Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Online New Hope sessions are a new challenge to multiplying healing in our world. Yet, with a little bit of effort and a whole bunch of prayer, God is using these online sessions to transform hearts and minds. Here are some of our top tips for facilitators who find themselves leading online sessions:
Video call etiquette
Don’t get on Facebook, email, or other social media while on the video call.
Turn off your phone.
Keep your video on and fully engage in the call at all times.
If possible, sit in a quiet place and ask family members not to interrupt you.
What platform should I use?
Facilitators could buy Zoom Pro, which costs around $15 per month. Zoom Pro comes with extra features such as breakout rooms, and there is no time limit for video calls. Participates would not need Zoom Pro to participate in the call.
Alternatively, facilitators could use the free version of Zoom. This version has a 40 minute time limit on calls, so facilitators would need to start a new group call every 40 minutes.
Facilitators could also use other video conferencing platforms, such as Skype.
Tips for session scheduling using the free version of Zoom
Email participants ahead of time with the listening prompt.
Instruct listening partners to call each other 15-30 minutes before the group session and use the listening prompts to complete the listening activity together.
Start the Zoom session as a group.
End the call at or before the 40 minute mark. Try to end the call at a natural breaking point, such as right after an activity. Have participants take a short break or do an activity on their own.
Reconvene for the next 40 minute zoom call.
At the end of each session, have partners call each other to practice telling each other the story rather than practice during the Zoom call.
Tips for online practice
In Zoom Pro, the facilitator has the capability to create break-out rooms. These serve as smaller, independent video calls. The facilitator can send participants into separate break-out rooms for the listening practice, and then bring everyone back into the video call when the time is up.
For those using the free version of Zoom or Skype, facilitators could have participants call each other before the group call and complete the listening exercise. They could also end the group call at a natural breaking point in the session, have participants call their listening partners for the listening practice, and then start a new group call when everyone has finished.
Top 8 tips for drama in online sessions:
Drama is key for learning each story. In dramas participants step into different characters, which helps them better understand the emotions involved in the story. Allowing participants to engage with a story through drama also helps them learn, process, and accurately remember each story.
Drama with online groups, however, will look different than drama with groups that meet face-to-face. The following tips will help facilitators tweak each drama to fit their group’s needs:
Do a visualization exercise in place of a drama. Refer to the healing activity that accompanies Session Four (the Bleeding Woman story) for instructions on how to do such an activity. Switch the character you follow throughout each story. For example, begin the Joseph story by following Joseph’s character, become Jacob at some point in the story, move on to the king’s servant in jail, and so on throughout the visualization.
Create a radio show. Have each participant take a role, speak their part, and narrate the action in the story. You could run through the show more than once and have participants switch roles each time.
Create a script for a radio show. Email the drama to the members the week before so they can be ready to portray their character.
Have each participant create a puppet to act out a character in the drama. Participants can use socks, or even just their hands, as puppets.
Tell participants to pretend they are reporters or eye-witnesses to the story and must report the events they “see” back to the group.
Use common objects, such as pens or small dolls, to “act out” the story so participants can visualize the movement of the story.
Have each member create a background in a shoebox or on a piece of paper the week before. During the drama, have them choose a character to act out in front of their “stage.”
Create improvisation cards. Throughout the drama hold up the cards so participants know who acts out what at that moment.
Tips for online healing activities
The 3 Villages:
Have participants stand with their device in hand and walk through the rooms of their house to represent the three villages. The room they begin in represents the Village of Anger and Denial, their doorway represents the Village of No Hope, and the room beyond the doorway represents the Village of New Hope. Explain that they must pass through the doorway, the Village of No Hope, in order to get to the Village of New Hope. Stress that the voyage through the Villages is not linear — people often return to villages they already visited.
Use the analogy of waves to supplement the 3 Villages. When someone moves through waves towards the shore, the waves continue to knock them down and debris in the water circles back to hit them again. In the same way, grief continues to knock someone down as they move towards the Village of New Hope.
Taking our pain to Jesus:
Walk each participant through building a fire in a safe place. They could use a stove, a candle, or a fireplace. Have everyone carry their device to the fire and do the activity together.
Instead of burning the cards, use dissolvable paper or thin paper and have participants drop that into a bowl of water. The paper will dissolve or the ink will run and disappear.
Have participants shred their cards instead of lighting them on fire.
Simply demonstrate the activity through your own video, showing the participants how a heavy weight crushes a single cup but not a group of cups.
Write the name of each participant on a cup and use that group of cups to demonstrate how they, as a group, can hold up heavy weight together.