In TMI [Part 1] we laid out the basic framework of the importance of managing your church’s information. Today we want to focus on just one aspect; processing your information.
Processing your information is how you get your raw data into your Church Management Software (ChMS). This data can be attendance records, individual notes, or even expenses. To do this you need two things; a PLAN and PEOPLE.
Information doesn’t magically find its way into your ChMS. You need to lay out a plan from the beginning to set yourself up for success. This plan needs to include the following:
- What information do you want to gather? Do you just want the attendance total for the church service or do you also want the attendance totals for all your classes/groups? Are you wanting to go more in-depth and record personal notes for individual people as well? What basic info is asked on your guest cards for first-time visitors/guests?
- When do you want to gather this information? Do you want to count your worship attendance at the end of the service or halfway through? Do you want to write notes in real time or just write them down in a journal to transfer over to your ChMS later on? Are your guests/visitors filling out this info after the service or beforehand?
- How do you want to gather this information? Do you want to have printouts with names ready to check off? Maybe you want to stay completely digital and do everything on a tablet in real time with your church software? Do you have a card you hand to guests for them to fill out or do you ask the questions and fill it out yourself?
- Who is going to gather this information? Is this in the hands of your admin team or do you have volunteers in place? Is it the same person every week or do you have different people for each week at your welcome area?
Take time to answer these questions, formulate your plan and write it down. Once you have a solid plan ready you can get your PEOPLE.
If you’re a large church you need a team of people to execute your plan. If you’re a smaller church you may be able to do this with just one or two people. Either way, make sure you have the right people in place to follow your plan. The worst thing you can do is have a great plan in place but not have the right people to execute it.
Some quick tips:
- Use CONSISTENT people. Don’t put this task in the hands of someone who can’t make it to church consistently.
- Use FOCUSED people. Don’t use that one person who seems to always get distracted by every person he meets. Incomplete info is bad info.
- Use HONEST people. You wouldn’t let a known thief count your offering would you?
Having the right PLAN and PEOPLE in place will make processing your information a breeze!