Be Agnostic with How Online Small Groups Should Meet
It turns out being agnostic isn't always bad. One of the significant factors in the growth of online small groups at my church was not forcing how groups should meet virtually. People have preferences. Look at these stats as of 2018:
- 1.3 billion active devices for Apple
- 2 billion active devices for Google
- 700 million active devices for Windows
- Chrome - 59.69%
- Safari - 13.85%
- UC Browser - 7.03%
- Firefox -5.02%
- Opera - 3.35%
- IE - 3.01%
- Google owns 93% of all searching on the internet
- The rest is divided up on Bing, Yahoo, ask.com, Aol.com, Baidu, Wolframalpha, & DuckDuckGo
How much you want to bet the 3.01% that use Internet Exploring also use Aol.com over Google? I bet a high percentage.
People like what they are used to. Don’t force anyone to change. The first few years our church had online small groups we used a video software service called TokBox. Years ago video conference software wasn’t easy to figure out, and TokBox made small online groups simple to manage. We ended up shifting away from paying for the platform and encouraging individual small groups to choose between the many free options or upgrading to a paid service. We recommended Zoom.us as the best option, but if money was an obstacle referred them to Google Hangouts as a great backup. I recorded this video tutorial on how to use the Zoom.us platform but never made using Zoom.us a requirement.
Our online small groups exploded because of this slight change in strategy. Hosts started to use platforms we never heard of like random work video conferencing software, group phone calls, Slack, WhatsApp, and more. It’s amazing what happens when you worry less about how they will meet and focus on getting them to gather with their friends. It turns out friends know how to get together. Don’t solve all the problems because your solutions could be limiting exponential growth.