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Midwest – March 3-5, 2023
Pacific Coast – Oct 6-8, 2023
Southeast – Feb 16-18, 2024
West – September 13-15, 2024
National – January 20, 2024

Zoom Tips for national Retreat

Dear Everyone–

We’re almost there! Saturday is just around the corner. Emily and I, along with our panel speakers, have been praying and preparing for our time together. The Holy Spirit will direct our final steps in preparation, and then our time together. Praise God!

We know that there is a wide variety of experience with Zoom. Because of this, we’ve put together a few key tips and reminders for a large meeting via videoconferencing. Those of you with experience will nod your heads as you read (and probably think of more things than we’ll share). Those of you who are new to Zoom, take heart–we will help you as best we can. Please read this email carefully. 

Zoom tips:

1. Audio–In general, please keep your mic muted unless you are speaking. If your mic is “hot,” everyone will hear you and everything in your background–the kids, the animals, the fire trucks, and other things you wish we wouldn’t hear. If you’re on your phone, be mindful of accidentally hitting the unmute button. And, if you forget, not to worry, we’ll mute you, but we’ll know who it was because Zoom highlights your window when your connection makes noise. Fair warning. 🙂

2. Video–We’d love to see you! Please consider turning on your camera during the entire event. That means we’ll see whatever is in the room with you, but mostly we want to see your beautiful faces. If you’re fancy, you can blur your background in Zoom, but if not, you can be real and we don’t mind dishes, laundry, and working household views. Marthas and Marys are both welcome; come as you are. 

3. Name and Location–Your Zoom video window shows a name to identify you during the meeting. Emily, myself, and your panelists will model what we’d like to have you all do for this event to let others know your location, like this: “Tina Eichstadt – Spokane Valley, WA.” To do this, click the blue button with three dots in the top right corner of your video window. Select “Rename” and change to the format above. Easy!

4. Chat–We’ll do a quick tutorial when we get online about the chat function of Zoom. It’s a great way to participate and ask questions or comment. Emily and I will keep a close eye on it in case anyone needs something about the meeting itself. Those of us who have used Zoom will model excellent, on-topic chat messages to add to the togetherness, won’t we? Yes, we will! 😉

5. Breakout Rooms–During small(er) group time, we’ll be sending everyone into a virtual breakout room with one of the panelists. Nothing for you to do ahead of time, but be ready to follow simple directions! I will be assigning these rooms and managing this live in the meeting. I would ask those of you who have experience with this feature of Zoom to look for ways to help others as needed.

6. “Watch Party” groups–There are a number of our churches who are hosting groups for this event. Each location has a technical lead to help with logistics. Thank you! Please support your group with a test of your audio and video so we can see and hear everyone at your location. The tech lead should also be prepared to relay questions and comments in the chat on behalf of your group. We know who you are, so we’ll work together! If you have multiple computers running in a single location, remember to mute your mics and sound on all but one computer to avoid feedback.

7. Recording–We will be recording this event for those who can’t make it but don’t want to miss a thing! We will be posting the final file in a non-public, secure location and will share the link only by email (not social media). By attending this meeting, you agree to be a part of this recording. 

8. Login in early! Zoom just did another update, and when you click the “join meeting” button, Zoom will check your computer to make sure you have the latest update and the videoconferencing file on your computer to run the meeting. This can take a few minutes, so plan accordingly, and then sing the Jeopardy theme while you wait with joy. We’ll have music playing starting about 30 minutes ahead, so if you want to hear our playlist, c’mon in and sing along!

Wayne (aka Pastor Eichstadt) will be our technical contact if you need anything in set-up or during the meeting. His email is and cell/text is 507-380-1068.

Most important: Don’t forget to bring your Bible and some way to take notes! We also recommend bringing a refreshing cup of coffee, tea, water, or the like. Finally, reflect on how you personally welcome God’s Word in your daily life. Be ready to listen, learn, and share. 

A final encouragement. Video meetings like this test our resolve to focus and be “present.” Those dishes, laundry, and household tasks can wait. Silence your phone notifications. Prepare to be as “unavailable” as possible. Resist the urge to multitask. Let’s be fully in the Word together. After all, each of us has chosen to Press Pause.

See you Saturday!

By His Grace, 

Tina and Emily