Vacation time is over. Kids are back to school. Families are settling in to their “real life” routines. You know what that means for your church! This month, and into the fall, your attendance will be increasing after summer lulls. And your church families will be getting excited about the fall activities you have planned.
So how can you get prepared for the “back to church” season? We’ve got six questions you need to be asking right now.
1. “Is my church fully staffed with volunteers?”
Do you tend to see Sunday attendance drop during summertime as folks take time off and travel? As families settle back into their routines after summer vacations, your Sunday attendance will return to normal. And that means you’ll need to make sure your volunteer teams are fully staffed so all your churchgoers are welcomed. Specifically, you should:
- Increase the number of volunteers in Sunday school classes to ensure you are meeting the needs of each student.
- Add additional greeters and volunteers at sign-in desks and welcome kiosks to answer questions and greet new guests.
- Make sure you have volunteers for youth programs, small groups, and service ministries that take place during the week.
- Use your church management software (ChMS) volunteer scheduling feature to make sure your team is where they need to be, when you need them.
Of course, you can’t just magically increase the number of volunteers you have available. Reach out to your congregation! Make sure to mention volunteer opportunities during Sunday services. Spread the news in your church bulletin. And share opportunities on social media.
You can also use ChMS communication tools to send out targeted emails, text messages, or phone calls to members who have expressed interest in volunteering. Develop and send communications to your entire email list, sharing volunteer opportunities and encouraging participation.
2. “Are my church’s security protocols up-to-date?”
Increased attendance means a greater risk of security incidents. To keep your congregation safe, focus on these tasks:
- Make sure all cameras and check-in kiosks are operating correctly.
- Are you adding new fall events to the church calendar? Remember to adjust your security personnel staffing accordingly.
- Update the website to let parents know how you keep kids safe during Sunday school.
- Utilize a check-in process from your ChMS.
- Outline the check-in process so parents know what to expect. This will put families with children at ease, and let people know if processes have changed.
3. “Has my church conducted background checks on new volunteers and staff, and re-checks for those who currently serve?”
This goes right along with your security protocols but deserves special mention. Your church has an obligation to exercise due diligence with regards to safety and security. This is especially true for ministries dedicated to children and young people. That means thorough background checks for volunteers and staff are essential.
Conducting background checks can ward off predators before they threaten your congregation. If they know you have rigorous screening, predators will steer clear to avoid attention.
Elexio partners with Protect My Ministry for background screenings. They offer the most thorough screenings available. Protection strategies include:
- Initial background checks for staff and volunteers.
- Rescreening all volunteers and staff each year.
- Training programs and procedures to ensure that potential threats are not missed.
- Tracking of status, completions, errors, issues, expirations, and re-certifications.
4. “What about our church’s mobile app? Is it up to date? Does it even exist?”
Hopefully you have a mobile app that kept families connected to your church over the summer. Put it to work for your fall events and ministries too! Your app is a great way to inform members about upcoming fall events. You can remind them as well with push notifications. And of course, event registration and check-in are easy with your app.
If your church doesn’t have an app, what are you waiting for? Your church members use apps for every part of their lives – entertainment, shopping, travel, and much more. They’ll appreciate an app that keeps them connected to your church events and ministries.
Elexio offers the MinistryOne app as an add-on, customizable feature. It gives churches a personalized app with media capabilities; event registration, payment, and check-in options; and livestreaming. Get started now, and your app can quickly be ready to introduce to your congregation.
5. “Does my church have a plan to increase online giving after summer?”
After the busyness of summer, fall is a great time to talk about eGiving. You can let church members know that it’s a great way to provide steady, consistent support to the church. Even if they can’t attend in person, their stewardship will continue.
Be upfront with your congregation! If you saw a decline in summer giving (like most churches do), let them know. Explain that recurring gifts are a way to sustain ministries, even when people are out of town or unable to attend. Missed Sundays from over the summer will be on their minds. Let people know how much their eGiving will help the ministries they care about!
6. “Is my church actively engaging with potential new members?”
As you welcome families back to their regular church activities, think about how you can grow the church with new members. There are likely families who just moved to your area; they’re getting settled in, have their kids in school, and now need a church home!
Plus, families in your community will be looking for fun fall activities. Your fall festivals and youth programs could be a great way to connect with them.
So how can you connect? There are several ways:
- Make sure your church website is updated and easy to navigate. This is how many people will first “meet” your ministries.
- Use social media to highlight your upcoming events and current ministries.
- Make sure your live stream is welcoming and engaging. It’s another “first impression” opportunity for new members.
- Have your most outgoing volunteers ready to greet newcomers every Sunday morning.
It all seems like a lot of work. And it is! But with the right ChMS tools you can surge into the fall season. Let Elexio show you how. Get started with a free trial and discover how we can help your church.