In last week's blog post I introduced our new All Check feature. Review it to learn how to set it up. The purpose of this blog is to talk about why it might be the best way yet to take worship attendance.
15+ years ago when we were a stand alone small groups solution, we learned that if we wanted to get more than 20-50% of our volunteer small group leaders to respond each time their group met we had to use a cord of three strands to connect with them. We learned that our process had to be ...
- Simple. It has to use technology they already know.
- Useful. It has to meet a felt need they already have.
- Accountable. Something needs done to affirm them if they respond or check-in with them if they don't.
Using these criterion we were and still are able to help churches get responses back from 90 and even 100% of their group leaders each week. Churches that fall short are always missing one of these three strands - usually accountability.
Here's how All Check uses these 3 principle to capture worship attendance.
Virtually everyone in your church has a smart phone. If they have a smart phone they almost certainly text. We're not asking them to search a store to download an app that takes up storage and requires regular updates. Sure, 20 to 50% of your people will do this and love it. But to get beyond those friends will require you to spend as much time promoting the App as promoting the event. Give them a phone number to save as a contact and have them simply text the word CHECK. One family member can check everyone into everything including classes, serving and worship. If they need security tags for kids, they can still get those.
Several things about texting CHECK address the needs of worship attenders. If they have kids, they obviously need security tags. So, why not get their worship attendance at the same time. If they don't have kids, they may still want to check-in to things they're used to checking in for like serving teams and Bible classes, so why not worship attendance as well?
As people walk into the worship center, ushers are often at the door handing out paper programs. These tell people what's going on. If they text CHECK, set up the landing page so that they automatically are looking at a digital version of the worship program when they're done? This saves paper and the clutter associated with it not to mention the cost. Since it's digital you can add live links to videos, websites and Churchteams forms to register for anything. When they click a link to fill out a Churchteams form, the system even fills in all the contact information for them. Talk about helpful.
The whole idea of capturing worship attendance is to recognize when people begin to lapse in their participation. There are all kinds of pastoral and discipleship concerns that this metric flags: discouragement, loss of a job, isolation or spiritual apathy; to name a few. Remember the shepherd in Luke 15? He counted. But he didn't count to brag, he counted to care. He had to have a system in place to recognize when one of the flock was wandering away. So, he counted. That's what good shepherds do.
As you capture attendance data, create and save reports that flag church members you are committed to shepherding who haven't been around for 4 weeks or more. Create a workflow for them that reminds them of their importance and notifies pastors or staff of their absence. If you want, create a report and workflow that does the opposite. It recognizes people who've not missed for 13 weeks.
Individual worship attendance has been a problem for a long time. Some churches try to get everyone to fill out a response card. Others use sign in books for each row. Intuitively we know technology should help, but facial recognition seems creepy. A few churches are experimenting with App and Wifi connections that automatically take attendance. But, again you have to get people to download the app and sign on to the wifi and these don't take into account other family members. So, most churches settle for a head count by the ushers. These are fine for facility management, but they fall short of providing data to help with following up individual members and guests.
We think that All Check might be the best answer to taking worship attendance. Give it a try or check back with us in a year.