When and how you expect participants to interact online will affect your group set-up, from the platform you choose to the conversational prompts you use. It also affects how you as the moderator will interact with the group and the expectations of the group in general. The content of this facilitators’ guide is aimed toward asynchronous groups.
Most online groups are asynchronous, meaning that participants interact with the prompts and comments when they have time, they do not gather at a specific time. The flexibility of asynchronous groups is their great strength, as friends from around the world and those who work the night shift can all be part of the conversation. Asynchronicity can allow for greater creativity in response, as participants have time to find or create images, music, or video to interact with the prompts.
There will be online groups that find it more fulfilling if they hold a synchronous discussion. Groups using online video conferencing will find they function in almost the same way as a small group meeting together in a living room. If this is the way your group chooses to engage, proceed with the standard small group or young adult facilitator guide and curriculum.
A note about hosting Meeting Jesus Twitter chats: Twitter chats are organized for a specific day and time and have clearly organized hashtags for participants to follow. Participants are encouraged to respond at the moment using the appropriate hashtags. In this way, a Twitter chat is synchronous. However, other participants can revisit the same questions and continue to answer, making it more asynchronous in content. We encourage facilitators trying a Meeting Jesus Twitter chat to approach it as asynchronous: a timely meeting with a long, evergreen engagement cycle.