We all notice when there are more people packed in the pews on the Sundays leading up to the holidays. My co-workers and I call these people the C&E’s (Christmas and Easter attenders). It’s great that people are more inclined to engage in church over the holidays, and churches should try to capture these attenders and keep them coming back for more! Hopefully, the message from the pastor’s sermon or the music sung by the choir will touch these spotty attenders’ souls and make them want to grow in their relationship with Christ. Beyond that, ACS Technologies newest online software, Realm, can help you track, record, and capture these C&E’s and maintain the spirit of the season all year long. It also allows your current members to renew their commitment to your church.
Stewardship via Pledge Campaigns – It’s that time again for people to recommit their tithe for the upcoming year. Instead of mailing out pledge cards this year, invite churchgoers to create a Realm account where they can state their pledge themselves. Once the pledge is set up, they can easily create a recurring online gift for the entire year. Admins can track the progress of the pledge campaign (how many pledges are set up? what age-range pledges the most? etc.) on the Pledges dashboard.
Online Giving –Not only can your regularly-attending churchgoers create recurring online gifts to satisfy their tithes, people without a Realm account can give to your church as well. Publish a QR code in your church bulletin and when the C&E attender feels compelled to give a financial gift, they can scan the code with their phone, enter payment details and presto! The money is deposited in your church’s bank account to strengthen your ministry.
Capture C&E Attendance at Check-In – When a family treks in from the cold and needs to deposit their kids in a safe, warm classroom, have a volunteer on hand with a tablet to enter the kids’ names and allergies. This will create a record in Realm for the child and add them as a guest to the Sunday School class they attend that morning. And don’t worry about out-of-town guests cluttering your database; after 30 days, if the child doesn’t come back, they are automatically removed from Realm.
Capture New Adult Visitors – If the parents also stay for an adult Sunday School class, leaders can add them to Realm using their smart phones. If the parents only stay for worship and you use pew pads to track worship attendance, a staff person can add the family’s information to Realm on Monday morning.
Reach Out after the First Visit – Now that the C&E’s are in your online database, how can you keep them interested in your church? Realm has an assimilation tool called Pathways that allows you to move people through processes to strengthen their relationship with Christ. You can create a pathway where a volunteer bakes bread for new visitors, someone else sends them a card or gives them a call, and finally a secretary schedules a meeting with the pastor to discuss becoming a member of the church.
Holidays are a stressful time for everyone, especially the staff of a church. It’s your responsibility to minister to your community and share the message of Christ’s birth. Achieving that in your worship services is hard enough work! Utilize the features that Realm provides so you can capitalize on the surge in attendance and keep the spirit of Christmas rolling throughout the upcoming year. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Kristen Hardaway is a UX Designer for Realm at ACS Technologies. She has been employed by the company in many capacities since she was a teenager and falls in love on a daily basis with our clients and the mission of ACS Technologies! She is married to a wonderful husband and is the proud mother to a beautiful baby boy and a rambunctious dog – her happy little family attends Central United Methodist Church in Florence, SC.