The notion that the church is a body of believers and not the building rings truer now than ever in the current pandemic era. As the global pandemic shifted societal norms, Churches have adopted new ways to hold church services and remain relevant. In addition to using popular social media sites like YouTube, Facebook for main services, Churches have institutionalized online prayer and bible meeting studies to continue communing and fellowshipping as directed by scripture, despite the lack of physical structure at a time where there’s a ban on public gatherings.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:25
Many churches have transitioned to the Zoom app to hold church fellowship activities and small group meetings, citing its user friendly features and pricing.
Another platform that has risen in recent times to serve Christendom is Faithflows.org, a Christian platform with video conferencing for bible studies and online prayers as demonstrated by their recent 7 Day Prayer Retreat.
Challenges with “Churching” Online
The use of technology in church activities has not been without some challenges. One main problem is Zoombombing, where trolls pick up zoom meeting links and enter meetings to disrupt live sessions with foreign materials. There’s been numerous reports when church sessions have had to end abruptly due to Zoombombing. The good news is Zoombombing can be solved with some simple solutions discussed below.
Other challenges facing video conferencing is the lack of data in various countries which disrupts audio and videos loading times and the distraction of audience in-home activities during meetings.
Solutions for Zoombombing
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of intrusion by uninvited guests, and improve overall privacy.
- Avoid using one single meeting id for all church meetings. Use a randomly generated zoom per-meeting ID for each meeting instead. You can learn how to at zoom.
- Avoid sharing meeting id on social media and websites. Share id with only registered members for a session.
- If possible organizers can enable the “Waiting Room” feature so that you can see who is attempting to join the meeting before allowing them access. To enable the Waiting Room feature, go to Account Management > Account Settings. Click on Meeting, then click Waiting Room to enable the setting.
- Disable options such as “Join Before Host”, screen-sharing for nonhosts, remote control function, file transferring, annotations and the autosave feature for chats.
- Assign at least two meeting co-hosts to help control the situation in case anyone bypasses your efforts and gets into the meeting.
If all above attempt fail here are a few steps to take when your meeting is Zoombombed, short of ending the meeting:
- Remove participants and lock meeting. Go to the Participants List in the navigation sidebar, Click Lock Meeting to stop further participants from entering the meeting.
- Mute all controls so they can’t use their microphones. You or your co-hosts can go to the Participants List and Mute All Controls.
Technology in itself has propelled Christianity amidst a pandemic but has its own own challenges. Having said that, if there’s one thing that global happenings has taught us, it will be that there are no barriers to reaching God.