Getting to Know The City

Getting to Know The City

June 6, 2011 by

We conclude our ongoing discussions with the brains behind social networking tools for churches with a look at The City. We had the opportunity to catch up with Jackie Long, a team member at The City, and find out some specifics about their product and the church networking space in general. Here’s how my conversation with Jackie went:

Thanks for agreeing to talk with us some. For starters, we’d love to hear a paragraph of how you’d describe what The City actually is.

Jackie Long: The City is a web-based software platform that enables the communication and ministry of a whole church. We aim to empower churches of all sizes with a toolset to create deeper community. 85% of churches in America are less than 500 people, and we love to help these churches bond and grow. And as Greg Surratt of Seacoast Church has said of us, we “make big churches feel small,” so we love to help larger churches as well.

That makes sense. To throw you on the hot seat, I think lots of our readers want to know why you believe that something like The City should be used by a church instead of an already-existing technology like Facebook?

Jackie: This is actually a question we hear all the time. Enough that we created two resources to answer it. But in short, we believe privacy, groups and engagement set us apart.

We believe that The City offers privacy and security that’s vital to healthy church communities. Different messages are appropriate for different groups, and that should be respected.

Groups are at the heart and soul of The City. We believe we offer an improved group and event experience that provide the ability for leaders to make a bigger impact. It’s an area Facebook really struggles, and we think The City really shines.

And The City just gets better engagement than Facebook. We get over 70% of users logging in and participating at least once a month, while Facebook is only around 50%. And the average user on Facebook is a part of 80 pages, groups and events. This just isn’t a sustainable way to engage with users. The City is built around people coming specifically to engage with their church community, and churches see dividends from that.

Wow, exhaustive, and good points. So another side of the same coin, what would you say to detractors who argue that these types of software help to create a walled garden that insulates believers from their community?

Jackie: We’ve actually built a solution to this issue right into The City, called The Plaza. It’s not a replacement for a church’s site or social media presence, but it’s a public-facing page that serves as a tie between The City and the external world.

We actually believe The City should be used as a method to integrate non-members into your church community. It’s a great way for them to get to know your church and your members and get involved in community, particularly for those less inclined to participate based on sermons and worship services alone.

So all these strategies are good, but do you have a story of success you could share from a church who has seen benefits from using The City?

Jackie: We actually have a page for that as well. But I’ll quickly share two of my favorites that illustrate a couple sides of The City.

Since beginning using The City, Woodlands Church has seen their small group count increase from 200 to 700. A huge part of this has been managing groups via The City and being able get people into the best possible situations for them.

Another church had an older lady who had recently joined The City and ran into a technical issue: her computer broke. And by the end of the day, one community member pitched in a computer, another pitched in a printer and an IT professional helped her get the new setup completely up and ready.

These are the types of issues The City can help churches solve and ways it can help strengthen community.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

2 Responses to “Getting to Know The City”

  • Ramod
    July 14, 2011

    Would still like to have a comprehensive, feature by feature comparison of the City vs. Fellowship One. Anyone know if this exists?

     | Permalink
    • Clint
      September 23, 2011

      I, too, would love to see a side-by-side comparison between The City and Fellowship One. Anybody?

       | Permalink