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Statistician’s guide to member management

Church Social Concepts

Automatic member statistics

  • Church Social automatically generates detailed membership statistics.
  • The statistics are largely based on the following dates:
    • Birth dates
    • Death dates
    • Baptism dates
    • Profession dates
    • Marriages start and end dates
    • Membership start and end dates
  • It’s important to remember that these statistics will only be as accurate as your data.

Choosing a start date

  • You will want to choose a date where your statistics officially start within the Church Social software.
  • For example, you may want to select January 1st of the current year as your start date.
  • You could, however, go back much earlier if you wanted—you will just have more data entry to do.
  • Important: Be sure to enter all historical member data from your start date on, otherwise your stats will be inaccurate.
  • For example, if your start date is January 1st, and today is June 1st, and a member left your congregation on March 1st, you may be inclined to not enter their information. However, for your statistics to be accurate you must still enter this member’s information.

Managing Members

Contact information

  • Contact information is assigned at the member level.
  • Important: The address and home phone fields only have to be assigned for the primary family member. You do not need to duplicate this information for each family member.
  • This allows one family member to have a different address or phone number than the rest of the family.
    • Helpful in a situation where a son or daughter has gone to college, but is still a member of the congregation.
  • The email, work phone and mobile phone fields are always specific to one member, and are not shared like the home phone or address fields.

Email addresses

  • Important: All members must have their own email address. Church Social will not allow two members to share the same email address.
  • This is because the email address functions as a member’s username when they log into Church Social.
  • Further, it is recommended that family members do not share accounts. This is because different family members may have different permissions within Church Social. For example, a father may be an elder, and would then have additional access to more sensitive information within the software.
  • A member can always register a free email address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) to get around this restriction.

Milestones (baptisms and professions)

  • The software has the ability to define two milestones for a member: their baptism and their profession of faith.
  • The baptism and profession dates are not required, but are recommended for use in the member statistics.
  • It is also possible to set which church these milestones occurred at.

Parents

  • Parents are assigned at the member level.
  • Parents do not have to be in the same family as their children. For example, a member’s parents may be listed as a separate family—think of the parents of a married couple. This is just added membership information that may be valuable to know.
  • It’s helpful to think of parents not only in the context of children, but also as parents of adults.
  • By setting a member’s parents, the software can make an office bearer aware of an important date, like the death of a parent, for a member in their ward.

Marriages

  • Each member can have one or more marriage records.
  • Similar to memberships, a member is only considered married if they have a marriage record added to their profile.
  • A marriage Status must be set to Active in order for the family name to include both the husband and wife’s name.
  • The marriage Start Date and End Date fields are not required, but be aware that without this data your marriages statistics will not be as accurate.
  • Multiple marriage records are possible for members who are divorced, or their previous spouse passed away.
  • A member record must exist in the software for the spouse. If the spouse is not a member of the congregation you can create an “non-member” record for them. This record will not be visible in the church photo directory. Please see non-member records for more details.

Memberships

  • Important: A person is only considered a member if a membership record has been added to their profile.
  • A person without a membership record is considered an “non-member”, and they will not appear in the church photo directory.
  • Each member can have one or more membership records. Multiple membership records are possible for situations where a member leaves the congregation and then returns at a later date. Instead of creating a whole new record for that member, simply create a new membership period in their existing member record.
  • There are two types of memberships: “Member” and “Regular Guest”. The “Regular Guest” option enables you to add that person to the church photo directory, without their information affecting the church membership statistics.
  • Membership periods cannot overlap other membership periods. There can only be one active membership for a member at any point.

Online access

  • Give someone access to the your congregation’s online member portal by setting the Enable online access to Yes in their account.
  • By default all new accounts have online access disabled.
  • Important: A person can have access to the software even if they don’t have an active membership. While these are rare situations, it is possible, and can be handy.
  • When you “end date” a membership (they leave the congregation) it is highly recommended that you also disable their online access.

Deceased members

  • Deceased members should not be removed from the software. This is for two main reason:
    1. If the deceased person was a member, their membership record is necessary to maintain accurate statistical information.
    2. By having a record of the deceased member the software will be aware of important dates - like the date of the death of a child, spouse, or parent. When used in conjunction with a marriage record, the software can even be aware of a marriage anniversary for a previous marriage. Think of an elderly member who's spouse passed away.

Non-member records

  • Periodically you may want to enter non-members in your church database. This may be for a member with a spouse who does not attend church, or even a deceased family member.
  • By adding these non-members to your church database you are able to:
    1. Keep a record of who they are, their contact information, when they may have passed away, etc.
    2. Make this information available to office bearers.
  • To add a non-member record, simply add a new member, but do not add any membership records to their profile. This way they’ll remain in your database as non-members.
  • For office bearers to view this non-member’s information in the member photo directory, you must still add this member to a family. This non-member will only be visible to office bearers.
  • If appropriate, you may even grant this member login privileges.

Managing Families

General

  • The primary function of families in Church Social is to group members together to be displayed in the member photo directory.
  • When you remove a member from a family, it does not delete their member record. It simply removes them from that particular family “group”.
  • When entering data into Church Social, you must first create the member records, then the family records.
  • Members with different last names can exist in one family—helpful for foster children, or even a spouse with different last name.
  • Since wards are assigned at the family level, all family members must be in the same ward. If a family member belongs in a different ward—a new family record should be created for them.
  • If a family is uncomfortable with their information being shared online (in the photo directory) you can remove them by setting the Display family online to No.

Primary family members

  • Each family must have a primary family member.
  • The first step in creating a new family is selecting the primary family member.
  • A member’s relation to the primary member determines their role within the family (ie. spouse, child).
  • Important: The primary family member must be an “active” member in order for that family to appear in the photo directory.
  • The family’s last name is the primary family member’s last name.
  • If the primary family member has an active marriage, and that spouse has been added to that family, then the spouse’s name will be included in the full family name.

Managing Wards & Office Bearers

Wards

  • A church can have a maximum of 25 wards. This can be set using the Number of wards setting. If more are required please contact us.
  • Important: When reducing the number of wards in your congregation, be aware that families in old wards will have to be reassigned to a new ward.
  • Ward functionality can be disabled for your congregation by setting Number of wards to None.

Office Bearers

  • You are able to assign as many office bearers to a ward as required.
  • Office bearers do not have to be assigned to a ward. This is helpful for pastors.
  • Important: By making a member an office bearer, they are automatically granted access to more sensitive member information. This includes:
    • Birth names
    • Contact information
    • Baptism status, date and church
    • Profession date and church
    • Mother & Father
    • Marriage history
    • Membership history