Some of you have had to wait a very long time for me to get around to posting part 3 to this blog topic! It has been a roller coaster year for us in Kid’s Quest with the Loudoun Campus launching in the beginning of the year and then a major staffing re-org in the early summer. I decided to take the blog down temporarily and focus on just providing quick blurbs on the Family News Flash page so our staff and volunteers had a chance to catch our breaths. But the time has come for me to pick this topic back up.
Were you in attendance this past Sunday, October 19, 2008? The lines for check-in were longer than we’ve ever experienced — even when we were first starting out — and ran late into the service time. I wanted to return to the topic of check-in to encourage you that the delay was not due to our Greeters or the MBC IT infrastructure. The company that created and manages our check-in system, Fellowship One, had a data server failure that impacted all it’s customers across the country. This resulted in very long pauses with every click on the computer. We are so thankful to our Greeters for handling this difficulty with grace and thankful to all you parents out there for enduring the inconvenience. If you were a first time visitor, we hope you were not too frustrated to return again. Fellowship One promises the issue is fixed and everything will be fine for this upcoming weekend.
Greeters truly do make check-in work well and efficiently. Things were slow when we first switched over to this new system. We had very few Greeters and everyone was learning something new. But in the last year our expert team of Greeters can now clear even the most intimidating-looking line fairly quickly. Sometimes the lines do look long but don’t worry — this is usually right before check-in opens because some of you like to be ready as soon as check-in opens! Once our Greeters get started, the line gets moving.
It’s amazing from my vantage point to see the way the Greeting Team has evolved over the past year. It went from being one of our toughest volunteer positions to recruit for to a vibrant and thriving community of volunteers who are enjoying their part in making an impact on Washington. I encourage you, parents, to take the time to say hello to the smiling faces that welcome you each weekend. Imagine what our check-in lines would look like if we didn’t have our Greeters? Actually, after last weekend, I don’t want to imagine that! I’m just thankful they’re here to check my family in each week.
As I said in my last blog entry, we now we have a new people management program called Fellowship One which originated with Fellowship Church in Texas that is more accurate, more secure, and enables us to serve you better.
Now for most of you attending, your only experience with Fellowship One has been the check-in component. Did I hear a few groans? Perhaps your experience has not been the best it could be. I was skeptical at first, too.
Then I had the privilege of seeing Fellowship Church in action. The church is comparable to us in the size of their children’s program. We arrived 10 minutes before service time to what appeared to be a ghost town. We honestly thought we’d gotten the services times wrong! But 5 minutes later…they came.
It was like the gun going off at the start of a race as a sudden onrush of people came flooding in the doors. Families lined up, Greeters checked them in, and off they went to escort their children to class. Literally 5 minutes later there was a quiet hush in the hall; the service started and not one family was left to check in. It was the most unbelievable sight I’d ever seen! If I had blinked I might have missed it.
I quickly ran up to the First-Time Families desk and asked how this could have possibly happened so fast. Was their software different? Were they skipping some of the steps needed to check kids in? How? They walked me through it step-by-step and it as exactly the same as what we do. So how did they do it?
The answer was pretty simple but yet has been our greatest challenge. The answer was…Greeters!
Stay tuned for more in Part 3!
Sorry to be so long absent from my blog. This fall has proven to be a very busy one! My team recently inherited management of the check-in stations on Sunday mornings and the adjustment has been a rough ride. I thought this would be a good opportunity to give you a peak behind-the-scenes of check-in and help you understand why we made such a big change in how we welcome you to your child’s classes each weekend.
Let’s start with a glance back at where we used to be. Across the church every ministry was using File Maker Pro as our database to manage information and attendance. I won’t lie to you; I absolutely loved File Maker Pro. It was easy to understand, customize, and manipulate. The problem? Every ministry had their own separate database. So if you moved, you couldn’t just change your address with one ministry. You had to contact them all! Can you imagine how annoying this was to people who moved out of the area?
There were many valiant efforts to unite the databases into one. But the lag time when you did searches was unbearable. Sometimes I would set my search parameters, go to lunch, and find the database still crunching data when I returned! So our IT Department began a new search, a search to find software that would meet our church’s rapidly growing attendance as well as being diverse enough in its functions to meet the customized needs of so many different ministries.
So now we have a new people management program called Fellowship One which originated with Fellowship Church in Texas. Not only has this program united every ministry’s information, there are a number of other benefits that has revolutionized how we handle your information. Bottom line: it’s more accurate, more secure, and enables us to serve you better.
Stay tuned for more in Part 2!