So we have the technology to bring members together in one-on-one meetings via video chat (simplest probably being flash-based in browser). What we need is a structure to organize these meetings and to synchronize members.
While it may be best to have it some other night, for the sake of discussion I think family night might work. So the idea would be to only open the servers for a few hours on monday nights. Whenever a family feels like participating on a particular week, they can sign on to this site and are put in a matchmaking queue. They are then connected to another family somewhere in the world and they can have a meeting - could be a devotional, or just meeting and sharing stories.
Expounding more on the structure, here are some parameters that members would set when logging in.
- What languages do you (or some of you) speak?
- What type of meeting would you like to have - formal or informal?
- If formal, would you like to be a host family or a guest family? (Host family would preside, and would have a message/lesson prepared.)
Having a limited window would help keep critical mass of members for matchmaking. There would be time zone issues, but at least initially, a 5 hour window would cover North and South America.
Here are some thoughts on positive meetings that could happen:
- Older couple that maybe doesn’t do family nights anymore meets with a young family.
- A father is able to use his mission language to introduce his children to the people and culture of his mission, and a foreign family is able to learn about the homes that missionaries come from.
- Sharing of conversion stories and family histories.
If desired the site would provide for scheduling specific meetings between families that have met together before, if they want to continue the connection. The site would email reminders of appointments. Once running all the time, the site could also be re-purposed by member for other types of meetings, like remote home teaching.
While there is much to discuss here, I feel that this helps fulfill the mission of the church to strengthen it’s membership. It uses new tools to do what we already know, meet and draw strength from each other - but allowing for interactions that would never normally be possible. It helps give members a context of how the church is really worldwide and how they are really unified in purpose with so many.
I welcome any feedback on this, I think the tech is pretty established(chatroulette) mostly it's figuring out structure and organization. Obviously this wouldn't replace family night, just supplement their regular nights occasionally. Members could opt-in when it fits for them.
I feel that this, or something like it, would be an amazing tool for the church to have.