The Covid pandemic has drastically changed church attendance. Just when everyone felt safe going back to church, the new Delta variant appeared.
This newest challenge resulted in members returning to virtual church services.
Virtual services have saved many churches, but how do you know who is attending virtually? This question has challenged church leaders because they have an interest in who is in attendance.
Why Do Churches Care About Tracking Attendance?
Monitoring church growth is only as effective as a church’s ability to track attendance.
While growth is not always the goal, understanding attendance patterns is crucial to connecting with members.
An accurate count of how many people are attending church each weekend is important.
But it is even more significant to know who is there.
Because knowing who is there allows church leaders to be aware of who is in the church community.
3 Reasons To Track Church Attendance
1. Understand Attendance Patterns
When I grew up, going to church every Sunday was a given.
There was nothing that could interfere with going to church. It was simply what you did – and what everyone else you knew did.
The world has changed, things have changed and we now know that even committed church members don’t attend church services every week.
There are lots of reasons for that but this changing pattern of attendance is something that church leaders need to pay attention to.
For instance, this ongoing pandemic has contributed significantly to in-church attendance. Virtual attendance is great, however, tracking that attendance can help church leaders stay connected with members.
2. Monitor Growing Membership
Growing churches are the result of people being added to the membership.
A church can do a great job of maintaining its weekly attendance numbers, but if those numbers represent different people every week, the church may have a revolving door that results in people coming in and going out.
This ultimately means that the church isn’t growing but may simply be a cool place to visit – which the church needs to be aware of.
Most churches would agree that the goal is if you can get them in the door you’d like to keep them.
The desire is not so much about expanding the church community but more about developing mature Christians – which is difficult to do if people visit for a short time and then leave.
You have to know who is there, and how often, to truly monitor membership growth.
3. Know When Someone Is Missing
If the church is small, it is pretty easy to remember who showed up Sunday.
But as a church grows, and adds church services, it is very difficult to keep track of who is there.
A sad truth about many people is that when they find themselves in a challenging season of life they tend to withdraw rather than seek help from their church community.
This results in people disappearing.
If a church is monitoring who is there, and who is missing, they can reach out to those members and offer help and support.
For instance, if a child is missing from Children’s ministry for a couple of weeks, the church can call the family to check to see if everything is ok.
Sometimes there are personal things going on that keep a family from attending.
If the church reaches out in these situations they are showing the love, care, and support that members appreciate.
So how do you know who is there?
Tracking accurate church attendance can be a real challenge for churches.
I was an usher years ago and one of our job responsibilities was to count church attendees.
The church auditorium had around 1500 seats in it and it was very difficult to get an exact count of people.
The issue was you might just finish your count and someone walks in late or you have a difficult time counting heads because they all seem to blend together.
We all struggled with coming up with accurate numbers and knew that what we were reporting was the best guess.
Quick and Easy Way to Track Church Attendance
My church does a great job of tracking attendance.
They have what they call a digital connection card built into their church app.
Every Sunday the pastor gets up and asks members to open their church app and fill out the card.
This digital card is used for volunteer signup, check into the church service, submit prayer requests, identify first-time visitors and identify the next steps for follow-up.
The app also has a built-in Bible, a giving portal, sermon notes, social media, and much more! It provides all the necessary resources to support the Sunday service.
It has become part of the Sunday routine to sit down, open the app and fill out the digital connection card.
And with the new reality of virtual attendance, members who feel safer at home can also fill out a card to let church leadership know that they participated in the online service.
I know the church appreciates having lots of information, including an attendance report, ready for them on Monday morning!
This mobile app technology has taken what used to be a manual process and eliminates the printing costs, the collection of paper connection cards, and the process of entering the information into the church database.
Is your church using mobile technology?
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