Best Practices for Hosting or Attending In-Person Watch Party

June 18, 2020, By: Jimmy Scruggs

For many, in-person gatherings are something that have been looked forward to for several months. The first step towards in-person in the building Thursday and Sunday morning gatherings will be in-person gatherings in people’s homes with family and friends to watch the broadcast live together. In short, to be a house church in the month of June. These in-person watch parties will serve as opportunities for our church to begin to gather in the safest way possible for our community, honor the guidance and request of our community leadership for online services, continue to honor the most vulnerable among us as well as honor the work of our medical community. These are true FRAMILY gatherings in people’s homes, coming together to watch the weekly FramilyCast and prayer. You and who? Who do you know who is ready for a greater level of community? When considering whom you will gather and share this group experience with, we don’t need to look very far.  We all have natural spheres of influence from whom we can invite people.  In many cases these individuals do not attend church and this could be an instrumental step in their spiritual journey. As you consider who to invite think about the spheres of your life: family, friends, work friends, those you recreate with, Facebook friends, neighbors. Your group could be 2-10 in size.

Best Practices for hosting a watch party:

  1. Invite people that you feel comfortable being in the same room with.
  2. Group size should be limited to ten people including children.
  3. Masks: exercise wisdom about mask wearing. As a courtesy, defer to the people who feel the most vulnerable.
  4. Have everyone wash their hands as soon as they arrive. Provide disinfectant wipes in bathrooms. Explain bathroom use as a part of your initial gatherings.
  5. Anyone who shows signs of being sick, or has someone in their home who is sick, please stay home.
  6. Communicate the details of your watch party (who is coming, where to gather, basic schedule, inside or outside, food to bring, if children—what will they be doing?)
  7. Make sure your technology is tested and ready for the FramilyCast. TV is preferable to a computer if your group is more than three people.
  8. Set up chairs to allow for distance between individuals—especially if it involves individuals who are not currently living together. If meeting in the back yard, people could bring their own chairs.
  9. Suggested schedule:
      1. Plan 30 minutes for food (before or after?) Brunch? BBQ? Dessert? Appetizers? Consider having one person (gloved and masked?) to serve all of the food rather than having people serve themselves.
      2. Watch the FramilyCast together (live or on demand). The weekend Framily Cast is available on demand beginning at 6:00 pm Sunday evening.
      3. If children are present, plan to watch the KidsCast on Sunday at 8:30 or 11:45 am or on demand. Plan 20 – 25 minutes for this.
      4. Talk Notes: if possible, print off the Talk Notes for those who want them.
      5. Take the offering. Just kidding but please be sure to encourage your group to be generous (through online giving, mail in envelopes or text to give) We are able to continue to bring hope to our community because people continue to financially support our common mission.
  10. Discuss the sermon (20 minutes). Ask: What idea or point resonated with you? What is your main take-away from the talk? What do you hope to do as a result of what you heard today? How can this group support you in that?
  11. Praying together: Be sensitive to where people are spiritually and let participants know that they are welcome to pray silently along with others if you choose or encourage others pray out loud.

Best Practices for attending a watch party:

  1. Be healthy. Anyone who shows signs of being sick, or has someone in their home who is sick, please stay home.
  2. Masks: bring one if you’re not sure. Exercise wisdom about mask wearing. As a courtesy, defer to the people who feel the most vulnerable.
  3. Wash your hands as soon as you arrive.
  4. When using the restroom, use disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces that you touch.
  5. Offer to bring you own chair.
  6. If sharing food, be sure to use clean practices when preparing it.