Case Study: Soul City Church
In this short interview, Robert, one of the Church Groups HQ founders, caught up with Sean at Soul City Church in Chicago, Illinois to discuss some of the challenges that they faced with their small group ministry and how Church Groups HQ was able to help them achieve their goals.
Soul City Church
When was Soul City Church founded and when did you begin your small group ministry?
Our church is about 5 and a half years old and Small Groups have been a part of our identity since the beginning. As we like to say here at Soul City Church, "Circles are better than rows", because we believe that people grow better when they're connecting in meaningful conversations with others in circles compared to sitting in rows listening to someone talk.
We believe that God created each of us to be a part of loving, intentional relationships that help us become more of who God desires for us to be, and our Small Groups help us live into that truth.
When you first started your small group ministry what was the preferred way for people to sign up for a group?
Before Church Groups HQ, we had a much more difficult and labor intensive process. After each of our Sunday services, we had iPad stations where people would sign-up for group after church.
In order to do this, people would fill out a form on Community Church Builder in which they selected their 1st and 2nd options from a list of groups. But this form didn’t put them in a group, it would only put that data in an Excel Spreadsheet, where a team of volunteers would comb through it and place individuals in groups based on their preferences.
This was extremely tedious work!
How did that work out for you?
While we were able to make this process work for a little while, it was not sustainable or scalable. As we progressed throughout our 3 services on Sign-Up Sunday, we would have individuals signing up for full groups because it was not a self-updating system.
This would lead to us reaching out to them later in the week with groups that still had availability, only for them not to respond until those groups had in fact filled up.
We also let people slip through the cracks so that individuals who filled out the form never heard from our team. It was a process that invited mistakes and errors.
The analogy I always use is that our sign-up process was a trip from Chicago to Denver and we were taking a horse-drawn carriage. Why would we do that when we could take an airplane?
We were still able to make the trip by carriage, but it took way longer, we made mistakes along the way, let some folks fall through the cracks, and even lost a couple to dysentery :)
How do you handle small group signups now?
Now, we use Church Groups HQ for our Small Group sign-ups! We operate on a 3 session schedule so we use it to sign-up group members each session.
This has allowed us to open up sign-ups on our website (no longer solely in person) as well as help individuals who have questions in person on our Sign-Up Sunday’s.
How has this impacted your small group leadership?
This has really helped our Small Group Leadership Team focus on their role as shepherds. Church Groups HQ has helped take away the stress of worrying about sign-ups, assimilation, excel spreadsheets and all of the unnecessary hoops we were jumping through before.
Now, our leadership team can focus on what is important: caring for our people.
How has this impacted your small group members?
This has been very beneficial for our Small Group Members because it has really eliminated any barriers to entry for joining a group. It is so easy to search through the group list and sign-up that you can even stay in bed!
How long have you been using Church Groups HQ?
We have been using Church Groups HQ for almost a year. We just had our third consecutive session of sign-ups using this tool.
Why do you continue using Church Groups HQ?
We continue to use Church Groups HQ because it has helped us grow and focus our ministry. In terms of growth, from last summer session to this summer session of small groups, we had a 53% increase in sign-ups!
In terms of focusing our ministry, Church Groups HQ helps our team focus on relationships and not have to worry about processes. We love Church Groups HQ and I couldn’t imagine how our ministry would have grown (and continue to grow!) without it.
The team has been super helpful, they are constantly seeking to improve their product, and they understand the heart behind small groups and community.
Thank you to Sean and Soul City Church for taking the time to talk with Robert about overcoming some of the challenges that they faced with their small group ministry. We are grateful to be working with them to help them achieve their goals!