I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been involved in a discussion about small group attendance reporting. And, every conversation eventually gets around to “How do you get your small group leaders to report attendance?”
Of course there’s no “silver bullet” solution, but there are two “keys” to getting small group leaders to report their groups’ attendance.
First, you have to do a great job of casting vision. Small group leaders have to understand that reporting small group attendance is not “about the numbers.” It’s not about making sure the graph gets updated or the church board’s monthly report gets done.
I tell our leaders that “we count people because people count.” I know it’s just a catchy phrase, but it’s really true. I’m on the telephone more than a few times per week, talking to people about Church Management Software (CMS). If you haven’t realized it by now, I’m definitely a big fan of Church Community Builder! I love the application and I love the company. These guys really get ministry!
Anyway, I’m on the phone with other church leaders explaining our experience with Church Community Builder and why we like it so much. They want to know why we moved from Fellowship One to Church Community Builder. Sometimes when I’m talking about features and functionality as they compare different CMS options, it occurs to me that the church leader doesn’t really get what CMS is really for. They view it as a “database,” a place to keep contact information, etc. I explain the importance of understanding what business the church is really in and how CMS enables the church to “do its business.” Churches are in the life change business. They are connecting with people and helping them to move along spiritually. From non-believer to believer, from loosely engaged believer to more engaged believer. Basically, if you view a person’s spiritual journey as a series of steps, it’s about understanding where they are currently and how to help them get to the next step.
So, reporting small group attendance is nothing more than a method of keeping the CMS an accurate representation of how engaged a person is when it comes to community.
Ease Of Use
Second, it’s imperative that the actual task of reporting small group attendance be easy for the group leader. Again, here’s where Church Community Builder really nails it! On the morning of my small group meeting, I receive an e-mail that prompts me to report attendance. Without having to go to my computer or otherwise login to the system, I can report my attendance while I’m at my meeting, right on my smartphone. If I don’t get it done right then, I receive two additional reminders over the next couple of days. Easy.
Making the task easy increases the likelihood that it will get done.