How Do I Lead a Bible Study with Video Calls?
The two most prominent platforms for hosting meetings online are Zoom and Google Hangouts. There are pros and cons to each one.
Pros of Zoom
- There is a free version available.
- Only hosts need an account.
- There is a phone-in option.
Cons of Zoom
- The free version is limited to 40 minutes; however, they have lifted the limit for some groups.
- You must download and use the Zoom application on your desktop or mobile device to participate with video.
- Capacity is limited (up to 100 participants/devices in one meeting).
How To Use Zoom
- Open Zoom in a web browser or mobile app (Apple device, Android device, Chrome web browser extension).
- Click “Host a meeting with video on.”
- Click “Invite participations.”
- Select how you’d like to send an invite:
- Use default email, Gmail, Yahoo to send email invite or “copy URL,” “Copy Invitation” to copy a link and send it via a text message, email, Facebook message, etc.
- You can also schedule a meeting on the Zoom website and send an invite to join you at a specific time, including a link to your online meeting (see instructions).
- Watch tutorial videos in Zoom video library.
Pros of Google Hangouts
- It’s free to use with a Google account.
- There are no time limits.
- It’s accessible via a web browser on any computer or mobile device.
Cons of Google Hangouts
- It requires a Google account for all participants.
- A phone-in option not available unless you have a business account with Google.
- Capacity is limited (25 participants/devices per meeting).
How To Use Google Hangouts
- Open Google Hangouts in web browser or mobile app (Apple device , Android device, Chrome web browser extension).
- Click “Video Call” button.
- Click “Invite People” and type in their email address (If they don’t have a Google account it will send them an invite to setup an account).
- You can also schedule a meeting on your Google calendar and send an invite to join you at a specific time, including a link to your online meeting (see instructions).
- Watch a 6-minute YouYube tutorial.
WebEx and Skype
WebEx and Skype, which aren’t as commonly used as Zoom or Google Hangouts, provide other options for hosting an online Bible study.
WebEx offers free licensing for up to 40 minutes and many participants. Their website provides a handy tutorial with screenshots to help you successfully host these gatherings.
Skype group calls can be audio, video, or a mix of both, depending on the users’ devices. Skype conference calls can be among Skype users only, or can include non-Skype users and/or people using a cell phone or landline. But fees will apply to this option. Consider these tips for all Skype options.