Topics

Accessing The City

Q:

Can children use The City?

A:

We are in full compliance with COPPA principles, and we are committed to the safe protection of your children online. Currently, we do not allow children under 13 to create or maintain an account on The City. For children between the ages of 13 and 18, we have created additional safeguards to help parents maintain the safety of their children.

Q:

How is The City accessed?

A:

The City is completely web-based and OS-independent, so people can access it from any web-enabled device, including:

  • Access the full site from any modern web browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 7 and up)
  • Access The City Mobile version from any web-ready mobile device
  • Receive and respond to posts directly from email
Q:

Does The City have mobile apps?

A:

The City iPhone app is available in the App Store. and the Android app in the Google Play Store.

Communicating with The City

Q:

Can pastors/leaders monitor all communication in The City?

A:

No. The City is built on the concept of delegated authority, meaning that leaders of groups are delegated the authority to oversee the activities of their group. Pastors/leaders are given general insight into the amount of activity in each group, but do not have access to the specific content unless they are members of the group.

Q:

Does The City integrate with SMS?

A:

Not at this time.

Q:

Is communication in The City private?

A:

Groups are a key component of The City, enabling targeted communication to the relevant audience. Within a group, all communication is by default private to just the members of the group. The City also allows people to share posts from their group to other groups, but with a clear indication that the item is shared and accessible to people outside the group. Outside the group context, The City allows private messaging between 2 or more people. As with any method of communication, personal discretion is advised in the sharing of sensitive information.

Q:

Does The City allow communication with people who don’t have accounts in our City?

A:

Yes! Your church can choose to allow people to post to The City Plaza, a publicly accessible website that people outside your church can see and interact with using their Facebook credentials. It’s easy to share content from The City Plaza to Facebook, too.

Q:

Does The City replace our church website?

A:

While The City Plaza does allow your church to publish City content to the public internet, it isn’t intended to replace all of the core functions of a typical church website. Many churches have had great success integrating content from The City Plaza into their public website using JSON feeds from the Plaza.

Q:

Do people have to log in to use The City?

A:

To create a post you have to log in, but you can receive and respond to posts directly from email. People who don’t have internet access or who don’t want to create an account for The City can still be added to your user database as "offline users."

Q:

Does The City integrate with Facebook or Twitter?

A:

Yes, and yes! You can choose to connect your City account to your Facebook and/or Twitter account, allowing you to choose to simultaneously update your Facebook or Twitter status (or both) when you update your City status. You can also use the #tc hashtag to push your Twitter updates into The City.

Q:

Our church is already using Facebook, do we still need The City?

A:

Facebook is a good tool for your church, especially as you seek to engage with people who do not yet attend your church. However, there are a number of reasons why Facebook is not a great place for your church community to gather and share life. This is where The City is particularly strong. Here are some of the advantages of The City:

  • The City provides a secure, private space where the people of your church can connect in real-life communities and share life knowing that their privacy is protected.
  • The City allows you to create groups for all the ministries and communities that make up your church. Communication and content in these groups are accessible only to members of the group.
  • The City gives your leadership team incredible insight into the health of your church body, and provides an array of features for communication, leader development, reporting, and administration.
Q:

How does The City change the way our church communicates?

A:

By providing an engaging yet non-intrusive context for the people of your church to communicate, The City creates a high-value, multi-layered communication platform that enables broadcast, group-specific, and interpersonal communication without the need to maintain mailing lists or directories.

Getting support

Q:

Do you offer training?

A:

Yes, we do. In addition to the training and information resources in our Helpdesk, we have a team of knowledgeable trainers and consultants who can work with your church to build skills and inspire your team for success. Whether it's connecting over the web, or visiting onsite at your church, or having your staff join in a regional boot camp training session, we aim to provide the right resources at the right price to help your church succeed. Visit Training to discover the best option for you.

Q:

How reliable is The City?

A:

Over the past 2 years, The City has a record of 99.9% uptime. That works out to a total of 8.7 hours of unplanned downtime per year. In the IT industry, that’s a pretty great record. 

Q:

Do you offer user documentation?

A:

For the majority of people in your church, The City should be very intuitive and easy to grasp as they start using it. We’ve even built-in some help for getting started. Of course, some roles within your church will require some additional knowledge, so we provide an array of resources to you through our Helpdesk.

Q:

What about questions that are specific to our church context?

A:

When someone clicks the Help link in The City, they have the option to “Ask a church leader for help” or to “Go to The City Helpdesk.” The first option will initiate a message between the requester and a designated leader at your church. Whenever we receive a ticket that is better answered by a leader at your church, we simply let the requester know how to go about getting in touch with one of your leaders.

Q:

How do I get help if I need it?

A:

The City Helpdesk is open all the time, giving anyone in your church access to our knowledge base and an array of training resources. If you run into a bug or can’t find a suitable answer to your question in our Helpdesk, you can submit a ticket and one of our support ninjas will respond quickly (usually within one business day) to help you.

Launch

Q:

Do I need to send people to training?

A:

The City doesn’t require “training” in the traditional sense. In the Launch Process, we provide a wide array of resources to help your core team and leaders get up to speed quickly. Additionally, The City Helpdesk is available anytime and contains all of our training materials and resources, so anyone at your church can find help if there’s something they don’t understand.

Q:

Does The City offer on-site consulting?

A:

Yes, in fact, onsite consulting is included for churches with 800 or more attendees. For churches with fewer than 800 attendees, onsite consultation can be purchased if necessary.

Q:

How long will it take to launch The City?

A:

Every church is unique, but we’ve found that most churches are able to successfully launch The City in 3-6 weeks. Unlike traditional software that focuses on information management and back-office personnel, your City is built as the people of your church connect in community. Once you’ve configured your account settings  and completed some basic administrative activities, the majority of your effort is focused on communicating your vision for The City to your church body, so they can get excited and get involved.

Managing your data

Q:

Does The City provide different levels of access to information?

A:

Yes, The City allows you to assign people various privileges based on their roles, responsibilities, and authority within your church. Even within your leadership team, it’s simple to assign just the right level of access to just the right people.

Q:

Can we create custom reports?

A:

The City has a number of useful reports built-in that you can run on demand. In addition, we also allow you to export a robust set of City participant data in CSV format that can be quickly sorted and filtered to create more specific, custom reports.

Q:

Can we export our data from The City?

A:

You sure can. It’s easy to export a CSV file of all your City participants (along with a broad array of personal information) any time you want or need to.

Q:

Does The City integrate with other software systems?

A:

The City does provide several options for importing and exporting data (primarily through CSV import/export), but we don’t currently facilitate active data exchange with other systems. Are we working on it? Yes.

Q:

Is The City a church management database?

A:

While The City does help you simplify church administration and provide you with a robust database, it is very different from what you may expect based on experience with traditional church management database systems. Rather than approaching data from the administrative side of things, The City provides an engaging platform for communication and community, building a living, social database along the way.

Q:

Can we import data into The City from another software system?

A:

We offer several options for importing existing membership data, but one primary advantage of The CIty’s database is the reliability of information due to the fact data is supplied by the people of your church in the context of their real-life community. As the people of your church join and engage in communication and community through The City, your database will grow quickly and with very reliable results.

Pricing

Q:

What does The City cost?

A:

The City is priced based on your church’s average weekly attendance. You can estimate the cost for your church on our pricing page.

Sign up

Q:

What happens after I sign up?

A:

Once you finish signing up, you’ll be invited to begin the Launch Process, where we’ll walk you through the basics of planning for a successful City launch. Our launch team will give you an in depth (but quick) orientation to launching The City, encourage you to set proper expectations within your church, help you identify a core team, and give you a general outline for creating your church’s custom launch plan.

Q:

How do I sign up?

A:

Give us a call at 1.877.978.4324 or email us at connect@onthecity.org. We’ll walk ask you for all the basic billing information and get you on your way in no time. Of course, if you need any help along the way, just give us a call at 877-978-4324.