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 morningÃ‚Â 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.
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We use fellowship one and love it. You don’t by any chance remember the report names of those reports you were talking about. They have so many great reports sometimes it is to much. We had Shelby very poor reporting I ending up sucking everything into access and making my own reports very time consuming to set up but worth it in the end.
Man, I wish I could tell you. It’s been over a year now since I’ve used F1. Funny thing is, we canceled our F1 account, but we still have access to it, they never turned it off. I’ll see if I can’t go in and look again, but it was so long ago and I know they’ve added a million reports. When we started using F1, there were literally on a few dozen reports out there. I felt like I was emailing support every few weeks to have them create or modify new reports that I needed. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd visitor report was one that I think had something like that in the title. It was a little deceptive, because I think it was the 1st and 2nd time visitor report, but it also had a column that showed 3rd time visitors as well. The MIA report was one that week worked on for a long time and didn’t use it long before me moved to Shelby.
Although I love the fact that you can query you data in shelby and make changes to your data in bulk (something that used to be time consuming in F1… who know’s maybe they fixed that now), I sorely miss F1. Trust me, the decision was not mine. I have a very strong feeling that we will not stay with Shelby for the long haul… way too many issues, but I’m not overly sure the church wants to go the F1 direction. We’ll see.