check-in meetings.
The kids I’ve connected with already on Zoom were so excited to see me and just show me stuff like Lego creations and tell me all about it.  I think even if we don’t do a Sunday school lesson, just even connecting will be such powerful community building time.  I think checking in with highs and lows will be important.  And praying together will be most important.  I’m planning on logging their prayers and adding them to our Facebook page.  I have lots of ideas. We’ll see what all I pull off or what is sustainable. Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author are referenced. Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. is rated 5 stars on Google based on 51 reviews. Serving a global community including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more!