Adding a new small group
Setting up small groups in ChurchSuite is quick and easy. To add a small group to your ChurchSuite account, simply go to "Small Groups" > "Groups" and click "Add Group".
Fill in all the details for the group - the group name and start date are required fields. You can also optionally add the group's members at this stage, if you wish.
Use the drop-down selectors to specify the group's meeting frequency and interval, or select "Custom" and enter a free text description for all other instances e.g. "Mondays in term time only", "First and Third Thursdays Monthly", "Various days and dates to be advised".The group location and postcode can also be specified. You can provide a generic location name and partial postcode if you wish e.g. "Alec & Michael's home, Beeston, NG4". Multi-site churches will be able to select to which 'site' the group belongs.
Custom group meeting details
Many of ChurchSuite's reports include the option to filter by the group meeting day. For groups where "Custom" meeting details are provided, the "Various Days" filter option should be used to match groups with custom, unspecified meeting days.
Optionally upload an image for the group - perhaps a photo of the group's leaders - PNG or JPEG file formats are accepted. You can optionally group your groups together in categories using Group Tags. You can assign multiple tags to a group. Once created, group tags can be used as filters in many of the small group reports, but also for helping prospective group members find appropriate groups through Connect and Embed - for example, you could create tags for the focus or suitability of the group for new believers, newcomers etc. See the related support articles for more details about group tags.
If the cluster oversight feature has been enabled in your Small Groups module settings, you'll be able to assign the group to a cluster. A group can only be assigned to one cluster. Finally, add an optional group description to tell prospective members about the group, the leaders and focus of the group - a great way to publicise the itinerary for the coming term.
Scrolling down to the next section of the "Add new group" page, set the group's visibility and sign-up settings as appropriate.
If you have enabled online sign-up or sign-up from Embed, now specify the date range within which sign-up is permitted. A start date is required, but the end date is optional if you wish to allow ongoing sign-ups. Specify any maximum group capacity (optional, perhaps based on the venue size), and select when group members are able to view a list of other group members when they view the group within My ChurchSuite - the member list can be set as visible immediately, or when sign-up ends. With the latter option, the sign-up list will never be visible if an end date has not been specified.
Lastly, take time to compose a welcoming confirmation email that newcomers will receive when they sign up to the group.
At this stage you can optionally add members to the group. If you've created small group roles (see related support article), you can also assign them to group members - for example for "leader" or "host".
Remember to save the changes to your group before navigating away from the page.
New groups are added to the list accessible in the Small Groups > Groups section of the module. Note how you can select between viewing Archived, Active and Future small groups - if your new group isn't listed, check that you're viewing the correct group status section.
Adding a new small group by duplicating an existing one
You can speed up the process of creating multiple new groups in ChurchSuite by using the "Duplicate Group" option. This feature is also useful if you run termly groups that are re-birthed each term in order to facilitate a new sign-up period to engage newcomers and re-engage existing members, or if you're re-activating a previously archived group and want to re-use the same group settings.
Duplicating a group has the effect of duplicating every aspect of your small group settings, including the group visibility and sign-up settings, and also all the members and roles of the group. You can of course override all of this once the group has been duplicated, making edits as required.
Go to "Small Group" > "Groups". Click the cog-wheels on the right-hand side of the group you would like to duplicate. Select "Duplicate Group". There's also a "Duplicate group" button each group's page within the module.
You are now taken to the "Add Group" page where you can now rename your duplicated group, set the start/end dates, manage visibility, and add/remove members to the group.
Note that setting a start date ahead of today's date will cause the group to be a "future" group and may therefore not seem immediately visible when you return to the Group list. Simply toggle to display "future" groups to see your new group (see below).