The most frequent question I get asked is…
What is the difference between ministries, groups and classes?
Every church is different and different nations have different ways of doing things – for instance, in the UK Sunday school is for children during the sermon, but in the US it seems to often be for everyone before the main service!
To help you get the most out of the plugin and contextualise it for your church, here’s what ministries, groups and classes can do. Different churches then leverage them in different ways.
After the address list, the ministries section is the backbone of the plugin. It categorises your congregation by how they serve in the church. Of course not everyone has to have a ministry, but hopefully many do.
Milton Jones, the Christian comedian says that “most people treat church like a helicopter – they don’t want to get too close in case they get caught in the rotors” for my US friends that’s a pun on rotas = schedules 😉
Ministries are then used to set up your various rotas/schedules, for jobs like setup, worship, preaching, children’s work, refreshments, ministry team, flowers and so on. Set up a ministry for every job that happens in your church and place people in that ministry.
When you set up the rota/schedule jobs you can assign a ministry to do a particular job, then you will get a checklist to quickly set up a schedule/rota for a particular service.
Ministries can have infinite hierarchical levels – so for instance you may have small group leaders, small group coaches who oversee 5 small groups and zone pastors who oversee a number of small group coaches.
You can email/sms people in a ministry too easily. And filter the address list by who is in a ministry.
The small group section is intended for weekly groups – like home bible studies, cell groups, life groups and so on. A map is produced showing where they are and when they meet, so people can plug into a group.
In the ministries section you can set up your oversight of small group leaders by using “parent”.
Attendance of small groups can be tracked by leaders checking people or by using the Sessions module, if you want more details of what is going on in the small groups.
Classes are groups that typically have a beginning and an end – like an exploring Christianity course, Alpha, new disciples group, members class and so on. Although some US churches use it for Sunday school, set it for say 52 weeks!
The class leader can check in the students for tracking.
If you are using the app – you can set whether small groups and classes appear in the menu. If your users are logged in they can pull up more details for their small group too. The app is free for church members to use on iOS and Android and just a one off $99 for the church.