Having served as a pastor for 27 years in young and old churches, large and small, I understand the importance of taking attendance and the difficulty that goes with it. I can offer you several suggestions some will be easier to implement based on your attendance others on the age of your church. I have also included attachments of support materials, i.e. cards, list and links which you may use free with our permission.
1. CARD PEW ATTENDANCE
Place cards in the pews that both visitors and attendees are instructed to place in the offering. Visitors fill out their contact information; Members fill out names of those in the household attending only or check a box for household attendance. (See Attachment Card 1)
2. GROUP ATTENDANCE
Divide up your congregation into groups (5-10 families per group). Have individuals or couples designated with the task of seeking out those individuals/families each service and record their attendance on a service attendance sheet. This method works great because it strengthens the church community.
3. DROP CARD TREE
For your members, have cards (heavy card stock) made up for each family that list their names and address. Have them available in three or more areas in the foyer (punch-card holder racks work great). They simply pick up their card and place it in the attendance box in the foyer or place in the offering. This is very green as you are using the cards over and over.
4. NAME BADGE TREE
They simply pick up their name badge and at the end of the service they drop it in the badge return box at the door. They are picked up and marked off in CMO attendance and then placed back on the Badge Tree.
5. PEW LIST ATTENDANCE
Have a clip board in each pew that has a copy of your member’s names which they can check off and pass down their isle. Limit the list to one isle if at all possible as more isles will create a disruption. A designated person/s will collect the clip boards and record them online.
(See Attachment 2)
Hi-Tech Attendance Solutions
6. COMPUTER ENTRY ATTENDANCE
Some churches have placed laptops at various places in the foyer using the check box attendance in our program. This can be done by an attendant or not. Visitor cards would be recommended as it reduces both traffic and confusion. Some systems allow for touch screen entry.
(See Attachment CMO Check List)
7. iPad Attendance
With our program we recommend the Apple iPad as an inexpensive device which has a great touch screen and finger scroll for attendance using our attendance program. See an example picture of using an iPad to take attendance below.
8. BAR CODE ATTENDANCE
Today’s technology also makes available bar code readers. It has been billed as fast and simple. A check-in station, computer connection, scanner, would be required. An attendant is usually required and there are options other than bar-coding: i.e. magnetic strip cards, fingerprint scan, and face recognition : )
NOTE: As in most things that are new for a church there will be a learning curve. Don't expect whatever method you use to instantly work. Churches no matter how old they are can put into practice a good attendance program (I have served in churches that were over 100 years old).
It doesn't take a Rocket Saint to know the advantages. People in general feel followed up, connected, and missed. Leadership will better be able to care for their people and see growth.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have another way to take Individual attendance please let me know. I would love to hear from you.
Mike Smith, CMO Ministry Support
Church Office Online