Tracking Attendance

I’m hoping this is a good place to post this. I’m fairly new to CITN and I’ve been hovering and reading for a few months, but this seemed like a good time to post. I was approached by our lead pastor and communications team lead to bounce an idea off. They have a concern of congregants who come, attend for a while, and are never seen again with little or no communication or follow up. We have 4 sights with an average weekly of around 3000. The question was, "do i know of any technology we could use to track attendance so that we can follow up with people who may not be involved with event or classes. We stopped using weekly attendance sheets in our services a while back so we no longer know who is coming and going anygiven week unless they scheck into a class or we go through and look at giving reports, which still does not see everyone. My first thought was software that may auto check someone in when they connect to wifi, or a bluetooth system that would auto recognize on site. I may also be reaching for something that is too far away. Just thought i would get some expert advice here.


I can tell you our non technology answer to this situation. I know Rock and most chms software does have attendance ability but that’s really only useful with child check-in or volunteer check-in. At Willow, we actually rely on volunteer’s and our section communities:

Essentially each literal seating section of our auditorium has a “pastor” who’s job it is to connect with new attendees, build relationships, and then help that person find a small group and a community. We actually showed a video recently of a couple who experienced this:

Obviously not a tech answer but it’s something that’s served us well. In regards to tech, Im not sure how better you could handle this. There are some new facial recognition tools specifically for churches to help track attendance like this but they are no where near ready from last I’ve seen. I think the bluetooth/wifi thing is a cool way to go down this path but I have a feeling a low tech solution might be the best answer to this!

I don’t think you can fix a people issue with technology. Ultimately, people need to feel that they’re welcome and getting something out of it, in order to keep coming back. If they “get to go to church”, they’ll keep coming - if they “have to go to church”, they might not. Many different churches have many different solutions to this.

That said, we have at some times used cameras to count. Had a couple PTZ cameras installed in our main worship center, and a couple volunteers would control them during the sermon to count empty seats. Subtract that from the currently-configured capacity, and you have attendance.

If you wanted to take that approach and throw in facial recognition technology/TensorFlow or something, that might be a technological way of tracking it, though I’m not sure how much effort or money is budgeted for this project.

Yes we do use ptz in our worship center to take attendance number. We also use FellowshipOne system to keep track of attendance, registrations etc. The issue that we are looking to improve are people who come in for a couple/few weeks and don’t reach out to us and may get overlooked. Also to see who has stopped coming over time. It’s seems to me a fine line between learning trends and big brother a bit. I’m not sure there will be a solution to this concern but I thought I would put it out there

Colin West
IT Coordinator
Christian Life Center
(937) 898-8811<http://>

State of the art facial recognition to track people that’s way beyond what anyone wants to pay or is really comfortable with, but…

[Takes off IT hat, puts on MDiv hat]

This is one of those things that is a bane for all senior pastors as a church grows and is sometimes coined “the revolving back door.” Statistically, any given pastor can only really recognize around 150 people and notice if they go missing, some have a gift and that number can get up to 200-250, but it’s very rare out in the wild. Basically, to have any hope of keeping track of people you need to get their info and you need to assign people to follow up with them, a cell/small/care group is a good place to funnel people immediately toward as they can take on some of that pastoral care like noticing if people go missing.

For the members, I knew a pastor back in the 90s who set up a low tech name badge system for members. People would come and get their lanyard with name badge from a checkout and that’s how they would know if a member disappeared for an extended period. That church was always 1,500 to 3,000 because they would divide and plant and so it was a workable method. Interestingly, people were pretty eager to become members because of the lanyards.