Structure Blocks: Groups

The moment has finally arrived! We’re now ready to dive in and explore each of the 15 block types that are central to Assembli. If you remember, each one of the block types represents one of two things: (1) something tangible that someone needs, or (2) something that a person can contribute. And both block types exist to fulfill Assembli’s purpose of changing the world! These 15 block types will link together in exponential combinations to bring to life the vision and hope of Christians around the world. It will also create solutions to the many needs and problems that weigh on the hearts of our users. Through collaboration and the willingness to let God work through this process, Assembli users will make a significant difference in the world. 

A simple way to think of Assembli and the building blocks is this: If life were a game, and the objective of the game was to figure out how to fulfill a particular need in the world that God has put in your heart, then Assembli’s blocks would be game pieces you needed to collect to strategically move forward and accomplish the goal of meeting that need. 

In Assembli, users (or players, if you like to think of the game analogy) can create as many block types, and as many blocks within each block type, as they want (within certain parameters). These blocks are the pieces that each Assembli member uses to connect with others around the world to enact amazing, tangible change. 

Structure Blocks are one of the main block categories. It consists of five of the 15 block types. Structure Blocks are used to give shape to ideas. They provide a way to interact with others and organize all the moving parts into an efficient operation. Assembli’s five structure blocks are Groups, E-learning, Projects, Organizations, and Networks. 

Today, we’ll discuss Groups. Let’s begin by looking at the unique characteristics of Groups: 

1. Small and Intimate 

Groups are the most intimate type of structure block. Groups bring a small number of people together to fulfill a task or function. The idea is that people in these groups will interact regularly and get to know each other as friends, family, and co-workers. Groups are small enough to enable close working relationships and are likely to evolve into offline relationships. It’s within groups that the deepest bonds of trust and shared purpose are nurtured. 

While other structures bring together more complex blocks (e.g., networks connect organizations), groups are about connecting individuals. There’s a neighborhood feel to groups, both virtually, and in real space. Groups enable physical neighborhoods to connect, therefore creating small communities, parishes, or streets. 

2. Function Focused 

Groups are much more than a list of people with a chat function. A group is first established by a user with a specific purpose or function in mind. That user becomes the owner of the group. When the function of the group is determined, the group is automatically equipped with the tools and processes that are needed to fulfill that function.   

Let’s look at a few group subtypes to explain further. 

  • Team. A group can be designated as a team, which will provide built-in access to team functions such as assigning tasks, delegating, scheduling, establishing timelines, holding members accountable, and creating decision-making processes.  
  • Prayer Cell. A group can be designated with a prayer focus, which allows the group to manage the following: prayer requests, research, reports, and answers to prayer. It also allows a group to schedule live or virtual prayer events.  
  • Think Tank. A think tank group would be equipped with tools to track conversations, research, and discovery processes. These would then be captured in a way that gleans and presents the results of the process.  
  • Board of Directors. A group can choose to be designated as a Board of Directors, which allows it to build agendas, run meetings, capture decisions, and generate minutes in a very simple and efficient manner.  

These are just four examples of how Groups can be used in Assembli.  Assembli will build new group subtypes as demand requires, and also consider integrations with third-party solutions. 

3. Work and Relational Space for Other Blocks 

A Groups Block can function as a stand-alone block. However, we imagine Group Blocks are at their best when attached to other blocks in order to help advance the work process and nurture relationships. Group Blocks = Connections; and Assembli is all about making connections that change the world!  For example, a Prayer Group could be connected to an Organization Block as the prayer strategy for a church (which is a subtype of an Organization Block, which will be explained in a future post). 

Let’s explore further how the Group Block is used (or how this game piece is played): 

First, interaction with a Group Block has four aspects: 

  • Creation 
  • Membership 
  • Linking 
  • Action 

Let’s briefly look at each aspect: 

  • Creation: An Assembli user who has a vision or a need that can utilize one of the Group Blocks will create one for that purpose, choose the subtype (function) of the group, and handle various settings that determine how the group will work. An Assembli user can create as many Group Blocks as they want. Each group can be assigned a responsibility team. These are people who can help the block owner manage the group. These people have some basic privileges that enable them to do this. 
  • Membership:  A group isn’t a group without people in it! Groups can be closed and tightly controlled, or open and fluid. The owner decides this and manages who can be in the group by accepting or denying members who request to join. It will be typical for groups to have members that come and go from time to time. Note that some groups will be created as components within a broader block. For example, one Assembli member may create an Organization Block, then create various Group Blocks to represent components within the Organization. However, keep in mind that the power of Assembli comes from the ability to connect to blocks started and owned by other members. Groups all over the world can be mobilized and repurposed, perhaps avoiding the need to create an entirely new structure. 
  • Linking: A group is not required to be linked to any other block. However, Assembli’s power is a result of its ability to link any two blocks together without exclusivity. As explained above, a group may be created to simply link to one other block, such as an organization. However, groups can be floating groups that link to various other blocks as the need arises or simultaneously link to many blocks. Some examples:  A group of carpenters (perhaps a team subtype) can choose to volunteer their skills and link to a different organization each year; a prayer group can choose to pray for a different network each month and link to that specific network; or a team of trainers can serve as a training team for multiple networks simultaneously and link to each of them separately. 

Note that a link is created when one party (the owner of a specific block) reaches out and requests to link to another block. Only when the owner of the block accepts the invitation does a link or relationship begin. 

  • Action:  Well, this is what the group was made for in the first place! At this point, the group is created, populated with members, and linked to other blocks on Assembli. Now you can move forward with doing what you were created for—working together, communicating, and serving. You use the tools of the group to do this.  

Assembli provides interfaces that make it fun and engaging to work with groups and collaborate with the entire global ecosystem.  

It’s worth repeating that Groups (as with any block) are autonomous. The creator is the owner. The group may be linked to other blocks and initiatives but still exists as a distinct element (like a LEGO block), which doesn’t lose its shape or functionality while it’s part of a larger creation. Assembli thus enables a highly flexible, modular, less wasteful, and dynamic approach in using the amazing human and material resources that God has blessed His people with. 

Ultimately, it’s our users who will find the most amazing real-world applications of the Assembli Groups Block. I hope you’re one of them and this post has ignited your imagination! The Assembli team eagerly invites you to give us feedback and suggestions. Let your imagination go wild, and then share your thoughts with us! 

Our next post will dive into the Projects Block. Be sure to listen to our Groups Podcast, where you’ll hear another fresh angle on the Groups Block. 

About the Author

Picture of Mark Orr

Mark Orr

Mark was raised as a missionary kid in Brazil. He has committed his life to helping emerging leaders be more effective, and ultimately the Church more able to carry out her Mission in the world. He has previously served in global refugee mission work. Mark and his family are Canadians, but have lived in the UK, Greece, and Uganda over the last 10 years.


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