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Part 1: The Basics

The City is a social network designed to help your church stay connected throughout the week. You'll know who to pray for, what to study, how to serve, and much more. It's a way to stay plugged in to everything happening in your church groups and ministry teams.

If you're new here, welcome! We'll help you take the first steps to discover all that The City has to offer.   

Step 1: Sign Up & Sign In

Since The City is a secure place, the first thing you need to do is create a City account. There are two ways to do this: either have a friend send you an invitation from The City or sign up at one of your church's connect kiosks.

 

 To sign up at a connect kiosk
  1. Enter Your Name.
  2. Enter your Email.
  3. Enter your Phone Number.
  4. Add any Additional Notes you want a connect agent to see.
  5. Click Only Send Invitation to join The City, or choose Help Me Get Connected! to have a connect agent help you find a group to join. Either of these buttons sends a City invitation to the email address you entered above.
 To respond to the invitation email
  1. Go to your email, find the invitation, and click Sign up for The City ».
  2. On the next screen, enter your desired Login.
  3. Enter a Password, then Confirm Password.
  4. Enter your First Name.
  5. Enter your Last Name.
  6. Select your Gender.
  7. Select your Date of Birth.
  8. Select your Campus.
  9. Click Create my account.

 

Congratulations, you are now a member of The City! To log in, visit your church's City URL (yourchurch.onthecity.org), then enter your login and password. 

Step 2: Fill Out Your Profile

Now that you have your own profile, it's time to make it a little more personal. To start, add a photo of yourself.

 

 To add or change your picture
  1. In the upper-right corner of any City page, hover over the  and click Account Settings.
  2. Select the Profile tab.
  3. Click Edit Picture.
  4. To browse your computer for the image, click Choose File, select the picture from your computer folder, and click Update.
  5. Crop the image to the right size and click Save Image.

 

While you're on your Profile tab, you can also add a preferred name and some personal information in the About Me field. Once you complete that, click Save Profile.

Things to Know

The preferred name is the name that you're most commonly known by.

Another important part of your life is your family, so we want you to proudly show them off. If the person you're adding already has a City account, you can include them in your family.

 

 To add a City user to your family

If the person you're adding already has an online City account, you can include them in your family.

  1. Hover over the  in the top right corner of any City page and click Account Settings.
  2. Click the Family tab. 
  3. Click + Add a Family Member.
  4. Select In The City.
  5. Begin entering the family member's name, and then choose them from the drop-down list.
  6. Select Spouse or Child.
  7. Click Save Family.

Since this person is a City user, they will be notified that you listed them as a family member, and must verify the relationship before it becomes public. Once that's done, the family relationship is attached to both profiles.

 To add a non-City user to your family

If the person you want to add to your family is not currently a City user, there are a couple of additional steps.

  1. Hover over the  in the top right corner of any City page and click Account Settings.
  2. Click the Family tab. 
  3. Click + Add a Family Member.
  4. Select Not In The City.
  5. Enter the person's First and Last names.
  6. Add his/her Birthdate and Gender.
  7. Select either Spouse or Child from the drop-down list.
  8. Click Save Family.

 

Next, fill out the Contact Info tab. This information is only visible to church administrators and the people you allow to see it, so you don't have to worry about sharing your information with everyone in The City. After you add a phone number and address, click Save Contact Info.

Now give yourself some skills. The City helps your church's service teams match needs with the people who have the right skills to fill them. Adding skills to your profile ensures you get the message when the church is looking for someone with your talents.

 

 To add skills
  1. In the upper-right of any City page, hover over  and click Account Settings.
  2. Select the Skills tab.
  3. Select all the skills that you want the church to know about.
  4. To save, click Save Skills at the bottom of the page.

 

And finally, configure your  email settings . This determines when and how often you want to receive email alerts for things that happen in your groups. Choosing the right settings helps you stay on top of all the latest happenings in the circles you're most intimately connected to.

These are the four options:

Email Settings

Everything: Choose this setting and you are alerted every time anything happens in a group.

New Things: Whenever a new topic, event, prayer, need, or album is posted, you are alerted via email, but nothing is sent regarding the item or its responses after that point.

Daily Digest: Every afternoon you are sent one email that lists everything that happened in the group over the last 24 hours. This one email compiles new and updated content for all groups you have at this setting.

 Nothing: You receive no email notifications for anything that happens in this group.

Step 3: Find Groups

Unlike other social networks you may be familiar with, The City is about joining groups, rather than hooking up with individual friends. While friends are still a part of The City experience, topics, events, prayers, and needs are based on the groups you choose to be a part of. 

No matter how connected you are in real life, when you first join The City, you need to join groups to make the most of your experience. There are a couple of ways to do this.

 

 To find a group by name
  1. In the navigation menu on the left side of the window, expand the Groups menu.
  2. Click Search for groups.
  3. Enter the name of a group and click Search.
 To find a group your friends are in
  1. In the upper-right of the page, enter a friend's name in the search bar .
  2. Select the person from the list of results that displays.
  3. In the Groups section of your friend's profile, find a group and click it.


Once you find the right group, it's time to join. From the group's information page, click Ask to Join. Then, in the provided space, do just what the button says: ask if you can join. 

Step 4: Say Something

You have an account, you have a profile, and you have a group! Now you just need to communicate. Posts and messages are two tools you use for this. Posts let you communicate with a whole group, while messages give you a way to communicate with a smaller, hand-picked party, sort of like an email.


 To create a new topic
  1. In the left navigation menu, click News.
  2. Click Start a New Post, and then click Topic.
  3. Click Select a Group and select the group name from the drop-down list.
  4. Enter the title and body of the topic.
  5. Apply any additional options:
    • Use the text formatting tools to make your message look the way you want.
    • Select Allow this post to be shared to share this post with other groups or your friends.
    • Select Publicize on The City Plaza to choose Plaza options.
    • Attach a file to your post.
      1. Click Advanced Options.
      2. Click + Add a File.
      3. Click Choose File to browse for what you want.
      4. Repeat this process to add more files.
  6. Click Post This!

 

Things to Remember

Though we're spotlighting topics here, you can also create other types of posts in a group such as events , prayers , needs , and albums . Each one has a slightly different list of features, so give them all a try as you experiment with posting to your groups.

 

 To start a message
  1. From the navigation menu on the left of the page, select Messages.
  2. Click + Write a Message.
  3. In the Recipients field, begin entering someone's name and select the right picture from the drop-down list. Repeat this process to add more than one person to the message.
  4. Enter a subject and the body of your message.
  5. Apply any desired options:
    1. Use the text-formatting tools at the top to make your message look just the way you want it to.
    2. Attach a file to your message.
      1. Click + Add a File.
      2. Click Choose File to browse for what you want and attach it.
      3. Repeat this process to add more files.
  6. Click Send This Message.

 

As you start creating posts and messages, you're sure to notice that others have done the same, and some of them are on really interesting subjects! To respond to someone else's post, enter your reply in the box below it and click Reply.

In a nutshell, that's life in The City. Of course, there are more topics you can learn about once you've mastered these basics.

Part 2: Beyond the Basics

So you've successfully created a City account and used it to connect with your groups and send messages. Now that you are comfortable with The City, it's time to expand your horizons. With each feature you try out, you'll find a new way to connect with the community and dive deeper into the mission of Christ at the church. 

Step 1: Make Friends

If you've used any other social media site, chances are you're familiar with the concept of friends. These are the people you're close to in the real world and want to stay in contact with outside of any particular group setting.

In The City, making friends comes with benefits that enhance your City experience:

  • Once you add someone as a friend, they can see your status updates in their news feed, and you can see theirs.
  • You can allow your friends to see private contact information, like address and phone number, that others can’t see.
  • You can also share posts with your friends.

So how do you add a friend in The City? The easiest way is to search for the person's profile page, where you can send a friendship request.


 To send a friendship request
  1. In the search box located in the top right corner of any City page, enter the person's first or last name. Under People, the first five matches display.
  2. Do one of the following:
    1. If one is the person you're looking for, click their name to go to their profile page.
    2. If the person you're searching for is not in that list, click show all people. Then, click the name of the person you are looking for to go to their profile page.
  3. Click the beneath the person's photo to send a friend request. The word "pending" displays on their photo once this is complete.

 

Now all you have to do is wait. The person will receive an email and a City reminder, telling them about your request. Once they accept your friendship request, you will become official friends in The City.

Don't forget that other people can request you as a friend too, so be on the lookout for new friend requests in your  reminders. You will also receive an email to let you know the request is there.

Things to Remember

You can set an automatic response to all friend requests (either to approve or deny) in your account settings. On the Notifications tab, under Friendship Strategy, select an option.

Step 2: Post a Status Update

Now that you have friends, it's time to give them something to read. The easiest way to do that is to make a status update, which will show up on your profile and in all your friends' news feeds.

 

 To update your status
  1. From any page on the user's side of The City, click Update Status beside your picture in the upper right.
  2. Enter your message in the appropriate space.
  3. Click Save.

Step 3: Find Somewhere to Serve

Friends and status updates are a great way to stay more connected with people throughout the week, but let's not forget the City features designed to give you more opportunities for community in person. Service opportunities is a feature designed to give service teams a place to advertise their volunteer needs and give users a place to find somewhere to serve.

 

 To find a Service Opportunity
  1. In the navigation menu, click Service Opportunities.
  2. Browse the list to find an opportunity you're suited for.
  3. Click I can help!.
  4. Write a message to the leader of the service team to learn more or volunteer.

Step 4: Offer Goods and Services

Time and energy isn't the only thing you have to contribute to the community, though. What about that extra car in the driveway, or the treadmill you only used once? How about your talent for portrait photography? You can post all these things to the Marketplace, The City's one-stop shop for selling, trading, or just giving away the things that other people at the church might benefit from.

 

 To post a Marketplace listing
  1. In your navigation menu, select Marketplace.
  2. Click + Add a new listing.
  3. Select the type of listing you'd like to post.
  4. Enter the information in the fields provided.
  5. Select a category from the drop-down list of options.
  6. Add a Description.
  7. Add a picture (optional).
    1. Click + Add an Image/File.
    2. Click Choose File.
    3. In the dialog box that displays, select the correct file from your computer.
    4. Click Open.
  8. Click Post This Listing.

 

 

Of course, you're not always going to be the one giving things away on the Marketplace. Sometimes there's something you really need but don't have the means for. Keep an eye on the Marketplace to see if someone in the community offers it.

Part 3: Posting Like a Pro

Now we'll look at additional options you can apply to posts and status updates to either widen or refine the reach of your communication. Whether you're a group leader or just an average Joe, these tools will come in handy as you continue using The City.

Pro Tip 1: Connecting Your Statuses

Let's start with status updates. Did you know you can link your City status with your Twitter and Facebook accounts? This allows you to write your thoughts or current activity in one place and update all three locations at once. If you're a tweet-freak or a Facebook-fiend, this is great news!

Post The City Status on Twitter

Your first option is to relay your City statuses out to your Twitter account.

 

 To link your City and Twitter accounts
  1. In the upper-right of any City page, hover over  and click Account Settings.
  2. Click Contact Info.
  3. Beneath the Twitter logo, click Configure Twitter.
  4. On the next page, click Get Started!.
  5. Twitter then walks you through the steps necessary to link the accounts.

Things to Remember

You can also reach your Twitter settings by clicking in the status-entry panel.


When your accounts are linked, a Twitter check box appears in your status-entry panel when you go to create a new status. Selecting that and publishing your status update pushes it to Twitter.

Once you set up Twitter to receive City statuses, there's also another option on the Configuring Twitter page, which allows The City to Start Listening for #tc. Clicking that and following the steps provided by Twitter enables The City to receive any tweet to which you attach the hashtag #tc and automatically post that as your newest City status.

Post The City Status on Facebook

For a complete merge of your social-networking worlds, you can also get your statuses from The City to go to Facebook.

 

 To connect The City directly to Facebook
  1. In the upper-right of any City page, hover over  and click Account Settings.
  2. Click Contact Info.
  3. Below the Facebook logo, click Configure Facebook Settings.
  4. On the Configuring Facebook page, click Connect.
  5. Enter your Facebook login information.


Once your City and Facebook accounts are directly connected, a new Facebook check box displays in your status-entry panel. Select that check box to relay your status to your Facebook profile.

Things to Remember

The City can only connect to Facebook when you’re logged into Facebook on the same browser.

If you don't want to stay logged into Facebook whenever you're using The City, the other way to post the same status to both The City and Facebook is to use the Facebook application, Selective Tweets. This connects your Twitter and Facebook accounts, allowing you to send statuses into your Facebook status whenever you add the hashtag #fb to a tweet. Just add #tc and #fb to a Twitter post to pass it from Twitter to both the City and Facebook statuses.

Pro Tip 2: Responding to a Post by Email

To help simplify things, you can reply to a City post right from your email inbox. When you receive an email notification for a message or post in one of your groups, you’ll notice the text Reply by typing above this line at the top of the email. You can reply by email to any City email bearing that text. Just reply like you would to any ordinary email, and whatever you type above that line automatically turns into a response to the post.


As a special bonus, you can even RSVP to an event from your email box. When you first get an email alert regarding a new event, start your email reply with the word Yes, No, or Maybe, and that's assigned as your official RSVP. Whatever you type after that will also appear as a comment in the event notes.

Pro Tip 3: Customizing the Reach of a Post

Statuses aren't the only kind of communication you can customize. Posts offer a series of options that narrows or widens the scope of your group communication.

The particular list of options varies, depending on numerous factors, including the kind of post you're creating, particular group settings that are enabled, and your group role. There is usually at least one of the following options to choose from:

What Your Options Mean

Member-only: If you’re an official member of your church, select this option to have your post display only to other members.

Leadership: If you’re a group’s leader or manager, this option gives you the opportunity to make your post only visible to leaders, managers, and volunteers. This is particularly helpful in children's ministry groups comprised of both volunteers and parents; it gives leaders the ability to communicate specifically with their team.

Priority: As a group leader or manager, select this option to bypass the email settings of other group participants. Meant to facilitate urgent communication, selecting this ensures that everyone receives an email alert immediately, except for those people with their email set to receive nothing. This applies to a topic, prayer, or need.

Men-only/Women-only: Depending on your gender, one of these options displays. This lets you make your post visible only to people of your gender.

Limit Email: If you don’t want to bother all your group mates with an email notification for your next post, select this option. The post still displays on the news feed and group stream, but initial email alerts only go out to folks who have their email set to receive everything.

No Responses: Specifically when creating a topic or event, this option makes it impossible for others to reply to your post. This is great for when your post is just informational.

When creating a new post, consider what you're trying accomplish and if any of the options at your disposal in that group helps you better achieve it.

Pro Tip 4: Sharing With Others

Sometimes you don't want to narrow the reach of your communication, but rather to widen it beyond the confines of its group of origin. We call this sharing.

When creating a post, select Allow this post to be shared. Enter a group name in the Share with other groups text box or a friend's name in the Share with other people text box. When you click Post This! the share request is sent.

If you missed anyone, you can always return to the post and click to add more people later. You can share with individual on the Friends tab, or click the Groups tab to select groups you want to share with.

Things to Remember

  • When you first create content, you must designate it as shareable or posted to the Plaza. The reason for this is that people in the originating group may respond to it with private or sensitive information. If that content thread is then shared or made public, we have violated the trust of the responder. The inability to send something to the Plaza or share it after it's been made is a safety precaution for those who have replied or will.
  • There are two circumstances where a group can't share. If a group is created as an encrypted group, the encryption disallows sharing content with other groups. Likewise, a hidden group is unable to share with other groups because it is undetectable to The City's search mechanism, which is used in the sharing process.

Pro Tip 5: Going Beyond the Walls of The City

If sharing a post with other groups and City users doesn't go quite far enough, you can post to the Plaza.

The Plaza is the outward-facing side of your City, where you can send posts that you want to invite people outside The City to engage with. Posts sent to the Plaza appear both in your group (and any other group you've shared it with) and on the Plaza, so the people of your group can find it right alongside your other content and still be able to communicate with friends and family outside.

 To send a post to the Plaza
  1. When creating a new post, select Allow this post to be shared and then select Publicize on The City Plaza.
  2. In the drop-down menu that appears, determine the post's publicity on the Plaza.
    • Private URL creates a Plaza page for this post. This page is only accessible via a secret URL given to you and your group. No one can access your post without that address; it isn't linked to from anywhere else on the Plaza, and search engines can't find it. Use this method, for example, to invite people to an event with a closed guest list.
    • Publicly Listed is the setting to choose when you want to make the post browseable, openly accessible to anyone who visits your church's Plaza. The purpose of this kind of post is to freely welcome anyone in the surrounding community into the life, discussions, and happenings of your group.
  3. Finally, click Post This! to finish the post.

When you first create content, you must designate it as shareable or posted to the Plaza. Once content exists, these sharing/posting options are no longer available. The reason for this is that people in the originating group may respond to it with private or sensitive information. If that content thread is then shared or made public, we have violated the trust of the responder, so the inability to send something to the Plaza or share it after it's been made is a safety precaution for those who have replied or will.

A post on the Plaza is a way to make your topicseventsprayers, and needs much more viral and inclusive. Share it around your network by pasting the provided shortened link into your next tweet or Facebook status. If you make it publicly listed, it's also available for anyone browsing your Plaza, which is a great way to connect with people you may not even know.