7 Reasons to Digitally Track Church Attendance
If you pastor a church, you probably notice a similar pattern each Sunday morning. A small percentage of attendees arrive well before the service begins. Then, within five minutes of the service’s start, several more people file in.
Finally, about five to ten minutes into the service, the bulk of your attendees arrive. This pattern seems to transcend all denominational differences.
The question is, does your method of tracking church attendance accurately count all these waves of people? If you have people who primarily keep a headcount, the answer is likely no.
Instead of relying on inefficient methods, it’s often better to count your attendance using digital software. Using church tracking software offers several advantages for churches of several sizes, from mid-range churches to megachurches.
In this guide, we’ll list seven reasons why you should track your attendance digitally. With any luck, soon, you’ll have much more accurate records of attendance for your Sunday services!
1. Church Attendance is in Decline
Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, but churches must understand the context they find themselves in. Across America and the West, church attendance has suffered a significant decline.
Many people may know this on some level, but even the most pessimistic may not recognize how drastic the situation has become. According to recent Gallup poll findings, the number of people who remain as members of churches, synagogues, or mosques has fallen below the majority line.
In 2020, only 47 percent of Americans claimed membership with any of these houses of worship. This number is down from 50 percent in 2018 and 70 percent in 1999.
How does this affect your worship attendance? For one thing, it helps explain why your numbers may be experiencing a drop. If so, you’re not alone.
However, if you pastor a growing church, it may mean you’re doing something very well. So, keeping an accurate record of church attendance can help gauge how your church fits into these data trends.
2. Digital Records Balance Your Data in COVID-19
You may notice that the percentage of people who claimed church membership dropped significantly from 2018 to 2020. One of the reasons for this is likely COVID-19 lockdowns.
Many churches began to incorporate online streaming of services as a part of their Sunday worship. As a result, many churches experience a split in their attendance: some attend in-person, while others tune in to livestreams or recordings.
Using church attendance tracking software can help balance out your data. With this, you get an accurate count of the people in your sanctuary. By pairing this with your online streaming engagement, you can get a holistic picture of attendance.
If your region still faces significant COVID threats or regulations, this tracking is even more essential. By accurately counting your attendance, you can better comply with social distancing measures.
3. Resources for Mission and Outreach
Church communities do more than show up on Sunday and tithe (at least, they should!). Churches also engage with their local communities, contributing to local needs and helping to evangelize.
Keeping accurate attendance data gives you a better idea of how involved your members are in the church. It also tells you how many people you can realistically provide for volunteer and evangelistic work.
4. Managing Space
Even without COVID concerns, space concerns remain a perennial issue for churches. Growing churches struggle to provide adequate parking for their members and guests. Declining churches struggle to afford all the space in their church with their decreasing offerings.
Keeping an accurate measure of your attendance can help you navigate both sets of concerns. When you know how many people you can expect on a regular Sunday, you can plan to expand your parking or worship space realistically.
Likewise, if your church is facing decline, keeping a realistic measurement of attendance helps you gauge your church revenue. If only fifty people regularly give to the church, you can ground your budget in reality and plan accordingly.
We’ve briefly touched on this in other places, but it deserves a section of its own. Growing churches have different needs than plateauing or declining congregations. You may find you have to expand your infrastructure to accommodate the influx of newcomers.
When you do this, you need a comprehensive understanding of how many people to plan for. Church software can help you with this. By keeping accurate records of church attendance, you can measure patterns of growth.
From there, you can make more accurate predictions as to how many people your new structure needs to seat. It can also help you build a parking lot that can hold enough cars for your service times.
6. Saving on Supplies
Churches can waste surprising amounts of money on various sorts of supplies. One of the most common examples of this waste is bulletin printing.
Some churches may have a bulletin that includes several pages to follow along with their liturgies. Others may only need a two-page front-and-back option. However, either type costs too much if you print too many.
If your church averages one hundred people for each service on Sunday, there’s rarely a reason to print two hundred. Yet, many churches follow this practice out of habit.
Instead, cut down those costs by only printing what you need. You can get this information with church software data.
7. Covering Seasonal Attendance
Most churches experience attendance fluctuations through the seasons. Many congregations see more people during the Christmas/Advent season or in Lent leading up to Easter.
In contrast, most churches see a decline in attendance during summer as many families take vacations. With church software data, you can measure whether decreases or increases happen due to seasons.
By checking the previous year’s data for that month, you get an idea of how your current attendance spikes correlate to the last year’s. You can get this data through sites like Iconcmo.com.
Start Tracking Attendance Today
As you can see, there are several reasons to begin monitoring your church attendance. Doing so helps gauge the health of your church community and plan for the coming seasons and years.
So, don’t hesitate! Find the church software you need today.
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