On February 28, 2019, we're saying goodbye to The City, but we have something even better for you in Realm.

We've made it easy for you to transition to a more powerful, robust, and intuitive platform designed to engage your congregation and manage your church.

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  In This Guide

Group Setup

Create a Group Profile

Similar to your own personal profile, all groups in The City have a group profile. This information displays on your Group Info page and provides a sense of purpose, especially for people viewing the group from the outside.

 To add a group's address
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the right group.
  2. At the top of the page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Click Address.
  4. Click + Add an address.
  5. Select a Privacy Setting.
    1. Public leaves the address visible to all City users and displays the group on the group search map.
    2. Members makes the address and map location only visible to official church members.
    3. Private makes the address and map location visible only to group participants.
  6. Enter your address in the provided fields.
  7. Click Update.

 To add a description to your group
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Add your Description.
  4. Click Update.

 To add a profile picture for your group
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the group page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Click Add Picture, or Edit Picture, if the group already has a picture.
  4. Click Choose File or Browse.
  5. Select the file from your computer.
  6. Click Open.
  7. Click Create.
  8. Use the cropper to size and position your image. Then click Save Image.

Post Types and Restrictions

Next, you must decide who is allowed to post in your group and what kinds of posts they can make. Depending on the group, you may want to display only certain types of posts. Also, certain kinds of posts may be useful only to the group's leaders and managers.

For instance, in a service team, you may only want official service events listed. In this case, make event creation only accessible to leaders and managers.

 To disable a type of post in your group
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Select Options.
  4. Select This group doesn't use to deactivate a type of post.
  5. Click Update.
 To restrict posting to leaders and managers
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Select Options.
  4. Clear the Let anyone in the group create checkbox to restrict this type of posting to leaders and managers only.
  5. Click Update.

Group Tags

Group tags, which are created by account administrators, make it easier for users and connect agents to find groups with the right characteristics.

 To tag your group
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Click the Tags tab.
  4. Select the tags that best reflect the nature of your group.
  5. Click Update.

Ideal Group Size

Giving your group an ideal size tells connect agents when your group has reached its optimal size.

 To set your group's ideal size
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the group page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Beside Ideal Size enter a numerical value.
  4. Click Update.

Group Nickname

Add a  group nickname to make your Group Info page and Plaza posts easier to find. Whenever you meet someone who might be interested in the group, give them the nickname URL to your group  (yourchurch.onthecity.org/group/yourgroup), and they can check you out at their own convenience. 

 To give your group a nickname
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the group page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Enter a Group nickname. This can't have spaces.
  4. Click Update.

Default Invitation Text

Take a few minutes to set up a warm default greeting that’s included with all your invitations.

 To create a default invitation
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Beside Custom message for new invitations, enter your default message.
  4. Click Update.

Group Participants

To make sure your participants are engaged, include content for them from the very beginning. Post a topic to welcome them to the City group, make an event for your upcoming weekly meeting, or maybe post a prayer. Whatever type of post you choose, add a few posts to spice up an otherwise blank group.

 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.
    • 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!

 To create a new event
  1. In the left navigation menu, click News.
  2. Click Start a New Post, and then click Event.
  3. Click Select a Group and select the group name from the drop-down list.
  4. Enter the event's Title.
  5. Set up the Date & Time.
    1. Select the Start Date and Start Time.
    2. Select the End Date and End Time.
    3. Events must start and end on the same date.
    4. If you want the event to recur, select your desired recurrence from the +Repeats drop-down menu. Then select the When and Until frequency options.
  6. Click + change the location . Choose a previously used address from the drop-down menu or click Custom address to create a new one.
  7. Enter the Event Description. Use the text formatting tools to make your message look the way you want.
  8. Set up Items & Roles
    1. Click + add an item to bring and enter items you need someone to volunteer to contribute, along with the quantity. Repeat as necessary. 
    2. If you have roles to fill, expand + add a role to fill, then enter a role. Repeat as necessary.
  9. Invite guests.
    1. Select Allow this post to be shared if you’d like to share this post with other groups.
    2. Select Publicize on The City Plaza to choose Plaza options.
  10. Attach a file to the event.
    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.
  11. Click Post This!.

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

Inviting Group Members

Now, it's time to add people to the group. Whether they're already City users, or you only have their email addresses, you need to invite them.

 To send an invitation
  1. On your group page, in the icon tray, click .
  2. Select Participants.
  3. Click + Manage Group Invitations or Invite Someone New. This is different depending on your role in the group.
  4. Choose whether you’re inviting people who are already In The City or Not in The City.
  5. Depending on your previous selection, do one of the following:
    • When inviting someone already In The City, start entering a name in the Users by Name field, and select the person you’d like to invite. Then add a message and click Invite them.
    • If you invite someone who is Not in The City, type their email address in the appropriate field. Then enter a message and click Invite this Person.

Giving Participants Roles

The next step is to change any necessary group roles. If there's someone in the group who shares the administrative responsibilities with you, give them the manager role. Another option is volunteer, which is helpful in a service or children's ministry group. Otherwise, everyone should be a participant.

 To change a user's group role
  1. At the top of your group page, click .
  2. Select Participants.
  3. Click the Online Participants, Inactive Participants, or Offline Participants tab.
  4. Enter the person's name and click Search.
  5. Find the user you're looking for.
  6. In the drop-down menu beside the user's picture, choose their new role.

Group Leadership

As a group leader, you want to get your group acquainted with The City. In this section, we address:

  • Communicating the Vision
  • Showing Your Group Around The City
  • Leading by Example
  • Sharing the Load
  • Handling Concerns

Communicating the Vision

Though the reasons for using The City varies by church, the overall reason is always the same: you believe it can positively affect the community, ministry, and mission of your church. These are things people care about, so they’re more likely to use The City if you express to its benefits to the way your church works.

Showing Your Group Around

There are people in the group, and they’re on board with the purpose behind it, but that doesn't mean that they're familiar with it. Spend some time at weekly gatherings walking them through the features of The City. Teach them how to create posts, how to respond, how to invite others to join, and how to send messages. With that brief introduction, they can get going, ask questions, and begin learning about other features on their own.

Leading by Example

Telling people to do as you say rarely works. If you're not using The City to operate your group, neither will they.

As the leader, post the first topic and event in your group. Throughout the life of your group, be willing to post a prayer, start a topic about the scripture the group is working through, put up a need on behalf of the old lady who lives down the street. If you keep in the habit of living life with your group on The City, they will follow suit.

Sharing the Load

Leading by example doesn't mean everyone else is off the hook. What you want is full-group engagement, not just you posting every day to apathetic onlookers. One way to encourage this is to assign jobs to specific group members. Here are some ideas you can start with as you figure out how to get people more involved:

  • Designate someone as the event planner. It's their responsibility to post a weekly event, complete with item and role requests.
  • Ask one person to write down everyone's prayer requests and post them to The City.
  • Assign an up-and-coming group leader the group role of manager and let him handle some of the administrative burden, like responding to requests to join. 

As long as you keep leading the way, there's never any harm in bringing others alongside to help out.

Handling Concerns

In most cases, expressing the vision behind using The City is enough to get people on board. If you stay consistent with the other recommendations, the likelihood of push-back should be minimal. Still, here are some things you might hear from new group members. Being ready with answers can help you out.

  • "It's just another thing I have to think about now." The City may be something new to think about, but a person communicating with their groups at church isn't. Remind someone with this complaint should that they can read and respond to most content from their email
    account, which is no more effort than dealing with normal email
    correspondence.
  • "I already have a social network. Why do I need this one?" The City is not just social network; it's the chosen communication tool for your church family. Remind someone with this concern that The City offers tools to them, their leaders, and their pastors that another social network can’t. It's made for the church, so it's about the church.
  • "It's too confusing." Ask what's confusing and teach how to use it. If it really is confusing, submit a help ticket and let us know.
  • "I'm just not tech-savvy."  If a person isn’t confident using The City, team him up with someone who knows the ropes. You never know what kind of friendship might  develop!

Beyond Your Group

In this section, we’ll cover getting the most out of The City for those outside your group.

Networking With Other Groups

One type of person outside of your group is someone who is not in your group but is part of your church. The family of God is much bigger than just your group, and you know it’s important to build connections in your church.

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. 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.

If you frequently share posts with another group, always sharing and approving can become tedious. To make the process simpler, link your groups and auto-approve the posts shared. This draws a connection between the two groups and tells The City that any post the other group sends is one you want to post in your group without manual confirmation.

 To link a group
  1. Expand the Groups menu and select the group.
  2. At the top of the page, click and select Group Settings.
  3. Select the Linked Groups tab.
  4. Click + Create a New Link.
  5. Under Search for a group to link with... begin typing the name of a group, then select it from the drop-down list.
  6. Click Request.

 To auto-approve shared posts
  1. On the group page, click and select Group Settings.
  2. Select the Linked Groups tab.
  3. In your list of Linked Groups, find the group you want to auto-approve and, under the Auto Approve column, click Approve Group.

 

 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.

This post is sent to the Plaza as well. 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.