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New Check-In Procedures

This weekend at Trinity Church we are kicking off a totally new way of doing check-in for our Elementary students.  I’m a HUGE advocate of self check-in, and this plan has worked for our Elementary areas for a few years now.  Due to our building setup this is NOT a security check-in system, it is a attendance check-in system.  We do not do any kind of check-out, and still rely on small group leaders and other leaders to help identify parents and others that have business in our Children’s areas.

What’s different?

  • Families can check-in using a RFID key tag.  Each family is being given two key tags that they will then be able to use anytime they visit Kidsplace.  Previously we used name tags with magnetic stripes that kids “swiped” on a reader.
  • After check-in for each child, there will be a name badge printed for them next to the kiosks.  Previously we used hard plastic name tags that had to be returned each week to be used again the next week.  Can you say time-intensive?
  • All visitors are entered into our ARENA database program when they visit.  Using Family Registration, every visitor will be entered in, and subsequently checked-in to their appropriate location.  Previously we kept a running spreadsheet and didn’t enter a child until they had attended 3 times or more, and then we would create a permanent name tag for them.
  • Visitors will be able to check-in using their phone number on there very next visit to church.  No more visitor line for them!  Previously, they continued to visit this visitor line until they had attended for a few weeks and were moved to a  permanent  name tag.  I’m so excited to be able to give our first-timers a real special experience!

I’m real excited, and mildly concerned about how easy this will all pull off this weekend.  I can tell you that I’m gonna love the RFID name tags, as we no longer have to deal with barcodes or magnetic stripes at check-in!  Here is a short video that was distributed to parents this week to prepare them for the transition.  Now…fire away with those questions in the comment area!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Joe McAlpine · August 27, 2010

    Sounds like a great plan! Where did you end up buying the RFID tags and scanners? Just curious :)

    Thanks for sharing

    • Jonathan Cliff · August 28, 2010

      Let me collect all that information, and I promise I will get a post out soon about all of that. I know that I worked with companies that worked with other companies and then other companies…

  2. Rebekah · September 1, 2010

    is that module Fellowship One, The City?

  3. jonathan · September 1, 2010

    Nope. It’s ARENA ChMS

    • Molly · September 7, 2010

      We have the same security/attendance issue, due to the building set up. How do you guys handle the security aspect? Do folks enter AND exit through the stairwell?

      • Jonathan Cliff · September 7, 2010

        We have parents pick up kids from their small group location. Small Group Leaders then are trained to do a face and recognition check with each kid and each parent. We always remind parents upon registration, that if there are custody issues we need to know that up front so we can avoid that issue.

        It’s not perfect, and I hate it. But we are trying to make the most of a terrible building situation. And Lubbock is a pretty safe place…that helps.

        • Matthew McMaster · September 23, 2010

          So it doesn’t print a “claim check” or receipt for the parents to use to show the teacher when they pick the kids up? What do you do in the nursery/preschool area?

          • Jonathan Cliff · September 23, 2010

            No, we don’t use a claim check. I’ve learned over time, that only about 75% (give or take) would bring the claim check back. I think it’s a great idea in theory, but we decided to skip it in this stage. We are doing a new building in the next year, and we are designing it for a more secure check-out. At that time we will do a claim check.

            For EC, we’ve opted for a more personal check-in. We do it the old-fashioned way, with parents checking children in at the door with the teacher (or assistant). At those locations we do use a claim # ticket, and it has to be matched up to the kid when they retrieve. It just works better in EC and Nursery.