Recently, we gathered around 40 men who are engaged in small group mentoring to discuss, “Mentoring in a Socially Distant World.” Here is a video replay of the conversation as well as some of the key takeaways and points of interest.
Note: To view or download the powerpoint shown at the beginning of the call, go here.
- More frequent communication is needed right now. Men tend to be isolated and alone anyways, but especially right now.
- Do regular check-ins with your groups. That goes for your old ones too, it’s a great time to reconnect.
- Video calls and phone calls are better than texting right now. It’s ok to text, but prioritize reaching out to connect more directly.
- If you’re having trouble connecting directly, or you just want to make sure your group stays connected, explore tools like Marco Polo that allow for asynchronous communication. You can leave video and voice messages, recipients can respond later. Another good tool is YouVersion, where you can go through Bible Reading Plans with other people – creating accountability and helping your group stay on the same page.
Holding Virtual Meetings
- It might be harder to stay focused and engaged for 3 hours on a video call. It’s ok in this season to adapt the model and meet for less time more often.
- All types of technology options . . . explore them and find what works – Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime are all popular – there are other options like freeconferencecall.com when not everyone has available technology.
- Guys are less likely to chime in on a video call. They’re more apt to just listen in. So, as the mentor, be quicker to call on guys. Let guys know early on that you plan to call on them. Make a rotation if needed and “go around the circle” as you discuss.
- The settings for your meetings won’t be perfect. Ask guys to go somewhere where they will be least distracted and most comfortable sharing – could be your closet!
Other Things to Remember/Consider
- Hold off on your Commencement Retreat instead of trying to commence via Zoom. It’s too important. Extend the group and add an additional topic or two until you can get together in person.
- Story Retreat – some mentors felt the Story Retreat was too important to do virtually. Others wanted to go ahead and do them. Either is fine, do what you are comfortable with and makes sense for your group. If you hold off, share as much of your story as you feel comfortable to demonstrate vulnerability and help create the environment. If you do move ahead with a Story Retreat, you won’t be able to do everyone’s story in one meeting, so be creative in how you break it up. For example, do a Story Month, meet once a week for an hour and have two guys share each time.
- Be flexible and willing to adapt but don’t be surprised at how well emotional connections can still translate virtually.
- Many guys are carrying heavy burdens right now or feeling stuck. You might find it’s easy to get them to connect online and you may have no problem holding a three-hour meeting and staying engaged. But regardless, stay connected to your guys, many are desperate to connect right now.
- On the other hand, scheduling may be hard. Men tend to isolate when things get tough. Don’t fall into that trap yourself. And don’t be afraid to call guys out if you sense them drifting and isolating.
- It’s important to remember that while the medium has changed, the environment hasn’t. The covenant still applies. As always, be gracious and loving, but hold your guys accountable.
- Reports of guys really missing face-to-face time, being able to handshake and hug and laugh together. This will hopefully give us deeper appreciation for those things when it’s over.
- Don’t focus on what you can’t do or the fact that you can’t meet. Think about what you and your group can do for each other and for others in your community.
ACTIVATE THE MEN IN YOUR CHURCH
Small group mentoring can help you engage your men, build your core group of leaders, and transform your church. Our free resources equip you with all the tools you need to launch a sustainable mentoring program.