So, we’ve been talking about timeliness. As I’m hearing from others, it’s an issue everyone faces. On the weekend people show up late. So here is the big question or questions:

Do you have a “too late to check in” policy? If so, how late is too late?

Some of us have to close rooms because they get too full or there aren’t enough volunteers. I’m not talking about that though. I’m talking about closing rooms because service is halfway over. As children’s ministers, we know why we close the rooms:

  • Letting kids in half-way through the service is distracting to the other 17 kids in the room.
  • Kids coming in half-way through the service won’t get the full experience possible.
  • Emergency/Evacuation rosters are already printed and kids coming in this late might not make it on the roster.

I know some of these excuses sound lame, but to those working so hard to make the weekend a quality experience, it’s frustrating to have kids coming in so late. However, there are several reason why we don’t want to “not” check in a kid so late.

  • It could be a visitor and we don’t want to turn away a person who’s coming to check things out (I know, it’s not usually the visitors who are late, but do we really want to be the gestapo who determines who we do and do not let in?).
  • Do we really want to keep the kids away as it’s not their fault?

Currently at Gateway, we do not turn anyone away. Our program is such that someone could come in late and it’s not going to be that big of a deal. However I’ve been at churches where it was a very big deal. I talked about it with leadership and they were never interested in going there… so we didn’t. Yes, it does bother me that people come late. It’s annoying and I feel bad that the kids are only getting half the experience that they could, but for me I don’t know that it’s worth doing it.

What about you? What is your policy and why do you do what you do?