Recently an online seminar was held to review how things might be different after a year of being Church online, unable to do much in person.  Several uses of technology were suggested, and WhatsApp was particularly recommended as a new tool for housegroups or prayer support groups.

As we embark on an ambitious development project, a need for prayer support has been identified, and WhatsApp may fulfil a part of this need - though clearly it won't help everyone, and won't be the only form of prayer support group we need.

Simulated WhatsApp session on smartphoneWhatsApp is an app which can be installed on any iPhone or Android smartphone.  It permits users to join up in "chats" which are groups of users who can send messages, in a similar way to texting or posting on Facebook or Twitter.  The messages can be seen by all members of the "chat" but not by anyone else.  It's good for busy people, as messages remain visible even if you don't see them when they are first sent. 

Pictures, sound and video can be attached - but it's mainly about text.  In the picture, the green balloons show text you type, and the white ones what other people type. If there are more than two people, each white balloon contains the sender's name.

Anyone with the app installed can invite any other user to join a chat, so long as you know their mobile phone number.  I propose to set up a trial group, which may become one or more prayer support groups if it's successful.

If you have WhatsApp on your phone, you can join in by

  • texting me, on 07563 234967
  • adding me as a contact (read how here) and then searching for me using the magnifying glass at the top of the WhatsApp screen

We'll see how it goes...


How to install WhatsApp:

  1. Install the app from the Play Store (Android) or App Store (iPhone).
  2. Launch the app and approve the requested permissions.
  3. Enter your phone number and tap Confirm.
  4. Enter the verification code received via text (or WhatsApp may do this automatically).
  5. Import existing contacts into the app (optional).

That’s all there is to it! You’re now ready to start chatting with any of your contacts that have WhatsApp installed. You can also manually add contacts to WhatsApp if you don’t want to import your entire contact list.

How to set up your WhatsApp profile

Before you start chatting, there is one more step you may want to take. Creating a profile will help your contacts know who you are, even if they don’t have your number saved in their contacts. You could adjust your name, and maybe add a picture, and a short bio.

  1. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner of the app and tap Settings.
  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen.
  3. To change your picture, tap the camera icon and select a photo.
  4. To change your name, tap the pencil icon next to Name.
  5. Enter or adjust your bio by tapping the pencil icon next to About.

How to start a chat

80WhatsApp new chat iconNow that your profile is set, it’s time to get to the task at hand: chatting! The first time you open the app you won’t have any chats open, but you can start a new chat by tapping on the chat bubble in the bottom right.

From there, simply select the contact you want to chat with from the list. If you already have a previous chat with that contact, it will open that instead of a brand new chat. All that’s left now is to type your message at the bottom of the screen. After entering your text, tap the arrow icon that appears alongside the text box to send it.

You can also send pictures or files on WhatsApp by tapping the paperclip or camera icons at the bottom of the screen.