So in last week’s tutorial, I showed you how to obtain the address, longitude and latitude for groups list using the CCB API.
Over the last week or so, I received many email responses requesting if I could write a tutorial about how to create a full-service group finder using CCB for churches to customize and display on their very own website. So I take it that most of you don’t find the native CCB functionality to be as flexible and customizable as you would like for it to be. 🙂
But I digress. The short answer is yes, but before we get too ahead of ourselves building to no end, I thought it would be best to review what options are out on the market for displaying and managing groups. So here we go…
There are quite a few options available for churches using CCB to display their groups (i.e., life groups, community groups, small groups, home groups, etc… you get the point) on a website. As of today, here are the following options I’ll discuss pertaining to displaying CCB groups on a website:
- Native (Built-in) functionality
I’ll skip the first, next. I’m sure there are many options (feel free to leave me comment below with others), but these were the four that made themselves readily available through one of you suggesting it, or when I Googled church group management software and group management software. Nevertheless, these are the options we’ll discuss today.
In short, It’s a simple, yet elegant WordPress plugin that is very promising and feature rich. The user interface is decent and although built for groups in general, it’s creator, Eric Murrell, set out to build a new tool based on his experience in the trenches, and after being disappointed by the “clunkiness” and poor performance of existing group search solutions used by churches. The downside to this option is that a website must be use WordPress to take advantage of this slick feature-rich plugin.
In addition, the one thing I spot that is missing from this option is integrating with 3rd-party Church Management Softwares like FellowshipOne, ServantPC, Church Community Builder and the list goes on. This would truly make it a very powerful and more robust product instead of having to manage group data from two different locations if your church uses Church Management Software.
If you or your church don’t use Church Management Software, then the GroupsEngine.com solution will probably do the trick for you. But if not, then get ready for always have to make changes in multiple places. So that leads me back to my yes and to the following question:
Is there a need for a solution that integrates with 3rd-party Church Management Software?
Based on the websites above and their respective functionality, I’ve experimented and developed a proof of concept (POC) service that would allow churches the following functionality:
- Act as a standalone to allow basic group management features if not 3rd-party Church Management Software is not available
- If integrated with CCB (will consider other solutions too based on need), you make the changes in CCB and they are respectively updated and propagated to service in real-time
- Use CCB group data to display their groups much like GroupsEngine.com
- Display groups using a responsive list, grid and map… and many more customized options
- And here’s the bonus: it is integrated with CCB and place a person (new/existing) into a process queue for tracking and notify respective queue manager(s) and group leaders via independent email.
But I need your help to determine if this POC is truly needed by churches and people like yourself. To validate this need and move forward with development, I’m needing churches to take the following survey by the end of the year.
Lord willing, should we can gather enough commitment to make development worthwhile, then we’ll move forward with development.
Ok, please go and complete survey, and invite other church colleagues to do the same. Thanks and stay tuned.