Groups Interactive: Technology That Facilitates Community

So much of modern technology makes us feel more isolated and less connected. That’s why I get particularly excited when I see software that actually brings people together and facilitates community.

Groups Interactive Logo and Mission

A few weeks ago, I learned about Groups Interactive, a web-based system that helps small group leaders and members stay connected. It was developed by a group of believers at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio where Max Lucado is the Teaching Minister.

They said to the church leaders, “We can be ushers, we can help park cars, or, if it’s OK, we’ll write software to build your small groups ministry.” The software eventually became so sophisticated that other churches wanted to use it. As a result, UpperRoom Technologies was born.

Groups Interactive is very robust yet user-friendly small group management system. Here are just a few of its features:

  • Search by group type (men’s, women’s), specific neighborhoods, zip code, or keyword. Want to highlight a new group, or a group that’s recruiting new members? You can do that too.
  • The reports module will enable you to reach, teach, and help people. You can see who is involved, check attendance, share best practices, and keep people from falling through the cracks.
  • Members can stay connected by creating events, posting prayer requests, chatting online with other members, post photos, download a group directory, etc. They can even feed their email and calendars to their preferred software (e.g., Outlook, iCal, Google Apps).
  • You can manage a large number of small groups by creating mid-level or lay leadership roles. You can authorize these leaders to lead one group or a number of groups. They can even oversee and lead the leaders under them. This is the “Jethro Principle” in action.
  • Future integration with many church management systems, including FellowshipOne and ACS. As members update their information, it can be easily imported.

Here’s my favorite part: if your average weekend attendance is less than 150 people, the software is free (with the exception of a one-time setup fee of $50). As you grow, the pricing is based on the size of your attendance.

Whether your church is just starting to build an online presence or already has an established web site, Group Interactive is worth checking out. I would start by watching the introductory videos. You can also find out more about the company and the people behind it on their blog.

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  • Colleen Coble

    Wow, this sounds awesome! I'm a sucker for new software. :-) I'm going to check it out for our church. Thanks, Mike!

  • Colleen Coble

    Wow, this sounds awesome! I'm a sucker for new software. :-) I'm going to check it out for our church. Thanks, Mike!

  • http://www.samanthakrieger.com/ Samantha

    Thank you for continuing to provide great resources and information, Michael. If anyone reading this post is actually a small group leader and is also looking for free training resources on how to lead well, I'm a part of a team that just launched the new site (BETA) SmallGroupExchange.com.

    You can find free video training and articles and then scroll through all kinds of resources from various publishers to help you lead. We have quite a few new things we'll be implementing in the future to make it more interactive, facilitate community, etc.

    We actually interviewed Max Lucado several months ago at the Christian Book Expo and he has a short clip on there that deals with fear. It's definitely worth checking out if you can.

  • http://www.samanthakrieger.com Samantha

    Thank you for continuing to provide great resources and information, Michael. If anyone reading this post is actually a small group leader and is also looking for free training resources on how to lead well, I'm a part of a team that just launched the new site (BETA) SmallGroupExchange.com.

    You can find free video training and articles and then scroll through all kinds of resources from various publishers to help you lead. We have quite a few new things we'll be implementing in the future to make it more interactive, facilitate community, etc.

    We actually interviewed Max Lucado several months ago at the Christian Book Expo and he has a short clip on there that deals with fear. It's definitely worth checking out if you can.

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  • http://generatornetwork.com/ Mike Rapp

    I've seen other similar things come out recently. Here is something very close:

    http://www.cobblestonecn.com/

  • http://generatornetwork.com Mike Rapp

    I've seen other similar things come out recently. Here is something very close:

    http://www.cobblestonecn.com/

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/stephenbateman stephenbateman

    That is so cool. The quote about: "if it's ok, we'll write software" is a huge area of growth for churches. Leveraging special talents beyond the Spiritual equivalent of "busy-work" can bring unbelievable results.

    But I understand. sometimes, that chair's just gotta be stacked by somebody.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/stephenbateman stephenbateman

    That is so cool. The quote about: "if it's ok, we'll write software" is a huge area of growth for churches. Leveraging special talents beyond the Spiritual equivalent of "busy-work" can bring unbelievable results.

    But I understand. sometimes, that chair's just gotta be stacked by somebody.

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  • http://twitter.com/robertparrish @robertparrish

    Looks like a super resource, Michael. Thank you for providing this level of detail!

  • http://twitter.com/robertparrish @robertparrish

    Looks like a super resource, Michael. Thank you for providing this level of detail!

  • http://www.faithbarista.com/ FaithBarista Bonnie

    This is exciting. The church is usually so busy tending to the needs of everyone and everything, it's wonderful when something old like community meets up with something new like technology.

    I love hearing 'bout stuff like this, 'cuz it reminds us Jesus is head of the church, as well as CTO of the body.

    Cool. Props to Groups Interactive and to you for spotlighting them.

  • http://www.faithbarista.com FaithBarista Bonnie

    This is exciting. The church is usually so busy tending to the needs of everyone and everything, it's wonderful when something old like community meets up with something new like technology.

    I love hearing 'bout stuff like this, 'cuz it reminds us Jesus is head of the church, as well as CTO of the body.

    Cool. Props to Groups Interactive and to you for spotlighting them.

  • http://www.joannfore.com/ Jo Ann Fore

    Unrelated , but had to chime in with a "Thank you!" Rec'd my copy of Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl today. Excited to dig in. Thanks so much.

    Jo Ann

  • http://www.joannfore.com Jo Ann Fore

    Unrelated , but had to chime in with a "Thank you!" Rec'd my copy of Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl today. Excited to dig in. Thanks so much.

    Jo Ann

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