First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Rev. Toby Jones, Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

How do I use this Zoom thing?

Welcome to our first “Tips and Tricks” post. These posts will address specific questions that we get frequently.

It probably comes as no surprise that our first post will be about the main way the church is having group meetings online. Zoom Video conferencing!

Why zoom?

Zoom allows people to join meetings in different ways – video conferencing from computer, tablet, or smart phone, and there is also the option to just dial in from any phone number. This should enable as many people as possible to participate, regardless of their comfort level with technology.

First, it lets people use both their computers and their phones be in the same meeting.

So, if you are super comfortable with video conferences and online meetings, Great!

If you don’t want to deal with all of that, you can still join in, just by dialing a phone number, and entering the meeting ID code and password. 

Second, zoom gives a lot of tools and options to have a good meeting. I’ll use our weekly Bible study as an example. 

We use the same study each week, but not everyone is able to print out the Bible study at home. So, Pastor Greg (or anyone hosting or co-hosting the meeting) can share their computer screen so everyone else can follow along without having to change windows in their computer. 

Also, one of the challenges of any conference call is all the background noise which makes it harder to hear. (we will talk about proper zoom etiquette later on). In a pinch, any host can mute someone else’s microphone to cut down on noise. 

Third, we can record meetings if we want to make them available later. We did this with our church leadership retreat in February. 

Zoom Basics

Calling Into a Zoom Meeting:

Here are the instructions on how to call into a Zoom meeting from any telephone, it does not need to be a smart phone or even have a camera. This may be easier than trying to video conference, so if you are having difficulty, give this option a try.  
1. Dial the phone number provided in the Zoom Invite. When asked, put in our Meeting ID, then put in the password. This information is available within the Zoom invitation that is sent to you by the meetings host, usually via email. Please then mute your phone so we don’t hear any background noise. Zoom is very good at picking up on sounds and broadcasts them to everyone.

Installing Zoom onto your computer, tablet, or smartphone for video conferencing: 
You can download zoom from or as an app on your device. If you need help, detailed instructions can be found here: Downloading Zoom

Joining A Zoom Gathering: 
If you are joining by computer, tablet, or smartphone, click on the Zoom link provided in your invite. Enter your meeting ID and password found within the invitation. 
You can also call from any phone and enter the Meeting ID number & password.  Although we have been using generic login’s, we will now be sending out individual Meeting ID numbers and passwords. This will prevent any unwanted people “Zoomboming” our meeting. This information will be provided, ahead of time, by the host of the meeting. Please check your email often, as this will generally be the means in which your meeting invite is sent to you. 
If none of these work for you, please contact Leah in the office or pastor Greg to help you troubleshoot.

Zoom Tips & Etiquette
Menu: You will have a menu of icons towards the top or bottom of your screen include Mute, Stop Video, and Chat (sometimes listed under “More”).

Muting: In large groups, the host may automatically “mute” you to avoid cacophony It is considered polite to “mute” and “unmute” yourself when you are in a meeting
to avoid lots of background noise. You would use the icon shaped like a microphone; it will have a line across it when you are muted.

Advanced Muting: You can go into the settings and adjust your audio preferences, including having yourself automatically muted when you join a meeting, and turning
on the feature to press and hold the SPACE bar to temporarily unmute yourself.

Stop Video: If for any reason you don’t want folks seeing into your home, you can click on “stop video” icon shaped like a video camera. You will still be on the call.

Chat: Since it is impractical to talk all at once on Zoom, the chat function offers another opportunity to ask questions, give feedback, or submit prayer requests. The
Chat icon is shaped like a cartoon speech bubble. When you click on it, a chat screen will open up on the right side of your video. The space to type is towards the bottom.

Thanks for your patience we know many of you are learning something new and those leading worship are learning what will work as well! Feel free to send feedback via email afterwards about what did or didn’t work for you.