6 Ways that “Boring Forms” Provide Essential Insight into the Pulse of Your Ministry

It can feel like you are inundated with forms. There are so many forms to fill out for every program and the administration of it all can end up feeling overwhelming. So you end up with a stack of forms on your desk that you barely look at except to check that they are filled out and to ensure you are aware of any allergies.

Children's Ministry Paperwork

But I believe that these forms have so much more value. Registration forms and attendance records particularly are valuable tools in Children’s Ministry. These records offer more than compliance with insurance companies and contact information for families.

Here are 6 ways registration forms and attendance records provide essential insight into the pulse of your ministry:

1. Trends in Attendance

Look at attendance records over a quarter and over the whole year. You will notice trends that can help you make decisions about how to plan for the future, when to begin and end programs, and see when there might be significant drops in attendance.

For example, you notice that attendance dramatically drops off of your clubs program after June so that might be valuable information to consider shutting it down for the summer.

2. Ratio of Churched Kids to Unchurched Kids

Registration forms can tell you how many churched kids are attending your programs and how many unchurched kids are attending. This is especially helpful information for outreach and evangelistic programs.

You might notice that your outreach program only has 10% non-churched children and 90% churched children. In this case you need to look at ways of encouraging those kids to invite their friends and of ways of getting the word out in the community.

3. Consistency in Attendance

Attendance records can tell you who attends programs consistently and who doesn’t. Looking at these records will also tell you if a student who has been consistent suddenly drops off.

When reviewing attendance records you may notice that a certain child has been missing from the program. You may want to follow up and find out why.

4. Awareness of Family Schedules

With families busy with so many different activities, it can be difficult to know when to schedule events or programs. Taking a look at your attendance records can help you become more aware of the family schedules in your church.

You may notice that attendance as a whole drops off at a certain point in the year. You may want to do some investigating and find out why. The answers might help you schedule the program to fit the needs of families better.

5. Drop in Specific Program Attendance

It’s valuable to take a look at registration and attendance over a number of years.

You may notice that certain programs that were well-attended in the past have far fewer attending now. This may mean you need to look at changes to the program or the possibility of ending the program if it has run its course.

6. Registrations for Kids Who Don’t Actually Attend

You may notice that you received registration forms for children who are not actually attending the program. You may want to follow up with parents and find out why this is.

As you can see, all that paperwork that you feel inundated with in Children’s Ministry is actually essential. If you take the time to review your records you will find insight into the pulse of your ministry.

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How to Create a Sign-up Form Using Google Drive

VBS is coming up and with that comes registration forms!! Are you curious about online registration forms? Wondering how easy it is to create an online registration form? Here is a step by step guide to creating a sign-up form on google docs. Don’t worry! It’s pretty easy and there are pictures! Here we go!

(NOTE: I do my very best to keep this up-to-date. However, Google updates their interface sometimes and I don’t always know about it, plus every computer may display some of these things differently, depending on the internet browser you use. So, these pictures may not always match exactly to what you are see but they should be pretty close. If you find the pictures are very different, feel free to get in touch and met me know so I can update them. Thank you!)

1. Sign in and go to https://drive.google.com/

2. Click the blue New button.



3. A little window will open with a few options.


4. Click Google Sheets.

5. A blank spreadsheet will open.

blank spreadsheet


6. In the menu above the spreadsheet, click Tools.

7. A menu will open.

8. Click Create Form.

create form


9. A form template displays.

form template


10. Give your spreadsheet a title.

11. Click Add Item to add as many questions as you want. If you hover over the little arrow to the right of Add Item, you’ll get some different question-type options. You’ll probably use the Text one a lot but some of the others are helpful, too.

add item


12. When we created a form for VBS registration, we included some of the following questions:

  • Text questions:
    • Name
    • Parents’ names
    • Age
  • Paragraph text questions:
    • Allergies
  • Check boxes
    • How the parent heard of the program
    • Permission to contact the parents about other programs

13. When you’re done, click View Live Form.

view live form


14. To share the form…

  • Copy the URL when you are viewing the live form and put it into emails that you send out to parents.
  • Or, if you want to embed the form, click File and then select Embed and it will give you some HTML to copy and paste into your church’s website.

embed


15. When you want to review responses, you can sign in to Google Drive and open the Sheet. If it opens in a spreadsheet, you’ll see a list of the responses sorted into columns according to the questions you asked. Or, if it takes you to this form-builder page then just click View Responses.

view responses


You’re done! That’s all there is to it! If you want a larger view of any of the pictures in this article, simply click on them.

A big thank you to my husband, Aaron! He put this together for me and now I’m sharing it with you. I hope you find it helpful.

 

 

 

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