facebook script

Can't find something?

We're here to help.

Send us an email at:

[email protected]

and we'll get back with you as soon as possible.

Hybrid meetings are inclusive

Offering hybrid meetings allows churches to include as many people as possible, and here are some tips on how to run effective meetings and allow people to connect as they are able.

Associate Director of Lay Leadership Development

In case no one has told you, here you go: For most of us, the hybrid meeting format is here to stay. As with many other things in life, some are excited about this, and some are not. In some faith communities this may make involvement more inclusive. It is important to know that people with audio and visual impairments may find it more challenging, so know your people. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Wouldn’t you rather have all members at the Leadership Team meeting? Relationships grow when everyone is involved, business gets done when everyone is present, and faith is formed in community. Offering a hybrid meeting is a way to include as many as people as possible. Offering a hybrid option allows you to include those who . . .

    • are caregivers. This flexibility is helpful to everyone, especially caregivers for children or older adults. It can be difficult or impossible to leave those they are caring for to attend a church meeting.
    • are feeling ill. Let’s face it, we’re all a little more careful when we have the sniffles now. An online meeting option might allow you to still participate.
    • are unable to leave work “early.” Laity are the church and usually work outside the church. Sometimes our laity can’t leave work early. So, if there was an online option, they could jump on the meeting outside their working hours, but before they leave.
    • have differing abilities. Hybrid meetings allow participation for persons with all kinds of differing abilities.
    • are unable to drive in inclement weather. We live in Michigan. Snow happens. Ice happens. Already having an online option allows leaders a quick pivot so the meeting doesn’t have to be canceled.
    • live a far distance from the church. Driving 30 minutes or more may work once a week for worship, but driving that distance during the week for meetings is just not an option.

Look how lay persons can now participate differently within the faith community! There are certainly folks who are unable to participant online and being in a physical space is the only way for them to participate. Hybrid allows for that.

Now that you are leading more hybrid meetings, have you thought about making sure everyone is included in conversations and relationship building regardless of which mode members use? Here are a few tips for effective hybrid meetings.

    • Test the technology in advance of the meeting, for both online and in-room participants.
    • Share presentations or documents in advance and screen share so that online participants can see the information. If the meeting is only for information sharing, consider not meeting if a discussion is not appropriate, or share information in advance and save the meeting for discussion.
    • Make sure you include the call-in number along with instructions for how to connect to allow those who might have computer audio trouble to call into the meeting.
    • Assign a facilitator to encourage engagement with online participants, checking to see that they can be heard and watching for questions in the chat or hands raised.
    • Acknowledge all participants and set expectations at the start of the meeting for engagement. Let those connecting online speak first.
    • Consider how online participants will engage in each activity or exercise. Consider what tools or technologies can increase their interaction with those who are in-room participants.
    • Remember that a hybrid meeting is an inclusive form of meeting. It allows people to connect from wherever they are, in whatever fashion they can.

For more tips on leading meetings, check out the MIUMC Laity web page.

What tips would you add to this list? Send me your recommendations! Email me at [email protected].

Last Updated on August 16, 2022

The Michigan Conference