A Good (Covid) Start

   Getting off to a good start with our local Christian faculty fellowship community pays off in so many ways.  We've found that to be true when it comes to “resurrecting" the Christian faculty network and community on a campus each fall and seeing a productive academic year.  A little planning and a little action now can reduce your stress and help you accomplish something you'll be pleased with over the entire academic year...and more importantly something He will be pleased with.

   One thing that will very likely be different is that some of your meetings, for the forseable future will look less like this (photo right) and more like this (photo below).

  So for those of you who take organizational and spiritual leadership on your campus to reform the local fellowship/community here are some tips:

A.  For Covid set ups

  • 1.  You need someone in your leadership to set up the software for the meeting—Zoom is one we suggest because it has been commonly used in academe since the Covid-19 outbreak.   It’s probably wise to get someone who is technically savy with this to run the meeting, handling the setting so that people can come and go easily without interrupting the flow of the meeting and not allowing dialogue during presentations among the participants.  That can be allowed during the Q &A time.
  • 2.  You need to get this set up before school starts and make sure everything works before your first meeting so this can be handled smoothly.  Probably someone should purchase a license for $10.00 per month from Zoom, so your meetings are NOT cut off after 40 minutes.
  • 3.  We will be happy to help you through this process and we’re not getting any kickbacks from Zoom or any other software company that does this kind of service.

B. For regular meeting rooms with social distancing and masks.

  • 1.  The three most important things: pray, go to work, and trust God for the results, pray, go to work, and trust God for the results, and pray, go to work, and trust God for the results.
  • 2. Line up the rooms, dates and times for your regular meetings right off the bat.  You may want to use something like Doodle to quickly organize your meeting options among your colleagues.  Of course, always pick a date where you can show up, along with as many of your friends as possible.
  • Does the room you line up have flexiblity of size?  Can you avoid the proverbial “BB in a boxcar” syndrome?  On the other hand, if the room is too small, it may uncousciously signal that you do not expect many to come.  Can you get a room which will allow for 6’ of social spacing per person—that may be your biggest challenge.
  • Can you get one of your colleagues or staff to handle the meeting room logistics like setting up the microphone (if needed), computer hookups to projectors and so forth?  One less thing for you to be concerned with on the day of the meeting.
  • 3.  Line up your speakers and presenters taking liberally from those who regularly attend your meetings and who have something edifying to say, but also including some “outside” speakers that would be attractive to a large segment of those who might come.  Think about “outside” speakers in terms of once a year or once each semester; they often stimulate the community and create momentum.
  • 4.  Think of your group as having indviduals who have differing interests in attending, so think of diversifying the content over the year to make the group more inclusive and inviting.
  • 5.  Finally: another “3 important things to grow your community": network, network and network.  Most people attend meetings because they are personally invited and not merely because they receive a list-serv invitation.

Get off to a good start...

General Tips for Meetings:

  • You “never” have announcements, you have only “important things to say" at your meetings.
  • Make sure you have a habit of starting your meetings on time and ending them on time.  Let people know they can quietly leave early if they need to do so.
  • It’s a good idea to schedule your meetings on a regular (like once or twice a month) day of the week and in the same room.  People sometimes have trouble finding new rooms and show up at the “old” room only to find they went to the wrong one.
  • Are you thinking about taking advantage of noteworthy speakers coming through town?  For instance, the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Evangelical Theological Society met in Denver in November of 2018.  If you are networked and in the Denver/Front Range area, you possibly could have picked up a speaker coming to these meetings and save yourself the cost of flights.  Now is a good time to start getting your antennae up!
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