Six COVID-Friendly Ways to Meet as a Small Group

Chances are COVID-19 has disrupted the “community life” of your group. It’s hard enough getting everyone together with busy schedules and family commitments; now you are having to figure out how to mitigate the spread of a deadly virus too! 

It’s also highly likely your group has been going in circles discussing everyone’s comfort level with meeting physically. I hope you are doing something to stop the potential spread of COVID-19 as you meet. Perhaps you’ve been meeting outdoors. That’s a great option! But now that the weather is cooling around the country, and daylight is fleeting earlier in the evening, this option is fleeting.

As you discuss meeting options with your group, here are six COVID-mindful ways to meet:

1. “Outdoor Meeting” model. This option is best, doctors tell us. But as said above the cooling weather and fleeting daylight may force your group to find a different model.

2. “Half Group” model. Few of us have a living room large enough accommodate social distancing for our entire group. Expanding our home isn’t a feasible option, but shrinking the size of people meeting is. There are a couple different ways to do this. One way is to have the men gather one week, then women the next. This works well for groups with children, as the kids can stay home with the parent not attending that week. Another way to do this is by randomly breaking the group into two and meeting in different homes, then switching people around the next meeting.

3. “Reserve a Room” model. Our church allows small groups to reserve a larger room in the church building. If this is an option for you, that would allow your group members to spread out and social distance.

4. “Double Date” model. One of the groups at our church has six couples with young children. For a season they didn’t meet altogether; instead they went on “double dates” separately (usually in their own homes over dinner). For every group meeting, a couple was paired with different couple. Here's the key: instead of just hanging out they planned very intentional conversation about their relationships, spiritual walk, and daily life.

5. “Hybrid Model” model. Your group members may be at different comfort levels. Some may be very open to meeting physically, while others are very hesitant getting together. This could potentially drive the group apart if certain group members are consistently sitting out. In the “hybrid model,” a group alternates with meeting in-person with meeting virtually. This way the group can maintain face-to-face interaction and still keep more cautious members in the group.

6. “Video Chat” model. Many groups have started meeting virtually rather than in-person to avoid spreading COVID-19. There are several options available, including Zoom, Google Meet, FaceTime, and Skype.

Be sure to discuss these options, and any other creative solutions you come up with, with the rest of your group. Consensus and healthy discussion is key to keeping your group connected during a very disruptive time.