Adding small groups
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Adding small groups
To add a small group, head into 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, Reference (an internal-use identifier optionally enabled in the module's settings), Frequency, Day and Time, Location and group Start Date (required). The End date is optional. Location can be Physical or Online - see our related support article Running online small groups for further information.
...or specify a Custom Frequency e.g. "Mondays at 8 pm in term time only", "First and Third Thursdays Monthly at 7.30 pm", or "Various days and dates".
Custom group meeting details
Many of ChurchSuite's reports include the option to filter by the group Meets on day of the week. The Various Days filter option should be used to match groups that have custom meeting details.
Select the group's Labels and Cluster as appropriate - see the related support articles for further information about Categorising small groups using labels and Managing small group oversight with clusters. For multi-site customers, select the Site the group belongs to - small groups can be site-specific or "All Sites".
Add responses for any Custom Fields added to the Small Groups module - see the related article on Adding small group custom fields.
Set the group's Visibility. Left unticked, the group is only visible to Small Groups module Users in ChurchSuite, but you can optionally set the group visible to Show in My ChurchSuite, on your website in an embedded map or groups list (Show in Embed), and at your in-person services and events when running ChurchSuite Connect on a device at your Information Point (Show in Connect).
And finally, choose the Sign Up settings appropriate for the group. Left unticked, group sign-up will be disabled and only module users will be able to assign people to the group. However, each small group has a public-facing Group Page with a unique URL that can be shared in your communications or on social media through which people can sign up to join the group. You have further granular signup control through My ChurchSuite, Embed and Connect. See the related support articles for more information about group sign-up through My ChurchSuite, Connect and Embed. With Sign up through Group Page enabled, and on a group-by-group basis, you can further control:
- the Sign Up Start (required) and End date range (the end date is optional - signup can remain active indefinitely)
- the group Capacity, further sign-up will be prevented when the group reaches capacity, although a module user (in ChurchSuite) or group members with Edit Group Details role permission (in My ChurchSuite) can override group capacity and add additional members
- the Member List visibility for active group members
- the default Member Status of new members when they sign up, enabling you to operate an approval process whereby pending status sign-ups have to be set as active before they join the active group member list. Small group module users (in ChurchSuite) and group members with Edit Group Details role permission (in My ChurchSuite) can approve (set as active) members to the group or remove them from the group. Removal notifications are not sent to the removed person, so leaders would need to contact the person to let them know
Clicking Save adds the group and redirects you to the newly added group View showing all the details you've just entered. You can return to this page in the future should you need to Edit and make changes to the group's details. Finally in this section, notice the option to add a group Description, ideal for giving prospective group members additional information about the group when they are viewing the group page. And, for signup-enabled groups, you can customise the Confirmation Email that people receive when they sign up to join the group.
Returning to the Groups section, here you can further manage Active, Future and Past groups. Note the group Actions to View, Duplicate, Edit and Delete a group. The Search and Advanced Search can be used to find specific groups within a long list.
Importing small groups
You can import lists of small groups, making the process of adding multiple groups considerably quicker than adding groups individually. The import workflow is ideal for those running termly groups, where you first collate the list of next term's groups outside of ChurchSuite and then import the list in one process.
Working from within the Groups section of the module, click Import groups.
The Import Groups page contains lots of useful information on Creating your CSV file, which will help you prepare your file of groups ready for import. There's even an Example file that you can download to help visualise how the group data should be presented or used as a template for your group import. There's a comprehensive list of all the supported fields that can be imported. You don't have to supply data for every field in your CSV file but ChurchSuite will import every column in your CSV file that has a field header that it recognises.
The first row in the CSV file must contain the header information - the column labels used to match the appropriate field in ChurchSuite. If you use the suggested field-naming convention for the CSV header row, ChurchSuite will automatically map the data in your file to the appropriate field in the Small Groups module. For multi-site customers, and where the group Site is not specified in the CSV file, groups will be added to the site being viewed. If your file includes multi-site groups we recommend you include a Site column in the CSV file and import the file viewing as "All sites". Site names specified in the CSV file must precisely match the site-naming convention used in ChurchSuite.
When you are ready to proceed click Choose file to search/select the CSV to be uploaded. Then click Upload CSV File.
After upload, a preview of the CSV file data is displayed. Each CSV Header field needs to be mapped to a field in the Small Groups module. For each CSV Header that matches a field in ChurchSuite, that field will be automatically selected in the Import As column. Any unrecognised CSV Header fields are distinguished with a yellow warning triangle and will not be imported. However, you can use the Import As drop-down selector to select the appropriate field to map that CSV Header. Once you are satisfied that all the CSV Header fields are mapped to the correct field in ChurchSuite, scroll to the bottom of the page and select Import All Records or Cancel if you need to abort and make further changes to your CSV file.
The uploaded items are now verified. Valid rows are distinguished by a green tick and any invalid rows are distinguished by a yellow warning triangle and the Errors listed. You can View, Edit (to correct an error) or Remove a row. You can Process valid items at any time - any invalid items remain on the list until resolved or removed. Common errors are missing required data or data supplied in an incompatible format for the field. You can Pause or Delete an import at any time.
You can resume an incomplete/paused import at any time. Click back into the Groups section of the module, and the Import groups page to Resume or Delete an import.
Managing small group capacity
You can manage the Capacity of small groups, enabling you to cap groups when they are full and encourage people to consider other groups. Group capacity isn't just about optimum group sizes or venue size constraints; it can also increase engagement during a group sign-up period!
For those using the Activate small group model (created by Nelson Searcey), greater small group engagement is encouraged by setting group capacity constraints that encourage people to sign up quickly before their desired group fills up. It's also great for newer people to have a visual indicator of the size and capacity status of a group when they're choosing a group - they might be less inclined to sign up for an empty group.
Once the group sign-up capacity is reached no further signups will be possible and the group page will show This group is full.
Similarly, those signing up through a group page from the Connect or Embed group lists will see whether groups are full or open for sign-up. Groups at capacity continue to be shown in the list so that people see a clear picture of your small group ministry - rather than thinking there might only be one or two groups, when actually you may have many small groups but all but a couple are full!
Small Groups module Users are always able to add members - a Capacity warning is shown with the option to Ignore capacity and proceed. Note, no capacity warning is shown when adding group members via a Flow.
Small group capacity can be set on a group-by-group basis for groups that have sign-up enabled. On the Edit group pop-up, scroll down to the Sign Up section and specify the group Capacity and save the changes.
Monitoring small group capacity and sign-up progress
In the Small Groups module's Reports section, the Capacity report provides a concise visual overview of sign-up progress. You can further filter the report to just see groups in certain Clusters or with certain Labels.