Adding a new small group
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Adding a small group
Setting up small groups in ChurchSuite is quick and easy. To add a small group to your ChurchSuite account, simply go to the Groups section of the Small Groups module and click Add group.
On the Add group pop-up, fill in all the details for the group - the group Name and group Start Date are required fields.
Use the drop-down selectors to specify when the group typically meets - either selecting the group's meeting Frequency and Day from the drop down lists and setting the Time, or select "Custom" Frequency and enter a free-text description for irregular frequencies e.g. "Mondays at 8pm in term time only", "First and Third Thursdays Monthly at 7.30pm", "Various days and dates".
Custom group meeting details
Many of ChurchSuite's reports include the option to filter by the group's Meets on day. For groups where a "Custom" Frequency has been specified, the Various Days report filter option should be used to match groups with custom, unspecified meeting days.
Optionally specify the group's Location and Postcode. You can provide a generic location name and partial postcode if you wish e.g. "Bill & John's House, Beeston, NG4". A group Start Date is required - this can be a past or future date.
Optionally set the group's Tags and Cluster - see the related support articles - and add a brief Description of the group e.g. what does the group do, who is it suitable for? Multi-site churches will be able to set the Site that the group belongs too - small groups can either be site-specific or "All Sites".
Continue scrolling down through the group settings. Set the group's Visibility and Sign Up settings as appropriate. By default a group is only visible to Small Groups module Users in ChurchSuite, but you can set the group to be visible in ChurchSuite's member-facing platform (Show in My ChurchSuite), on your web site (Show in Embed), and at your church's information point (Show in Connect). In addition to the group being visible to prospective group members, you can also select where people can sign up to the group. Each small group has its own unique public-facing Group page and a group page link that you can manually distribute through your communications. You can also enable Sign up through that Group page; and where the group is also visible, you can enable Sign up through My ChurchSuite, Embed and Connect.
Where Sign Up is enabled, you must set the dates within which people can sign up. A Start Date (when sign up is open from) is required, but the End Date (when sign up closes) is optional if you wish to allow ongoing sign-up, even after the group has started. Typically the 'sign up start date' is before the 'group's start date', however, for an existing group that has already started you may wish to re-open sign up at any time in the future.
Optionally specify any maximum group Capacity. While Small Groups module Users can always add members to groups, regardless of capacity, group sign up will only be possible if there is remaining capacity in the group.
Next, select when group members are able to view the Member List of other group members when they are viewing their group within My ChurchSuite - the member list can be set to be visible Immediately (as soon as they've signed up), or After sign-up ends. With the latter option, the member list will never be visible if an end date has not been specified.
Finally, select the default Member Status of new group members when they sign-up - new group members can be added or signed up to the group with either an Active or Pending status. Active group members are joined immediately to the group and are able to view the group member list in My ChurchSuite (subject to the Member List visibility setting); Pending group members are added, but must first be approved (set active) by the group's leaders before they are able to view the group's member list in My ChurchSuite. Pending status group members will not receive group emails sent by fellow group members from within My ChurchSuite until they are set active. Group members with a pending status will not be visible on the group's member list to other group members until they are set active. Subject to their "role permissions", small group leaders are able to "set active" pending group members from within My ChurchSuite, or a User can set them active from the group's "View" page in the Small Groups module in ChurchSuite.
Remember to Save the changes before navigating away from the page. After saving the group you are taken to the group's "View" page.
From here you can optionally upload a group Image - perhaps of the group's leaders - PNG or JPEG file formats are accepted. Hover your cursor over the group avatar icon and click the pencil icon...
You can drag and drop a suitable image into the drop zone, or choose an image from your device.
Where group sign up is enabled, take time to compose a welcoming confirmation Email that people will receive when they sign up to the group - select the Edit action from the action cog menu...
...and type a brief sign-up confirmation message. Click Save before navigating away.
Returning to the group's "View" page, notice the button options available at the top of the page, including Go to group page, which will preview the public-facing Group Page that prospective group members will see. You can easily embed the Group Page URL in your communications if you wish. Subject to the group's visibility, the group page will also be visible in My ChurchSuite, Embed and Connect. The Share button provides options to optionally share the group page on social media channels; and you can Print flyers for the group - ideal for giving a someone a leaflet about the group.
Finally, notice that the group "View" page has three tabs - Members, Attendance, and Map. See the related support articles for further information on adding group members and attendance.
New groups are added to the list in the Groups section of the Small Groups module. Active and Future groups are listed by default, but note how you can select between viewing Past, Active and Future small groups - if your new group isn't listed, check that you're viewing the correct group status!
Duplicating an existing small group
You can speed up the process of creating multiple new groups in ChurchSuite by using the Duplicate option. This feature is also useful if you run termly groups (e.g. Activate groups) that are started or re-started each term in order to facilitate a new sign-up period to engage newcomers and re-engage existing group members, or if you're re-activating a previously archived group and want to re-use the same group settings without affecting the historical group data.
Duplicating a group has the effect of duplicating every aspect of the small group settings, including the group visibility and sign-up settings, and optionally, the previous members and roles of the group. During the duplication process you can of course edit the group details before saving.
When duplicating an existing group, notice the Duplicate members checkbox option. If you just want to duplicate the group and its setting, but not the members and roles, simply untick the Duplicate members checkbox before saving the changes to your duplicated group.
You can also duplicate a group by selecting Duplicate from the cog action menu in the Groups list.