• Chris

How to run a faculty gathering

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Google Doc version

There are 4 options for faculties to run gatherings. These are the Thursday all-Union PM, a gathering run by the Faculty Committees, a gathering run by a newly formed team within the faculty, or combining with another faculty for gatherings. More information on these are under the “Where to from here” header.

Regardless of which option you go for, please assign a gatherings representative from within your committee who will liaise with the Public Meetings Team for weekly updates, times and talks. Please let us know of your representative by Wednesday of week 8.

Where to from here?

Please Note - whichever option you decide on please ensure you committee still selects a gatherings representative to communicate weekly with the public meetings team.

1) The Thursday Public Meeting → whole union PM

As Public Meetings have traditionally been an all union event, we didn’t want to remove the option for you to have an all-union public meeting. Public Meetings have traditionally remained in the public space of the university, and getting to meet and hear the Bible alongside believers from all across the campus and that isn’t going to change. There will still be a Public Meeting running every Thursday at 1 pm, followed by a social hangout, an Afternoon Z, similar to Afternoon Tea.

There will be format changes to this Public Meeting, similar to the other meetings, to be more inline with the same format in all the public teaching that is available week to week across the different Meetings that each faculty has the option of running. If you are not going to run your own version of a Public Meeting, please be aware that the Monday to Wednesday 1pm all-union Public Meetings are no longer happening while we remain in this online environment.

If your faculty is planning on only utilising this timeslot, we still ask that you assign a gatherings representative from within your committee so that you continue to receive the latest updates from the PM team.

2) Faculty Committees will run the faculty gathering

As a faculty committee you ultimately get to decide how your faculty runs gatherings for the rest of the semester. This means if you would like to be responsible for running online faculty gatherings each week then you can. However if your faculty is feeling overwhelmed or burdened there is always the option of delegating to other members of your faculty (see point 3 below) or combining gatherings with other faculties. As your representative with the Public Meetings team will be on your committee, if your team has enough time to run a faculty gathering, this would be a great way to do so.

Running in this format will allow you to take advantage of the teaching that is available at times that best suit you in a community best suited to following one another up. It also opens up new possibilities for peer to peer interaction, discussion questions and more! Feel free to add your own flavour to your faculty gathering, These are not designed to be replicas, but to give you an opportunity to reach your people the way only you know how to do.

For faculty committees who will be running their own gatherings, please see the section on Roles that are Required to Run a Faculty Gathering.

3) Faculty Committees will create a team within their faculty to be responsible for running gatherings

If your committee is already busy organising and dealing with other parts of ministry you can create a new faculty gatherings team in your faculty to be in charge or running gatherings each week. These people do not have to be part of the committee and it will be their responsibility to ensure faculty gatherings run each week. If you decide to do this we encourage the committee, specifically the gatherings representative, to still be in regular communication with the team to be aware of what is happening with all gatherings.

This is really exciting as it gives students opportunities to step up in leadership and take claim to a variety of roles and responsibilities that are necessary for getting faculty gatherings running. Allowing students to step up and be equipped in this space, opens up opportunities for them to do so at their home church, and provide them with ideas on how to improve their online church services in this ever changing world.

For faculties who will be running their own gatherings, please see the section on Roles that are Required to Run a Faculty Gathering.

4) Combine with another faculty for your Public Meetings

Some faculties may share the same Howie or be smaller in size. If this is the case there is freedom for you to combine with another faculty (if you wish) and run gatherings together! Your Howie and the gatherings representative will be given information about when different faculties are hosting their gatherings, so the sooner each faculty decides on timing and options, the easier it will be for faculties to work together.

For faculties who will be running gatherings together, please see the section on Roles that are Required to Run a Faculty Gathering. If you are combining, there only needs to be 1 person assigned to these roles, not 1 per faculty

FAQ: How to run a Faculty Gathering?

At this stage, we suggest using Zoom as the platform for running your own gatherings.

Setting up a meeting on Zoom

  1. Schedule Meeting from the Zoom main menu.

  2. “Copy invitation” found from the “meetings” tab from the menu - it’s really long, so you can delete unnecessary bits to leave the important bits: the topic, the URL and the Meeting ID (for people who want to just type in the ID into the zoom app)

Zoom features

Zoom has many great features to control your group should you choose to use them.


  • In a talk, it is ideal to mute all participants except for the speakers

  • When setting up the meeting, you can also choose for new participants to come in muted and/or video-muted

Screen Sharing

  • Great for sharing the bible passage, has annotation tools

  • Recommended for sharing the pre-recorded videos in the group. There is a setting while setting up screen-sharing that enables better video sharing


  • Useful for linking resources such as talks, podcasts or online articles

  • Encourages participation and engagement amongst attendees


  • Can draw whatever you like, group members can participate also

  • Useful for illustrations and games such as hangman

Breakout rooms (host function only)

  • Allows another room to be stemmed from the main group for smaller discussions

  • This option needs to be ticked in the browser settings of Zoom, not the app


  • Can single out a specific member who is leading the meeting, or to answer a question - they get priority audio and video

Polls (host function only)

  • Allows the host to gauge engagement or response to discussion questions

  • This option needs to be ticked in the browser settings of Zoom, not the app

Under “Advanced Options”...

Let Guests Join Before Host

  • This is a super important feature for the host of the meeting to have, as it enables people to be early/on time, which when you’re advertising your Zoom link prior to the meeting, there could be a possibility of people arriving at 3:45 or 3:55 if you start at 4 and you don’t want them to think the link is broken!

Enable waiting room

  • This feature can be used if you would like the people running the PM to get themselves ready before the audience enters the room

Annotation Locking

  • Hosts can choose to stop participants annotating on screens, which can be helpful to reduce distractions

How to access PM resources

The PM team will provide resources to help you and your faculty run a successful gathering each week. The main content will be uploaded and available on this website under "Weekly Talks".

Examples of resources we will provide are:

  • Suggested run sheet

  • A prerecorded main sermon from the speaker

  • Additional pre recorded videos such as panels

  • Pre-written prayers (up to faculty discretion whether used)

  • All-Union announcements

  • Tips and Tricks for running Public Meetings

  • And many more!

We will let faculty representatives know when the website goes live.

Roles Required to run a Faculty Gathering

This is a great way to get a wide range of people from your faculty involved in serving and leadership. Below are some suggested roles we think would be helpful but this list is not exhaustive, so feel free to add your own roles!

  • Zoom Host - a stable internet connection is required, so this might dictate your decision. This person will also be in charge of managing breakout rooms and all other zoom functions listed above

  • ‘Service Leader’ - not necessarily the zoom host, but someone who will lead the faculty through the gathering. We recommend someone who knows lots of people, someone who can improvise, and someone who knows what is going on. We also recommend this to be your faculty leader or someone on your committee so that the faculty comes to know them more as the public face of your faculty.

  • Usher - the usher would be responsible for doing a quick head count each week. We really value knowing who is at faculty gatherings each week as it helps us reflect on how the gatherings are going. We want to recommend that on top of doing a headcount you also write down the names of who is coming each week. We will provide a google sheet where all this information can be recorded.

  • Bible Reader

  • Prayer

How to promote this to your faculty?

Faculty gatherings will only be a success if your faculty actually knows about them! Intentional promotion is an effective way of encouraging people to attend public meetings normally, so the same is also true for the new faculty gatherings. Here are a list of suggested ways to promote the new style of gatherings to your faculty:

  • Personal Invitations - in the form of a personalised text message. Start each text with the name of the person you are inviting.

  • Small Group announcements - communicate to SG leaders the importance of reminding their members about public meetings each week.

  • Posting on your faculty’s socials - for example your facebook group or instagram page. Keep posts short and to the point!

Start promoting early to make sure your faculty is completely aware of the change when it begins in week 9.

How to find a good time for your faculty

Every faculty is different, with different members having different schedules. Running a faculty gathering gives you freedom to pick any time that is convenient for most people in your faculty: this doesn't have to be 1pm! We recommend picking a time from 10am or later, consider even an evening PM. Here are three recommendations to find the best time to run a public meeting for your faculty

  • Faculty wide google form

  • Polls during small groups

  • Referring to times collected when allocating small groups at the beginning of the semester (however most people’s availability has probably changed)

Note: This post has been edited to change references to "faculty PMs" to "faculty gatherings", the preferred way to refer to gatherings in this new format.

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