December 19, 2014

KidMin Success: Church of the Beach Cities Uses Mobile Check In

I recently interviewed Tim Cash about mobile children’s check in for his church, Church of the Beach Cities in Manhattan Beach, California. Tim is a big advocate of child security and loves seeing technology used in positive ways to help his church be more efficient. Below is a Q & A with Tim to learn what his church’s kid’s check in process looks like:

 

 

 

Describe your church – size, how many kids, any special ministry challenges with check in, etc.

Our church is small. We have about 200-300 people every Sunday. Currently, we are using a school cafeteria for our worship service, and our Children’s Church utilizes the teacher’s lunch room and the outside patio. We average about 40 kids every Sunday during the summer, and about 50 or so during school sessions.

When did you begin doing computerized check in? What were your needs and how did this technology help your ministry?
We started using By the Book’s Roll Call Child Check In system a few years ago. We used to do it all manually, and at the end of the year, someone had to physically count all the names and run reports for all the Sundays. That always took weeks to do. It was tedious and time consuming. After I learned and really understood how the tracking was done, I knew there had to be a better way. Seeing how I am a computer technician, I researched at least five different check in programs. Roll Call was by far the easiest and most robust program that fit our Church needs. And not-to-mention, a great one-time cost, unlike most other programs. Now that we use the program, our reports are done in minutes versus weeks.
When you heard about Mobile CheckIn, what made you decide to become a beta tester and how did the process go?
When I heard about the beta testing, I immediately jumped on the chance to participate in it. I love trying out new things, and if it makes the program better, why not. As for the process, I myself did not set it up. Seeing how I was a beta-tester, David Conley from Roll Call logged into my computer and set it up for me. The set up was very fast. He then trained me on the system to the point where I can almost set it up for other people.
Do you check in via iPads or other tablets or smartphones? Detail the steps to set up the stations and mobile volunteers and how the process goes at events.

As for the check in process, we currently use a single laptop, barcode gun and a Dymo Labeler printer. I use my personal Samsung Galaxy Tablet with Android Ice Cream Sandwich on it for the mobile checkin part. Seeing how we pack in our equipment every Sunday, sometimes we are not able to set up a separate router, and therefore not able to use the mobile checkin. Here is my process I usually take when I come in Sunday mornings:
1. Set up laptop, printer and barcode gun.
2. Set up separate router
3. Configure my tablet and laptop to be on the same network
4. Test print using both the mobile check in and regular check in.
After that is all done, I head outside to the front of the church and meet and greet kids as they come in. I know most of the kids already, so when I see them, I type in their names and let them know that the name tags are already printed in the back. By doing that, it saves the parents time and hassle by not having to say there last names. It gets very loud in our church due to the location of our check in area.
Would you recommend this software to other churches and why?
I would highly recommend this software to every church that has a children’s program. Not only is the software easy to set up and use, it has many security features that can be used to help prevent an unauthorized person from picking up a kid. The software also makes checkin a breeze, which allows parents to enjoy the service hassle free. One more bonus: the support staff are very knowledgeable, smart, fast, and very friendly. They always have a positive attitude no matter the situation.
[By the Book is a valued site sponsor. Many thanks for their continued efforts to support churches around the world!]

Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, church technology PR consultant (http://lhpr.net) and founder of the blog ChurchTechToday (http://ChurchTechToday.com), Technology for Today’s Church.

About the author  ⁄ Lauren Hunter

Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, consultant and blogger who loves the Lord and desires to encourage churches to better use technology to improve every aspect of ministry. Her blog, ChurchTechToday, was born out of a need to find a place to discuss how technology can impact the Church in positive ways.

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