Groups Interactive’s New Version Takes a Big Step in the Right Direction

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I had a chance recently to connect with Andy Ivankovich, the founder of UpperRoom Technologies, and take a look at the newest version of Groups Interactive (A friend of mine from Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, where Max Lucado pastors, put me onto  UpperRoom a couple years back).  I saw several things that will be really helpful…for lots of churches.  Their new version is even easier to setup, has a very good search function, can be easily added to your existing website, and best of all…is really affordable.


I asked Andy what prompted the leaner, simpler version.  Here’s what he told me:  “While working with small group pastors around the country over the past four years we’ve gained what we think is a really valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t in a small group application.  In 2006, we saw an explosion in all things social networking including software applications for the Church.  Approaches that sounded good at the time, didn’t work out as well in practice or even match up with human behavior.  In some cases, larger more complex systems called for time intensive management at the church level that hurt more than it helped (emphasis mine).”  Like many of you, I knew just what he was talking about!

He went on to say, “One of the biggest lessons learned is that internet users have a limited amount of time to spend online.  This time is almost always going to be used where they can have the most contact with the most people.   A survey conducted by found that 88% of respondents use the internet on a daily basis but only 5.6% of them visit their church website often.  When we saw those figures we realized that instead of trying to bring members into a church login system, churches need to do a better job of leveraging existing social networks to facilitate small group communication.”

He added that “since the majority of communication is happening within social networks, we’ve turned our attention to helping churches make finding a small group really easy.  Once members are in a group…they can communicate in whatever way is easiest for their members.”

As I looked at the new version, four big ideas jumped out at me right away.  I bet they will for a lot of churches:

First, the setup is really easy. In fact, setting up Groups Interactive is almost as simple as using it.  An administrator can either set the system up manually or by using the easy import tool.  If your groups are already part of a church management system they can be imported straight from there.  Since it doesn’t create a second database…it plays well with others.

Second, I was impressed by the visual search capabilities. Giving users multiple ways to find a group (zip code, type of group, specific tags, etc.) and tying neatly into a package powered by Google Maps, finding a group is a simple process.

Third, the new version is really streamlined on cost as well. At $50 per month (with a $100 discount for churches that pre-pay for a full year), it is very affordable.

Last, it can be easily integrated into an existing website. Copy and paste a little bit of code into the page on your site that will contain the small group finder and you’re in business.  Very nice.

Want to know more?  You can Email Desmond Lewis or call him at 210-639-6800 to set up a short demo to show you how Groups Interactive can help your small groups ministry.

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