In today’s fast-paced world of convenience and technological shortcuts, it can be hard for churches to know exactly at all times exactly who is in the congregation. In turn this makes it hard to properly lead a congregation. Church check-in and visitor management systems can help churches understand who is walking through the doors every week, and perhaps gain a bit of insight into what encourages them to come back.
Church Check-in System
Church attendance software can help streamline the process of tracking members. Using even a basic software service can help you record attendance for service or other events, run reports to help identify trends, and keep a record of attendance over the years.
Why Use A Church Check-in?
Nearly every church uses some form of a check-in system. Some methods are more basic, like a simple pen and paper registry, while other churches have a more sophisticated church check-in software in place, complete with mobile- or tablet-based stations for easy processing.
One reason to use a check-in system is to keep track of attendance. It helps the church to know who has been a regular attendee and who is absent. Churches can watch for trends in church-going habits. It also helps the church stay updated on the average age of the congregation, how many regular members it has gained or lost, and what regular members have suddenly stopped attending. The management might gain insight into member’s lives and be able to follow up with long-time members who have suddenly stopped attending. Perhaps they suddenly became ill, or no longer have a ride to church. By using a church check-in and visitor management system, it can help church leaders answer these questions and understand their members better.
How Does A Church Check-in Work?
While it is easy for small churches to have a fairly accurate count of their members, larger churches might struggle with counting all the heads. Thom Rainer, a church consultant, found that when churches estimated attendance, they inflated their numbers by more than 30%. He also said that sometimes churches would count one time, and then use that number as an estimate for every week throughout the year.
To get truly accurate information, people will have to take the time to sign in voluntarily. Some churches will use guest books, kiosks, or connection cards to track memberships. However, some churches have begun to use a mobile app. One example of a free church check-in software is ChurchMetrics. This free app tracks donations, attendance, and volunteers. It can even be customized to fit your church’s unique tracking needs.
Analyzing the Data
Using this software can help you understand the demographics of your attendees. It can deliver reports in mere minutes that would have taken you much more time to calculate and figure out on your own. It can let you compare the attendance and number of visitors each month, and even which services are more popular amongst a certain age group. The church can use this information to tailor each service to fit the demographics of the attendees better.
Keeping Children Safe
Churches who offer children’s ministry have to be extra careful to ensure that the children left in their care are returned to the correct family. One solution to this is a church check-in system, which allows parents to input the necessary information to ensure that their children are as safe as possible.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 2,000 children are reported missing every day. Out of these children, most are taken by family members or by people the children know. Having a check-in system in place can ensure that each child is released to the correct adult. In case of an emergency, sickness, or illness, it can also be helpful to have the contact information readily available.
Free Church Check-in Software
There are many different kinds of free church check-in software available. Therefore, research which one fits the needs of the church best. Church Admin for WordPress is one example of a free and open-source WordPress plugin. It includes a full church database, with email management, bulk SMS, calendar, facility management, and, of course, attendance tracking. It is free to use, but you can choose to add the smartphone app for $10 a month. If your church is already using WordPress, it might be a good option.
CahabaWorks is another effective way to manage members, contributions, financials, and child check-in. The standard edition is better for small and midsize churches and is free to use. The free version has no limits on assets or people tracked, but there is no support offered. There are different pricing levels available if you want more features or have a bigger church.
The bottom line is that church check-in systems and visitor management can provide useful information that helps churches to lead their followers more effectively.