By Laura Sinclair
Are you planning an online healing conference? Here are some things to consider.
Prayer Ministry by Breakout Rooms:
Asking for and receiving individual prayer is a staple at healing conferences. If using Zoom, breakout rooms provide the perfect opportunity for this type of prayer. First, two prayer ministers are placed into each breakout room. Then, individuals requesting prayer, either by typing in the chatbox or using the “raise their hand” feature, can be moved into a breakout room to request individual confidential prayer. Despite not being able to be physically present or lay on hands, both prayer ministers and people requesting prayer have shared wonderful stories of healings and of feeling the Holy Spirit’s presence.
A Breakout Waiting Room was created so that we could talk with those who were waiting to ask for prayer. It is easy to look around the room in person and see the wait time for prayer ministry. With Zoom, it is not so easy. Having this waiting room gave people the confidence that they were in line while also allowing them to talk and ask a leader questions while waiting.
Breakout rooms on Zoom allow the opportunity for small group time and a more in-person conference “feel.” Socializing, small group discussions, workshops and prayer practicum are some of the ways that breakout rooms can be used at a conference. People desire connection, and small groups provide the opportunity to do just that!
Timing and Breaks:
As you likely have experienced by now, attending Zoom or looking at a computer screen can be absolutely exhausting. It is not the same as meeting in person. It is essential to keep this in mind when planning a virtual conference. It is not advisable to meet on Zoom all day.
One way to mitigate this is to schedule longer breaks throughout the day. Another way is to end the Zoom meeting throughout the conference; this forces people to log off of Zoom and, hopefully, take time to move, eat, go outside and take a break from their screen.
Since we are now no longer constrained by traveling for an in-person weekend conference, our online conferences do not need to fit into the traditional Friday evening through Sunday morning time slot. Be creative and consider alternative dates and times throughout the week that would be convenient for your target audience.
Zoom is only one of many ways to host groups, meetings, services and conferences online. There are many different platforms that you can use. For a community feel, choose platforms that allow participants to see each other and interact throughout the conference by chatbox, small groups in breakout rooms, etc. Another thing to consider is whether the platform you choose will allow you to collect participants’ email addresses so that you can stay in touch and invite them to continue participating and learning in future OSL events. Explore the variety of ways to connect online, and please share what works well with the community!
Be purposeful about welcoming newcomers and providing opportunities for connection during the conference. Let them know that you are glad they joined. Offer small group socializing time, small group discussion time and group or individual prayer time. Allow participants to ask questions either out loud or in the chatbox, and make sure that someone responds to those questions. Everyone needs to feel seen and heard.
Invite Them to Connect:
Follow up with resources and invitations for them to get plugged in to an OSL healing community. Make people feel welcome, and invite them back. Personal connections and individual invitations are great ways to do this. The Rev. Sarah Bronos is our new regional director for online communities. Please reach out to her to learn more about the online OSL healing communities and other online healing ministries.
Resources For You:
A variety of resources are available on our website, OSLToday.org. Members of our OSL community have been creating Zoom Guides, References and How-To documents to help you start planning a virtual conference or healing community.
Laura Sinclair is a professional home organizer and teacher. In particular, she loves working with caregivers, chronic illness warriors, and middle school parents, helping them solve their daily challenges. She is involved in both the OSL healing community and the 20s/30s group at her home church, St. Martin’s in Houston, TX, where she organizes their monthly healing prayer services. Laura is a board member and Zoom administrator for OSL’s Region V. She loves to be outdoors and especially enjoys spending time with her goddaughters.