Letting a Database Improve Your CM Program

By Roger Lubiens

In Children’s Ministry we often keep track of our children through sign-in sheets or some other type of log. Regardless of the size of your program, an electronic monitoring system can provide you with accurate means to stay connected with children and their families.

Here’s what I’ve done at my church. At our main campus we use Fellowship One, a powerful database that tracks attendance, event participation, and allows follow-up for families that attend only occasionally to church or our events. You can achieve similar results with other systems or with Microsoft Office programs in Access or Excel. Here are some of the steps that have worked for us:

– Use sign-in lists to identify children that attend your Sunday school. For more accuracy, encourage your leaders/teachers to be diligent in the sign-in process. This will also help with child security in the classroom, as well as increase your database accuracy.

– Establish within the database each program you manage; Sunday school, midweek programs, or special events.

– Establish a weekly listing for each program or event. This information can be used later to analyze attendance patterns for each child or family.

– Log database attendance for each participating child into the database. You will soon notice attendance patterns for each child. This information will help your teachers and leaders. The database can be used to send group emails announcing special events, sending words of encouragement, or sending monthly newsletters.

– Analyze the data monthly. Run a monthly report for each class, event, or program to identify which children are not regularly participating. I use this information to follow-up on those who had missed two or more Sundays.

– Sort your list by using your database utilities or a Microsoft Excel filter to identify the class members with irregular attendance. Design a postcard with Microsoft Publisher that grabs the child’s attention and communicates how much we miss them.

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