Google Hangouts for Your Church's Small Groups

Maybe you’re an old pro at meeting online, but we thought a guide might be helpful in setting up and getting going.


We’re going with Google Hangouts here because it’s free and everyone has access to it. If you prefer to use Zoom or some other platform, keep in mind that your group members might also be members of another group (and thus have to learn two platforms).

Things to Consider

The goal of meeting online is to keep Gospel Love flowing between us when we can't get together, but it's good to take a minute to think about what's different.

  • This may be a completely new skill to some people

  • Not everyone will be comfortable having their video camera on

  • The first meeting will likely be more about getting people connected than anything else

With those things in mind, we are praying you'll have an abundance of patience as you get ramped up.

 

For Leaders: Setting Up the Meeting

  • Gather Google Account or Gmail email addresses of your members

    • Since Hangouts is a Google product, attendees all need their own accounts

    • If you have a Gmail email address, that is your account

    • Your members will be receiving invitation emails at these addresses

 
  • Get a free Google Account, if you don't have one already

    • Go to the Create Your Google Account page.

    • Follow the steps to set up a new account and Gmail email address.

  • Schedule a Meeting Using Google Calendar

    1. Assuming you are already signed in to Google, go to https://calendar.google.com/​

    2. Click the "Create" button (top left) to schedule your meeting

    3. Choose the appropriate date and time

    4. Click "Add Location or Conferencing" then click "Add Conferencing," to choose "Hangouts" as your conference type.

    5. Click "Add Guests" and type or paste your members' email addresses

    6. Save your meeting, and click "Send" when asked about invitation emails

For Everyone: Before the Meeting​

  • Get a free Google Account, if you don't have one already

  1. Go to the Create Your Google Account page.

  2. Follow the steps to set up a new account and Gmail email address.

 
  • Get your device ready for the Hangout

    • Download the Hangouts app on your smart phone or tablet, OR

    • On your computer, sign in to Hangouts to get your computer ready

  • Find a quiet place

    • It's best to mute yourself when you're not talking (SHOW ME) but it's convenient to find a quiet place if you can, just in case someone starts unloading the dishwasher, or the dog starts barking

 

For Everyone: Attending the Meeting

  • Open the meeting invitation

    • You should have received an email invitation from your leader with the subject that is something like "Our MC Meeting @ Tue Mar 17, 2020"

    • Open the email and  click "more details", OR

    • Open your Google Calendar, and click on the meeting

  • Click "join video call"

 

Tips and Troubleshooting

  • If you can see each other, but can't hear, someone needs to make sure Hangouts has a microphone and speakers connected.Go to the Create Your Google Account page.

  • If you want everyone to see what's on your computer screen