Putting relationships first is the #1 rule for church leaders. Every church leader’s goal is to get to know every member of their congregation personally. Get to know their kids. Get to know their passions. Get to know their dreams for their future and all the things holding them back from a deeper relationship with Jesus.
But, if we are honest, church leaders also have another goal: church growth.
We want to see our church attendance numbers go up with every passing week. It is a reality that all of us must face. We want to build God’s Kingdom and to do that, we must see more people in the seats at weekly worship services.
And so? We build relationships and hold events. We do everything we can to bring people in and meet their needs. Once they come through our doors, we want to make sure we track their comings and goings in the church’s software. When our churches were small, it was easy to count those coming and going. However, as our churches grow, we need more sophisticated models for tracking attendance.
Here are a variety of ways for churches of all sizes to track attendance on Sunday mornings and programs throughout the week.
Provide Friendship Cards: In the back of every church pew, there are hymnals, Bibles, offering envelopes, and, in most cases, little cards on which people are encouraged to complete their personal information. These cards are not just for tracking the attendance of newcomers for the church database. These cards can be used to track everyone’s weekly attendance and collect prayer requests and interest in upcoming programming. Encourage everyone to complete a card each week to drop in the offering plate. Church staff can then track attendance at worship services, pray for people, and follow up with people interested in programs. It’s a great way to keep up with the life of every congregant.
Pass the attendance pad: Many liturgical worship traditions have a pre-printed pad of paper at the end of each pew or row of chairs passed during the service at the convenience of those sitting. People can record their name and contact information just like they can on a friendship card. The information is more limited, but the attendance can be tracked similarly. People are familiar with this attendance tracking method and will not feel threatened by new tracking systems.
RSVP on the church app: New technology affords church leaders new ways to track attendance in ways that will make people feel comfortable and up-to-date. There are various excellent church database software packages that offer apps for church members to download on which they can register or RSVP to track attendance. Church leaders will be thankful for the way technology makes the job of tracking attendance and following up with people easier, quicker, more efficient, and more personal.
Track those watching online: The COVID-19 pandemic produced the need for online services in churches all across the nation and around the world. It would be easy to produce online services, put them on the internet, and then hope people continue to attend online services and engage in some way. Unfortunately, that probably won’t help church staff build personal relationships with the online community. Tracking the attendance through the online community’s online engagement is essential. Assigning church staff members to track likes, comments, and people checking in on an online app will help church leaders understand how many people are attending online services and help build relationships with people who have never even stepped inside the church doors.
Track attendance for special events: People attend more than just Sunday Worship Services. They send their kids to the children’s ministry. They volunteer for a variety of ministries. They come to Bible studies. They come for holiday services. They attend retreats and youth group summer camps. Tracking attendance at all of these events will help church leaders know how many people come to the variety of programs the church offers while also helping leaders get to know congregants’ passions and personalities.
Tracking attendance is essential to analyzing the growth of any church. Thankfully, there are many tech and non-tech solutions to track those attending services and programs week-to-week and month-to-month. Church leaders can use that information to make decisions that will propel their congregation into the future with confidence as together they seek to build God’s Kingdom.
For more blogs on attendance, please visit our Church Growth site.