Attendees at my church the past few weeks were greeted with a number of tables decorated with linen cloth, finger foods, and paper signup sheets. We do this every quarter when we start a new semester of small group ministries. Typically the people who are interested in signing up for a group are asked to do so after each of our services. When they locate the group they’re interested in they are also normally greeted at the sheet by the leader of that group. This allows for questions to be answered or names to be exchanged if they had not previously met, etc.
I think this is a great system. It’s personal, it’s inviting, and there’s normally donuts. In short, we should keep doing these sign up weekends. But, could we add anything to increase efficiency or another avenue for people to sign up for a group? I think the answer is yes!
Bring in the Tech!!
Once the signup weekends are compete, our small group coordinator compiles the lists and then emails each small group leader an Excel spreadsheet with his or her roster. We use these to track attendance and report up to the coordinator how many folks are attending our group so they can in turn pump some statistics out to somewhere. In my church it’s probably just for the curiosity of the Pastors and Deacons. This model works well enough. Just about everyone is accustom to emails and Excel well enough to participate in the correspondence. There’s a newish term floating around called collaboration. Ok so, it’s not new term, but it may be new to you or your team mates in terms of collaboration across the web.
Google is heavily pushing collaborative office tools. In Google Drive you have access to word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, and forms. In this scenario I’m focusing on the forms tool.
Here’s an example of a form I created on Google Drive. The whole creation process was a point and click adventure. There was no HTML, CSS, or other code knowledge required. On the back end, a spreadsheet is created in the account of the form creator. Any responses to the form are entered automatically onto the spreadsheet. This is where the collaboration comes in. If the form is created using the Church’s Google account, then only those who have account access will see the spreadsheet. But, thanks to Google’s permission paradigm, the individual group leaders can be granted read-only access to the spreadsheet. This give them the freedom to download and organize the list at their leisure.
For accountability reports, a second form can be created. Send this form out to the leaders who can then submit the data by filling in a form instead of attaching a spreadsheet to an email.
In this type of setup, emails will still be flowing back and forth, however, instead of downloading, modifying, and then sending out attachments; a link is clicked and data is either viewed or a form is filled out. If anything, this lessens the chance of those pesky emails that say, “Please see attachment” and the person forgets to attach (I’m guilty of this more than once).
On the front end for signups I see this as augmentation for the in-person interaction that we’re already doing. On the back end I see a more streamlined process, though it is up to you on how efficient it would be for your team.
Your turn! Does your church use any type of digital signup solution for events?