Gatherings and groups for children

In this article

Introduction to gatherings, groups and sessions
Adding a gathering
Adding groups to a gathering
Archiving or deleting a gathering
Archiving or deleting a group

Introduction to gatherings, groups and sessions

A Gathering is a collection of age-based Groups for which you maintain attendance for each Session that the gathering meets. Session attendance can be manually added from printed registers or automatically added using the ChurchSuite Child Check-In system.

Typically a gathering relates to the children/youth ministry perhaps run at weekend church services but you may have other gatherings, such as a mid-week youth club or toddlers group, or an occasional gathering, like a holiday club.

  • Where the group structure is different on each of these occasions you'll have a separate gathering and you'll record attendance for each session that each gathering meets.
  • Where the group structure is the same on some of these occasions, you'll only need one gathering - recording attendance for each session the gathering meets.
  • Where you have multiple services using the same gathering of groups, the attendance Session name is used to distinguish which occasion the gathering's attendance data relates to. Session names need not include the session date - the system already knows which date attendance is being recorded.

For multi-site customers, gatherings are site-specific, so you'll add separate gatherings for each site.

Group names need not be unique, but a Gathering name must always be unique. While children can belong to a group in multiple gatherings, a child can only belong to one group in any one gathering - see the related support article for adding children to groups.

Adding a gathering

Navigate to the Groups section of the Children module and click Add gathering.

On the Add gathering pop-up, give the gathering a suitable Name. Specify the Maximum age of children for this gathering and select when a Child leaves on from the drop-down list. Children are not automatically removed from groups when they reach the gathering maximum age, however, children can be processed through each group as they get older and out of the gathering when they are no longer eligible. See the related support article for further information on processing children through groups as they get older. Finally, those using multi-site will need to select the gathering Site - gatherings are always site-specific, so you'll likely need to separate gatherings for each of your sites. Click Save to add the new gathering.

The gathering View is displayed. From here you can add one or more Groups - see the next section - or Edit the gathering if you wish to make changes. See later in this article for further information on the consequences of archiving or deleting a gathering.

Adding groups to a gathering

From the gathering View, click Add group.

On the Add group pop-up, enter the group Name and specify the age Entry Criteria for children to be eligible for the group. Next, select whether children are Processed into the group based on their Birthday or a particular month in the year. When adding children to groups, the Entry Criteria are used in conjunction with a child's date of birth to determine their age and suggested eligible group. Similarly, when processing groups as children get older, the Entry Criteria and Process Date are used to determine each child's eligible group. The group exit criteria are not necessary - the exit criteria are derived from the follow-on group's entry criteria, or for the oldest group, the maximum age set for the Gathering.

For those using ChurchSuite's Child Check-In system, the group's Check-In Options determine the number of Badges of each type that are printed when a child is checked in. Setting a value of 0 means no badges of that type are produced. Optionally set a group Capacity - the maximum number of children that can be checked into the group. No further check-ins will be possible once the group is full. Finally, based on your child protection policy, set the group Ratio - the group "fill" progress is shown in real-time in the Check-In "Admin Area", helping leaders see group capacity and the adult-to-child status based on the checked-in children, visitors and adult team. Click Save to add the group.

The group View is displayed showing all the group details just added. From here, you can add group members - see our related support article: Adding children to groups. Remember, children can only belong to one group in a gathering. You should add a separate gathering (and groups) for each occasion where children and young people gather. Click on the gathering Name to return to the gathering View to add further groups to the gathering.

Continue adding all other groups for the Gathering.

See later in this article for further information on the consequences of archiving or deleting a group in a gathering.

Archiving or deleting a gathering

When the structure of your children or youth ministry changes, rather than making changes to the gathering, you may find it helpful to preserve the ministry history - the groups and the related historic attendance - by archiving the gathering and adding a new gathering that reflects the new structure.

What happens when a gathering is archived?
  • all groups remain linked to the gathering
  • all children remain assigned to their group in the gathering
  • all historic group attendance remains linked to the archived gathering and is accessible and reportable in the Children module
  • historic group attendance continues to show on child and visitor profiles
  • all session templates relating to the gathering are hidden and won't surface in the Child Check-In system - check-in sessions can only be started for active gatherings
  • Smart tags may be affected
  • an archived gathering can be set active again
What happens when a gathering is deleted?
  • the gathering is permanently deleted from the Children module
  • all groups are unlinked from the gathering and archived and cannot be re-linked to a gathering
  • all children are removed from the archived groups
  • all historic group attendance is preserved but will no longer be attached to a gathering (attendance reporting will be affected)
  • linked check-in sessions for the gathering will be deleted, including any active check-in sessions (session reporting will be affected
  • historic group attendance continues to show on child and visitor profiles
  • all session templates for the gathering are deleted and will no longer show in the Child Check-In system - a check-in session can only be started for an active gathering
  • Smart tags may be affected

To archive a Gathering, navigate to the Groups section of the module and select Archive from the gathering Actions:

To reactivate a previously archived gathering, switch from viewing Active to Archived gatherings and select Set as Active.

Historic group attendance for an archived gathering continues to show in the Attendance section of the module, with archived gathering names distinguished in strikethrough styling. The attendance remains fully editable and reportable.

Archiving or deleting a group

Depending on the ministry changes, and as an alternative to archiving an entire gathering, it is also possible to archive individual groups within a gathering (and later set them active again if needed). Note that it is not possible to move groups between gatherings. Instead, archive the group from one gathering and create a new group in the new gathering.

What happens when a group is archived?
  • all children are removed from the archived group member list but can be optionally added to an alternative active group in the same gathering (children can only belong to one group in a gathering)
  • all historic group attendance data is preserved and remains linked to the archived group
  • Smart tags may be affected
  • an archived group can be set as active again
What happens when a group is deleted?
  • all children are removed from the deleted group but can be optionally added to an alternative active group in the same gathering (children can only belong to one group in a gathering)
  • Attendance data is preserved but will be unlinked from the deleted group
  • The unlinked attendance data will continue to show on child and visitor profiles and in the Attendance Summary report
  • Group attendance reporting will be affected
  • Smart tags may be affected

To archive a group, and while working from the gathering View in the Groups section of the Children module, select Archive from the group Actions. Note the option to switch between viewing Archived and Active groups.

When viewing the Archived group list, a group can be Set as active again.

Historic attendance for an archived group continues to show in the Attendance section of the module, distinguished by a yellow warning triangle. The attendance remains fully editable and reportable.

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