Introduction to Groups
Small groups, life groups, cell groups, connect groups – whatever you call them - they are the lifeblood of the church. The Groups module in GoDoChurch allows you to manage these groups and communicate with them easily.
Here is a summary of the features of the Groups module.
Create groups in the system, specifying who the leader is.
Add group members.
Add a location and time for the small group.
Message all group leaders or group members.
Create different types of groups.
Draw reports on group growth.
See where groups are based on a Google map.
Launch a custom group search engine at church on Sunday (or post the link on your website) to help people find a group.
When to use lists and when to use groups
The Groups module is designed to help you manage the small groups in your church. If you are looking for a way to keep track of who is in a particular ministry then the Lists module is better suited to this purpose. For more info read Introduction to Communication for our suggestions on how the Groups module and Lists module can fit into your communication strategy.
How groups are structured in GoDoChurch
GoDoChurch uses group categories and group types to organize all your groups. Each group will be of a particular type and fall under a specific category. Here is why we have adopted this approach.
The most common type of group in a church is a small group or cell group – a group of people who meet together on a weekly basis (usually at someone's house) to pray, study the word, and connect. For the purposes of illustration let's call these groups 'Cell groups'.
But this isn't the only type of group Churches have. Some churches have small groups for the leaders of small groups, and these groups are usually lead by a regional leader. This ensures the leaders of small groups are also getting the pastoral input they need. These groups might be called 'Area cells'.
Because both types of group are geared towards pastoral input it would be helpful to be able to categorize these groups into a group category called 'Pastoral Groups'. In GoDoChurch that is entirely possible and that is the purpose of group categories.
There are many other types of groups. Your church may have groups specifically geared towards outreach – some focussing on sport, others on shared interest (like a knitting club!), In this case you would create two group types: 'Sport outreach group' and 'Shared interest outreach group' and place both in their own group category called: 'Outreach groups'.
The end result is two group categories: 'Pastoral groups' and 'Outreach groups' – each of which contains two different group types:
Group Category: 'Pastoral groups':
Group Types: 'Cell group' and 'Area group'
Group Category: 'Outreach group'
Group Types: 'Sport outreach group' and 'Shared interest outreach group'
Do I need to make things so complicated?
Not at all. It is entirely possible that your church has just one kind of group – a cell group! In this case, create just one group category (e.g. Pastoral Groups) and one group type (e.g. Cell group).
Restricting access to group information
We understand that you don't want every group type to be visible when searching for a group, and we understand that you want some groups to have a closed membership. You can control all of these settings from within the admin system, and we cover this topic in detail in Adding a New Group.
When should we start to use the Groups module?
Keeping accurate data on all your small groups (group membership, group leadership, etc.) can take a lot of work. Most churches do not have this kind of info simply because it takes too much effort to keep it all up-to-date.
With the Groups module in place, you can easily keep track of your groups and message the group leaders. We recommend the following strategy:
For those who are new to GoDoChurch: load up all your small groups into the Admin system, but don't bother to add members to each group. This will still allow you to communicate with your group leaders, and see how many groups you have.
If you already have all your groups in the Groups module, then consider giving your group leaders low-level access to the admin system so that they can keep their group info up to date.
Where to from here?
The first step in adding groups to GoDoChurch is to set up your default categories and types. Read Manage group categories and types to learn how.
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