Microsoft make a communication app called Teams – used by many businesses and organisations. We’re going to use the features that are free for groups of up to 300 people (so there’s no cost for you, or DCF) so that we can continue to meet together as a church via the Internet.
The app is free to download for Windows, Android phones, Mac’s, iPhones and iPads. There is also no need to have a social media account. Finally, everything that happens in Teams is private to our church family (you either need to be invited, or manually approved by an admin to join).
There’s a few terms to get used to, but don’t let that worry you – it’ll feel normal pretty quickly.
- Up to 300 people, including you, can join the Deal Christian Fellowship organisation.
- Within the organisation, there can be multiple teams. Right now, we are using just one – also called Deal Christian Fellowship
- Within each team, there can be multiple channels. think of these like TV channels… they each have their own purpose and content. We have one for each of the different meeting formats we have (Sunday services, Home group, Men’s Bible study and Lifestyle).
- There is also a general channel – this is the place for general questions and comments that you want to share with the whole church family, just like you would during the sharing time or on the Facebook DCF church family group.
How to get started
Follow the link in the email you get sent by Sim to join the DCF group (called a Team) or sign up for free using the link below and follow the steps that you are shown:
- If you have a Microsoft account already, sign in – if not, you’ll be asked to create one (for free)
- If creating a new account, you’ll be asked to choose a password and some basic details
- Next, you’ll be able to use Teams in a web browser or by downloading the free app (recommended)
- If downloading the app, you’ll be asked to sign in with your email address & the password you just chose
How to find your way around
In the top left of the Teams app, you will see the Deal Christian Fellowship team (in the Teams section) – but you may need to click on the team to show all the channels available. So the channels you need are always easy to find, we recommend right clicking or tapping on the channel, and clicking “Pin” – this will ensure the channel is easy to find as shown below:
There are some other free features; chat and calls are pretty self explanatory, and you can also have group chats with multiple people. It’s a great way to stay in touch, as is making a call (both are free).
What to do during an online meeting
Audio – during a Sunday service, it is really helpful if you keep your microphone muted (especially during the Bible study) so that the whole church cannot hear dogs barking, children playing, cars driving past and so on! During a home group, Men’s Bible study or Lifestyle meeting, we encourage you to keep your microphone turned on so it’s easy to take part in the discussion (unless you know you have something noisy in the background).
Audio tip – if more than one person joins an online meeting from the same room, please make sure that the volume and mic is turned up on just one device, or everyone will hear feedback or echoing sounds.
Video – you don’t need to use video, but we encourage you to use it at our mid-week meetings. It’s going to be hard not meeting together in person, and video is something that really does help keep people together.
What will online meetings be like?
At minimum you’ll see live video of the person leading the meeting and/or teaching, and you’ll see the names of everyone that has joined online.
If meeting online, we plan for our Sunday morning services to follow a similar format to usual – we will open in prayer, followed by a 5-minute devotional based on the words to a worship song, notices, sharing time, prayer time, and Bible study (typically including scripture slides just as you would see in the church building). Sunday evening services will be similarly tweaked.
Online versions of Home group, Men’s Bible study and Lifestyle will follow an identical format to usual – just via online meetings. We encourage you to join in the discussion as if we are all in the same room.
If you have notifications enabled, you’ll get a message letting you know when online meetings start. Start times will remain the same as when we meet in person, with the exception of our Sunday morning meetings which will start at 11am.
How can I get help with Teams?
Sim will be on hand to help – simply get in touch via 07515 358 278 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. He can help test that your device is working for audio and/or video – however it’s best to do that well in advance of church meetings, rather than in the 15 minutes before as he’ll be making sure everything else is ready to go.