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Important Whole & Healthy Church Updated Policies for Online Zoom Meetings

As a result of the pandemic, our churches have quickly adapted almost every ministry into the online world. It has brought about some exciting changes, but also new dangers. No one thinks the bad things will happen to them, but we would like you to consider these policies a preventative piece of pastoral care. At least two of our churches have had Zoom meetings disrupted by individuals seeking to do harm (one during liturgy, another during a small group), also known as Zoom-bombing. Both incidents caused the deep trauma that comes with having a sacred space violated in such ugly ways. Much like our broader Whole & Healthy Church Policies work to eliminate situations that could cause harm to staff, clergy, and parishioners, the addition of these new policies reduces the chances that people who come to our online meetings or worship with us remotely will be harmed in any way. 

If you have any questions about the following policies or would like to schedule a tutorial on how best to secure your meetings, please contact Caren Miles,

Online Zoom meeting codes, invitations, and links should not be posted on the congregation’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram, or other social media. Codes and links should only be sent in emails or direct messages. On your websites and social media, you can post an email address or registration link so that newcomers and visitors can join worship and other online meetings.

Some online meeting software has a registration feature that would allow you to post the registration freely and know exactly who will be able to attend.

Before online meetings begin, account default settings in Zoom should be changed to the following:

  • Do not allow attendees to enter the meeting before the hosts.
  • Turn off the private messaging between attendees. 
  • Turn off file transfer.
  • Turn off screen sharing.
  • Turn off annotation.
  • Automatically save all chat logs.

You can undo any of the above settings while in the meeting if needed.

Familiarize yourself with the in-meeting security features. All meetings should have two staff or leaders. One of the leaders runs the meeting and keeps it on task. The other leader will be the door person. The job of the door person is to keep track of the waiting room – only let in people you are expecting and know. The door person will also keep an eye on in-meeting security. They should know how to mute or turn off the camera of an attendee. They are the person who would remove someone from the meeting if they were being disruptive or vulgar. Some software also has a way to report a user for abuse when you remove them from the meeting.

All online meetings should be locked once everyone has arrived or 10 minutes after the scheduled start time.

Very few of these meeting services are truly confidential. Screen shots and recordings may happen without your knowledge so please take care in what is visible to the camera and what you say. Make sure you have permission from everyone in the meeting (or their guardian if it is a minor) before posting a screen shot of your meeting or worship service online. Also, remove all names from the photo.

All Whole & Healthy Church policies regarding social media, mandated reporting, harassment, misconduct, and youth ministry still apply in the online world.