One thing I am very passionate about is keeping track of kids who attend my church. Over 6 years ago I listened to tape of Jim Wideman talking about the importance of tracking kids. He equated tracking attendance to shepherding your flock. I immediately felt guilty. My church tracked numbers more so than it did individuals, so I ended up buying a cheap attendance program that would allow me to keep track of my kids. Because my church was not bought in to the idea of the tracking I wanted to do, it ended up being a lot more work for me and I din’t really achieve what I wanted.

Several years back, I relocated to a church in Texas and was part of the process of implementing Fellowship One as our ChMS. I was thrilled as this was exactly what would help me do what I wanted to do. Within a month or so, I had some reports tweaked that cranked out the data I needed. Every Monday morning I had reports on what kids had been missing for 3, 6 and 9 weeks, kids who were first time, second time and third time visitors as well as kids who were having birthdays that week. With a few tricked-out excel macros, I could push a few buttons and within minutes I had labels that volunteers could stick on pre-printed/age specific postcards for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd time visitors as well as for birthdays and the kids who were missing in action. I also had calling lists to make personal calls to the 3rd time visitors and those who had been missing for 9 weeks. With these tools, I really was a sheperd who knew where the kids were.

I write all of this in past tense because my church using Fellowship One merged into another church and did the multi-site thing. It’s cool, but they were bigger and already using Shelby. It’s been over a year now and I still don’t have my old reports… we’re still working on it. I know I’ll have them again soon, it’s just a little trickier with Shelby, definitely not as easy as F1.

The moral of this story: Track your kids. Know when they are there and know when they are not. This is the art of closing the back door and adding a personal touch to your ministry. So whether you are using Shelby, Fellowship One or a home grown excel spreadsheet, you can and should track your kids.