Whether you’re a CU of two or two hundred, we’re delighted that you’re running Start Here!
We know that it can be daunting running sessions for others – but, by looking at God’s word together, and giving new students a warm welcome, you’ll be a huge help and reassurance to them.
This page will help you as prepare to run sessions and gives you all the information you need. Take a few minutes to read these instructions.
Every CU is different, so tweak things to suit your context.
You’ll need to consider in advance how big you think the call will be. Will you need break out rooms? If so, how many? How many returning students will you need to run breakout rooms? Smaller groups are generally better for discussion… so if you’re expecting eight freshers on your call, you might split in to two groups of four for the discussion sections. Having some sort of sign up system (a DM on Instagram, a Google Form or something else!) will help you plan.
As you read the material, you find a section that you don’t think will work because of size or other practicalities. Think about why that section is there and what it’s achieving. If you arrive at the same goal by another route, then that’s fine!
Instructions for you as leaders look like this in normal type.
Things that you need to say / explain to the whole group are in a grey box like this.
Don’t read these out word for word – but they’ll give you a good guide of what needs said when! We want you to sound like yourself – not a Start Here robot! If you want to rephrase these boxes, do so in advance so you’re not making it up on the spot.
Questions to ask the group for discussion are:
Each session includes the following components:
Welcome. The aim here is to welcome people, setting a friendly tone as people arrive. Some people will feel very nervous, so think about a way they can avoid arriving to awkward silence. You could include a slide with some music playing in the background. You might just want to have two hosts who will have good banter just chatting away and people can slot in!
Each week there’s a starter discussion, game or quiz – they’re there to provide some fun and to help those on the call get to know each other. If you use break out rooms here, keep them the same for the rest of the session.
Activity. This is one of the sections in which you get to showcase your uni and help Freshers get to know the place before they arrive. Look for returning students who will be warm and clear to help with these sections. Let them know in advance exactly what you want them to do so they have time to think about what they’ll say. And make it clear how long they have so they don’t steal all your time!
Hearing from God. Explain what’s coming next in a clear way so that everyone knows why we’re watching a video, and why the people in the video are talking about the Bible. You might just have been having lots of fun / banter in the activity so you’ll need to get everyone to concentrate again, ready to engage with more serious content. Have someone ready to read the passage and paste the bible.com link in to the chat. Then play the longer session video.
Thinking it through. Here’s where we help new students engage and respond to the video. Leading a discussion on zoom can be tricky – be patient with the group members and yourself. Be willing to wait longer than normal for answers - Zoom silences feel like forever while people think! Be ready to give an answer yourself or ask another returning student on the call to say what they think. Keep an eye on the clock – if discussion gets going you could chat for ages!
Story videos. As with the last video section, everyone in the call needs to know what’s about to happen and why we’re listening to a student from another uni tell their story. Then play the shorter interview video for everyone.
What about us? Discuss as before in groups. Encourage people to share honestly about how they’re feeling and what practical next steps they might take. Sharing some of your own experiences might help others open up here.
Until next time. Wrapping things up well will give people time to listen to the information you have to share at the end. Make sure to include any links/instructions on how to get in to group chats or where to find more information. If what you’re talking about sounds great but nobody can find it then it isn’t much use. The last moments of the call will stick in people’s minds so this is another chance to continue to be warm and friendly!
We’ve probably all heard a Zoom-bomb horror story by now. Because Start Here is going to be one of the first impressions that people get of your CU, it’s important to think about Zoom call security.
More information on avoiding Zoom-bombing is available here: How to Keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Zoom Event - Zoom Blog
You’re probably an old hand at Zoom – but, in case you need any extra help on any of its features, check out these links:
Get to know new people, enjoy yourselves and know that you’re playing your little part in helping new students have the best possible start to university! We are praying for you!
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