Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Any interest in an online book group meeting?

I recently read a most intriguing book about churches, volunteerism, and leadership--Connect: How to double your number of volunteers. It has a lot of potential and yet it also requires some translation to get motivations out of the very Christian. I have been recommending it to folks, who recommend it to others, and at some point I blurted out that we should have an online book group, specifically looking at resources that might be helpful to leaders in Unitarian Universalist congregations.

1) What platform would we use? I would love to do something real-time, preferably with a video component. It is good to actually see each other's faces. My first blurt was google hangouts, but I know there are many options out there- my computer has fuze and zoom and probably a few others on it.

2)  Monthly, or some other period?

3) How big can the group be? (This is partially related to #1, but also there are questions of critical mass.)

4) What books would we read? Stick with pragmatic texts, or is there interest beyond that? Would there be polls to consider books? How far in advance might we plan out a calendar?

5) What other questions have I yet to consider?

I would love to hear your ideas, and let me know if you're interested in what might develop!


  1. Katy: I'm interested. Probably monthly would work for me. I just got a new Windows 8 laptop and don't even know what is on it or what I can get on it. I know it has Skype. My techie / law school grad son will be back in Austin so he can hook me up with whatever is decided. Thanks for recommending this book. I checked it out online and liked what I read.

  2. I love the idea of an online book group. And not just because it plays perfectly into some of my visions for the future of "church." A poll seems like it might be a good way to establish what books to read -- I think sticking to some sort of broad theme would make sense, and help focus the discussions (I mean, you could read The Cat and the Hat and have a stellar conversation with any topic, but if you were focusing on the theme of "leadership" it might take a particular kind of turn). For a non-video option that doesn't cost people money (except maybe the host, and then I think it's nominal) there is a program called mumble (which is also, nicely, not tied to a particular email platform) -- the advantage of non-video is it allows the participation of people who don't have video capabilities or interest -- though being able to see faces is nice.
    Setting some sort of group size I think is important -- I feel like it should be small enough to allow for the sense of connection and community, but big enough that you can have a diversity of responses, and not be held up if a few people don't make it or don't get through the book. Also, it would be cool to have a range of the "ideal" number of people -- on the off chance that a group gets big enough that a break-off group is needed. My experience has been that regularly scheduled groups are going to work better -- so say once a month and planned on the 3rd Thursday of the month, or something predictable like that so people learn to just plan their lives around it.
    That's my two thoughts. Or... more...