Recently I downloaded and installed the plugin Groups Engine for WordPress Plugin into our church website. We had just launched a new Small Groups Ministry and needed something better than just a list of groups on the website.
Groups Engine for WordPress seemed to be the perfect solution. The video on the site looked like it was going to be a very simple install and that the plugin would be easy to use. The reality is that it is simple to install and very easy to use.
BUT, there are a couple of issues that make you have to think of workarounds that may be potential things you will want to think through to make it work for your church.
The good part is that, for the most part, these are easy fixes and you can get around them. Here are the issues we faced and how to make it work.
3 Problems with the Groups Engine for WordPress Plugin and how to FIX them.
1 – Groups Engine makes you enter a Time and Location even if the group does not have a regular time, date or meeting place.
Some of the groups we had were not meeting at a regular place or time. There is currently no place to disable the times and location function unless you dig into the code. I am not willing to do that because that can mess you up when you update the plugin and it possibly wipes out your changes making you have to fix it again each time you update.
>> The Fix? I just put those groups with no regular meeting times, location or dates as meeting on Sundays during church times. Then, in the description, I instructed people to contact the group leader for times, dates and locations.
2 – I could not find an easy way to include E-Groups.
This is a similar problem to the first issue as E-Groups definitely do not have a time or location. We have a Men’s and Women’s texting group where the leader would use an app to communicate Scriptures, thoughts and study material to the group. But, the group was entirely through the texts with no meeting place.
>> The Fix? Instead of adding those to the Groups Engine for WordPress plugin I just added that info to a text section of the page above the groups engine area of the page. You could actually do that for all groups that do not have those specifications, but then it looks like you are featuring some groups over others. I was willing to single out texting groups however as they are a different type of group altogether.
3 – The Google Maps API feature did not work immediately after installation.
Even after creating what I thought was a Google API it still did not work. There was not really a clear explanation of why I was not creating the right kind of API.
The way I tried to do it was to login with my church Gmail then Google search “how to create a Google API” and follow the instructions. But it was not as simple as that.
After we set up Groups Engine on our website we received immediate positive feedback. Even though there are a couple of issues with it that we had to work around, it really is an amazing plugin that has made connecting with groups very easy in our church. I would definitely recommend it.
Click below to get Groups Engine for WordPress for your Church. [my link]