What's in this session?

  • What camera would you recommend for live streaming? (3:30)
  • My church has recently been having a bit of a debate on the number of lyrics on our slides for Sunday morning services. What do you recommend? (10:15)
  • How do you manage volunteers without micro managing? And how do you get them excited about what they are doing? (16:49)
  • What do you recommend for keeping track of church attendance? (25:39)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Today on the Ask Brady show, I recommend my four best live streaming cameras on a budget.
Well, hey there.

[00:00:30]
Roxanne:
Well, hey there.

Brady:
Welcome to the Ask Brady show. Great to have you back with us as we’re going to take four questions submitted by you, Pro Church Nation, and answer them. We’re here to help answer your questions, whatever they may be. Roxanne, to my left, your right. I am Brady.
The biggest news we have to share with you before we dive into the actual questions, and our little pre-banter here, is that Roxanne has new frames.

Roxanne:
I do.

Brady:
What is it called? What is that? What’s the word? It starts with a C?

Roxanne:
Tortoise shell?

[00:01:00]
Brady:
Hmm, all right then. Does not start with a C. Does ever it get called tort? Does it get short formed to tort?

Roxanne:
Tortoise shell is the pattern.

Brady:
I have glasses like that and I feel like there’s a different name for them.

Roxanne:
I guess it’s possible.

Brady:
Okay. Well, anything you want to say about your new glasses? I know all of Pro Church Nation, especially those that are watching. Those that are listening are less intrigued but those that are watching, their minds are blown.

[00:01:30]
Roxanne:
So interested.
I really like them and, if you notice, they have this blue reflection on them. It’s because I got the special computer coating that reflects the blue light, so I don’t get headaches.

Brady:
Really?

Roxanne:
Yep.

Brady:
The world of glasses is a fascinating one. It’s funny because I just watched the Seinfeld episode last night where George Castanza, he thinks that his glasses are stolen at the gym.

Roxanne:
Okay.

[00:02:00]
Brady:
You learn at the end of the episode that he’s an idiot and just put them on the top of his locker and forgot them. He loses them and he’s hunting down who stole his glasses, and then he finds a blind man and he’s like … What happens was he realizes he can’t find his glasses and he has to buy new ones.

Roxanne:
Yeah.

Brady:
He’s so blind when he buys them, that the man that sells them to him actually sells him ladies’ frames. Then what happens is he realizes he has ladies’ frames, when all of his friends say, “Hey, you’re wearing ladies’ frames.” Then he finds a blind man at the gym who is unhappy with his glasses because they pinch his nose. Then convinces the blind man to switch prescriptions with him.
Now that I say this plot out loud, it sounds even more ridiculous than I ever could have thought.

Roxanne:
Seems legit.

Brady:
The line is, “You gave me ladies’ frames.” That’s all I can think of.

Roxanne:
That is an actual problem. When I go glasses shopping, I have to go once, take photos of myself wearing all the glasses. Then go a second time and bring somebody else with me so that they can look at the glasses, because I can’t see them.

Brady:
Don’t they have new software now, like new tech that will show you what your glasses will look like on you?

[00:03:00]
Roxanne:
I think some of the online shops do, but I bought these at a local place.

Brady:
What’s that online shop that you were mentioning that totally changed the game?

Roxanne:
Warby Parker?

Brady:
Warby Parker, yes. What have they done? They brought high end glasses … I was going to say glasswear but that’s different. High end frames to the more consumer-level market?

Roxanne:
If you shop Clearly Contacts, or whatever that places is.

Brady:
Sure.

[00:03:30]
Roxanne:
Anyways, that place was one of the first shop online for your glasses place. Warby Parker is the cool shop online for your glasses place. They started a try-on program which, as far as I know, none of the others do.

Brady:
A try-on program. You know, I love try-on.

Roxanne:
So do I.

Brady:
It’s amazing. Okay, enough about your glasses, Roxanne. Goodness.

Roxanne:
Nobody cares, let’s be honest.

Brady:
Let’s dive into the first question.

Roxanne:
The first question comes from Owen, and he sent in a video.

[00:04:00]
Owen:
Hey Brady. First of all, just so you know, the Phoenix Coyotes are actually the Arizona Coyotes now, so it’s not just Minnesota that does it. Arizona names all their teams by the state too.
My actual question: A couple years ago you interviewed Brad Zimmerman and you guys talked about live streaming and stuff like that, and he gave a recommendation for a camera that’s pretty entry level and good for utilizing for live stream. I was just wondering if you had an update on that. We’re looking at budgeting, stuff like that. In or around the $1,000 mark, what camera do you recommend for live streaming? Thanks, Brady.

[00:04:30]
Brady:
Two things, Owen. No, three things, Owen. Number one, are you underwater? Where are you recording this video because it’s inaudible.
Number two, you asked a question about live streaming. Of course, we have to prioritize you, we have to put you to the front because you sent in a video question. I’m going to answer this, Owen, but know this. This is a resentful response.
Third, and most importantly, the Arizona Coyotes, really? Sure, I didn’t know that. You’re forgetting one very important thing, Owen, what’s the basketball team from the city of Phoenix in the state of Arizona, Roxanne? The Phoenix Suns. Owen, do you think that it didn’t cross my mind to check in with the teams in Arizona? How dare you Owen. The thought that you could just … The way he started his answer. “Look, Brady, I’m about to ask a question about live stream, which I know you hate, but aside from that, your sports knowledge, it’s lacking. Here’s why.” Okay, Owen.
Enough of that. Owen, love you. Just wanted to get that [inaudible 00:05:28]

[00:05:30]
Roxanne:
Poor guy. He’s like, “I’m never sending in another question.”

Brady:
I did actually do a ton of research for you on this answer, Owen. I think I’ve got some good stuff for you.
First of all, when you’re picking your camera for live streaming, what I have here are five things that you need to consider when it comes to which camera is going to be best for you. Obviously, the camera market is incredibly competitive in the narrative, and storytelling, and cinematic space. It is equally competitive in the live production space.
The first thing you need to consider is how far away your camera is going to be from your subject. The way that I’ve seen the gap has been measured is if you’re closer than 50 feet, where the camera is going to be on the tripod from your stage, versus if you’re further than 50 feet. That’s like a distinguishing length between which camera you should go to.
You also have to consider the zoom length. 10x, 20x, farther than that. The switcher compatibility. Is this going to be compatible with the type of switcher that you want? All of the cameras I’m about to share with you are compatible with the Blackmagic Atem switchers, which are really good industry, standard, affordable, that a lot of churches use.
Fourth, low-light performance. The image quality that the camera is actually going to be able to render. How dark is your auditorium? How dark is the stage? How much low-light performance are you going to need to be able to produce a good, quality image? Then, finally, LANC control, which has to do with the ability to zoom and focus wirelessly, not actually manually. You don’t want to do that, you want to be able to do that with the touch of a button. LANC control.
First of all, I’ve got four cameras for you here. The four that I’m about to mention all have LANC control and switcher compatibility with the Blackmagic Atem switchers. For further research, these recommendations come straight from Joel W. Smith’s site. We’ve got the links in the show notes on YouTube to both of the blog post articles that I’ve taken this from. You should also know Joel is a buddy of mine. He’s traveling right now but I’m going to get him back on the Pro Church podcast later this summer and we’re going to do an updated 2017 best live streaming gear for churches. This is just cameras. We’re going to do a full best gear for live streaming later.
Here are the four cameras I’ve got for you. They’re all Cannon cameras. There’s basically two series of Cannon cameras here. We’ve got the Cannon VIXIA series and the Cannon XA series. I’m going to go in order. The first one is the Cannon VIXIA G20. It’s going to cost about $800. It needs to be within 50 feet from your actual pastor or presenter on stage. You’ve got to be closer than 50 feet. It’s got a 10x zoom. The video quality is not going to be as great as the cameras later, but it’s also the cheapest camera on the list, only $800.
If you need to be further than 50 feet from the stage, so if your auditorium is a little bit bigger or you’ve got your sticks and the camera way in the back of the auditorium, further than 50 feet, you’re going to need to jump up, same VIXIA series of camera but from that G20 to the G40. The cost for this is going to be $1,100. It’s going to have a 20x zoom though, not a 10x. You’ll be able to be farther from the stage.
If you want better image quality, better low-light performance, a better processor, better actual sensor within the camera, you can bump up to the Cannon XA series. This series of cameras is one that I have been recommending for years. They’re like the entry level of Prosumer, you know? The mix, the hybrid of what’s professional and what’s consumer. It’s affordable but it’s still high quality. The Cannon XA10. Again, if you can be within 50 feet of the actual stage, and you can work with a 10x zoom, the Cannon XA10 runs $1,300.
If you need, again, to be beyond that 50 feet, you want to bump up to the Cannon XA30, which is $1,800. You’re going to get a better image quality. Again, if you want to be farther away from the stage, you’re going to have to pay more with that 20x zoom.

Roxanne:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

[00:09:30]
Brady:
Those are the four cameras that I would recommend. Of course, these change. I think Joel’s recommendations were updated as of late 2016. Obviously, we are mid-2017 at this point, which is why I’m going to bring Joel back on the actual podcast. He’s pretty good at updating his recommendations, so if they did need to be updated, I think he probably would have done it. Definitely check out his site. He’s a great resource for that. Again, those will be linked in the show notes on YouTube. JoelWSmith.com is his website.
Just to recap, Cannon VIXIA series G20, G40, and the Cannon XA series, XA10, XA30. The five things you need to consider: distance from the stage, low-light performance, switcher compatibility, LANC control, and the zoom that you will need, which kind of corresponds with the actual distance. There you go. Live streaming from Brady. Who would have thought it would have happened?

Roxanne:
It’s true.

Brady:
Props to you, Owen.

Roxanne:
All right, the next question comes from John. He also sent in a video.

[00:10:30]
John:
Hey, Brady. John Slater here. Thanks for having me on the show.
I’m the Worship and Creative Arts Pastor at Aurora Cornerstone Church in Aurora, Ontario, just north of Toronto. We’ve been recently having a bit of a debate on the number of lyrics on our slides for Sunday morning services. Originally, we were anywhere from four, to six, to eight lines. Classic, traditional, just throw it into Easy Worship and laugh. Over the last year or so, we’ve transitioned into using better software and all that kind of jazz, and gone down to about two lines of text per slide during songs.
Wondering if there’s any specific reasoning you can give me why that seems to work better or why churches, like Bethel, Hill Song, Elevation, use that method. Or, if there’s any credence to four to six lines. Anyways, any thoughts are great thoughts. Thanks so much for what you guys do. Hope to hear from you soon. Bye.

Brady:
I’m in a great mood to answer this question because not only was John’s audio pristine but he was wearing a Blue Jays hat. I love you, John. In fact, I played basketball, growing up, for the New Market Rep basketball team, the York Avengers. Which included both New Market and Aurora. A lot of the basketball practices that I had growing up were in the Aurora High School gymnasium.

Roxanne:
There you go.

Brady:
The Aurora connection. Also, Jonas, who’s behind the camera right now, his father is the newly appointed Lead Pastor of one of the churches at Aurora as well. The Aurora connection-

Jonas:
It’s John’s church.

Brady:
Oh, it’s John’s church?

Jonas:
Yeah.

Brady:
Does he know that?

Jonas:
I think so.

Brady:
Oh, John knows.

Jonas:
I think so.

Brady:
Oh, so there’s a real connection here.

Jonas:
Yeah.

Brady:
Interesting, okay. Well, there you go. Apparently there’s only one church in Aurora.
Okay, so this comes down to the basics of visual design and typography. When I was first beginning to write for Pro Church Tools, one of the things that I did was I went through this blogging course. In it, I was taught that when you’re blogging, when you’re writing articles that are going to be delivered online and, really, in print as well, what you want to do is you want to keep your paragraphs super short.
We all know that if you’ve ever landed on a page on a website where you’ve seen these giant paragraphs where there’s like 16, 20, 24 lines with no line breaks, with no paragraph breaks, it seems intimidating to read that. It’s not visually appealing or easy because it’s super scrunched together and it just doesn’t make it appealing. It’s like the difference between sitting down and watching a 60 minute lecture, versus watching a bunch of quick, two-minute videos that are broken up.
What you want to do, ideally, is make the actual visuals of your typography easily digestible, to use probably a poor metaphor. You want to make it nice and short. I like that two line thing. When it comes to the specifics of worship media and the visuals on your screen, it’s also important to recognize that most church songs nowadays are pretty slow.
You know, one of the common gripes, and John will get this as a worship pastor, is, “Why are there no good praise songs? Why are there no good, fast songs?” The point being, a lot of worship songs are slow. Even the fast ones, if you got four, six, eight lines on the screen, that could be like 20 seconds away. You might not be getting to that part of the song for another 30 seconds. That’s the end of the verse. That’s a long ways away.
Keeping just two lines on the screen allows you to really focus on the words that are being sung right here and now. When you’re worshiping, it’s a lot nicer to just be able to sit back and look at like one or two lines at a time. You can just focus on those lines, you can really dig deep and soak in those lyrics specifically. You start getting to four, six, eight lines and you’re just like reading an essay. You’re just trying to get to the chorus.
Hopefully, at least, if you can trust a CCM chorus, then it might be repetitive and say the same thing over and over again because this verse is like, “Man, I’ve got to read like a PhD doctoral statement here to get just to the chorus. That’s the reason. It just comes down to the laws of typography and visuals. Then, as it pertains specifically to worship music and church services, there’s no reason to put up those lines earlier than necessary, right?
The only reason would be it’s less work for the person that’s actually creating the slides. If you put an entire worship song on one slide, maybe you need 30 slides, or if it’s on two lines per slide, maybe you need 15. “Hey, if I put eight lines on a slide, I only have to create like four slides.” Which, yeah, I guess saves you some time, but it’s more difficult for the congregation to engage with because they’re trying to …
Have you ever been singing a song, Roxanne, and you lose your place? The change has been pretty drastic from overheads that had the entire song on one page to using something like Pro Presenter where you only need to put one or two lines on a full page. Like, overheads, I actually remember this. Overheads as a kid. We would have someone that wouldn’t only switch the overheads, but would put their finger on the line and then drag their finger along, so everyone knew where they were on the song. Remember, on a full page of an overhead, you’d have like verse 1, chorus, pre-chorus, verse 2, bridge. You’d have to keep jumping back and forth so you’d be like, “Okay, back to the chorus.” Drag your finger along the line, you know? Just so everyone would know where he cue was.
Of course, then, the backlash with that was,”That’s stupid,” obviously. “What if we put one song onto multiple overhead sheets?” Then you had the person that was doing the mad dash of changing the verse to the chorus. Then you put it on backwards, right? You’re like, “Oh no! This is backwards.”

Roxanne:
That is the worst.

Brady:
Got to flip it over, realign it.

Roxanne:
Yeah.

[00:16:00]
Brady:
Luckily, we’re beyond those days. It all comes down to appealing and just easy to read. You want to make things easy to read. The more lines that you put together, the more lines that you squish together into a single space … Yes, it’s less easy to read. Yes, it’s more daunting to look at, you’re more likely to lose your place. Also, it’s just not relevant to the space that you’re at in the actual song.

Roxanne:
That makes sense. At my church, we used paper on those overheads to mark the place. We’d like block off part of it with a paper.

Brady:
Paper. I remember that one too.

Roxanne:
It was a phase.

Brady:
Yeah, the paper. Classic.

[00:16:30]
Roxanne:
All right, question three comes from Taylor and he sent in a video.

Brady:
Look at all these video questions. Good job, Pro Church Nation. You know if you want your question prioritized, send in a video question and you’ll be put to the top of the queue.

Roxanne:
It’s true.

Brady:
Even if you insult my sports knowledge and ask questions about live streaming.

Taylor:
Hey Brady, I’ve got a two-part question. One is how do you manage volunteers without micromanaging? Also, how do you get them excited about what they are doing? Thanks.

[00:17:00]
Brady:
Okay, so to provide a little bit of context to Taylor’s question, he actually sent in a second video breakdown. It was three minutes, that we didn’t care to show that entire thing on the actual show, and he was gracious enough to send in a second one to provide context. The question being how do you manage volunteers without micromanaging. Also, how do you get people passionate about the job?
The thing that you didn’t hear is that all of the volunteers and people he’s trying to get excited are his grandparents, his parents, his aunts, his uncles, his brothers, his sisters, his godparents, his goddaughter, his godson. Okay, a little bit over the top.

Roxanne:
Little bit.

Brady:
Basically, this church is very much a family-run church. In all seriousness, there’s a reason why in organizational structures, nepotism is frowned upon. It brings into play all of these difficult situations.
With that being said, I have only hired family or friends at Pro Church Tools, so I’m not one to say that you should avoid nepotism. Obviously, you can’t in this situation. There’s a reason why there is a stigma that surrounds it. Especially when you bring in multiple family members. There’s that relationship that’s already pre-existing and the family dynamics that have been put in place through generational facts, or through the culture of the family.
Not only do you have someone who’s a parent or grandparent over you and the institutions of family that we have in North America already pre-exist there. Then you have your own unique family culture. There’s so many things that are difficult to navigate. We can’t separate the fact that Taylor is dealing with that, along with the fact of, “Oh, how do I manage? How do I get people excited about their jobs?”
The first thing that I would say that you need to do is when you’re leading from a position of being so much younger than everyone else is that you need to, more than anything, lead by example. You are not going to be given the benefit of the doubt of age, of experience, of longevity. What you need to do is lead by example, above all.
Let’s say it’s your grandparent. Let’s say he or she has been there for decades. They’re going to be given the benefit of the doubt just because they’ve been there forever. You’re not going to get that. You don’t have an established presence. You don’t have an established authority so you need to, for the next decade or two, probably two, always be the one who’s leading by example more than anyone else. You are leading from below. That’s really the only way to get around it. You need to be the most excited about your job. You need to be the most competent. You need to be the most gracious and hard-working. It’s the only option.
The second thing that you need to do, and this can be helpful, is that depending on the roles and the things that you’re overseeing, you can carve out your specific niche of expertise. Because we’re living through this huge communications shift, your parents and grandparents, they are going to automatically, likely and should defer to you when it comes to digital, online, social, video, podcasts, graphic design. These were things that they never had to worry about in the world of church a couple decades ago, right?
They’re not going to come up to you and be like, “Look, Taylor, I know more about social than you do.” “No, grandpa. You know nothing.” That is one thing where you can carve out that niche and hopefully, perhaps separate yourself from these dynamics of you being so much younger and being related. If you go to them and say, “Look, you need to preach differently,” you’re probably not going to get much in that way. “You should lead worship differently. You should organize the service differently.” These are things that they’ve been doing forever. They’re less likely to change. If you come in and try to lead from a place where they don’t have expertise, then there’s a little bit of separation between what they think they know and what you know.
The third thing that I would recommend to do is when it comes to inspiring volunteers, the best thing that I’ve always tried to do is tie autonomy and responsibility. What I mean by that is when you’re working with a volunteer, you don’t have the leverage of paying them to hold over them. For instance, if Alex, if Jonas, if Roxanne, the three people in this room, two behind the camera, one sitting next to me, if they don’t fulfill the responsibilities that I’ve given them, there’s a sense of, “Oh, I’m being paid for this. I obviously need to do this.”
If you’re a volunteer, it’s so easy for you to be like, “Planning Center? Decline. Planning Center? Decline. Oh, right, I was supposed to bring a little bit of … No.” There’s no expectation to go above and beyond because you’re a volunteer. Now, you can have a certain culture that will work against that and fight against that, but if you don’t, you also have to recognize that that is another thing that you have to compensate for.
The best way to do that that I’ve found is not just give them a task, not just say, “You are in charge of greeting.” To create some type of role where they are the owner of it, right? That’s the autonomy side. If you want them to be responsible, you need to give them a certain amount of ownership and autonomy. This is especially true with Millennials, but it’s true for everyone. If you give someone, and they’re in charge of it all to themselves … Maybe they have people underneath them but the buck stops with them, they have to be responsible for it because they’re in charge of it.
There’s this certain allure, for most people, to be in charge of something. Now, the key is that some people don’t want to be in charge of people, they don’t want the responsibility, that can seem a little bit daunting. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in charge of leadership and managing a team. All it means is they are the one that is in charge of (insert here). It could be as simple as setting up the chairs each week. It could be as simple as making sure the bulletins are folded. It could be as simple as updating the website each week. It could be as simple as making sure the sermon audio gets ripped from the video and then set up online for that week. Something that they are 100% in control of so that, if they don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
That way, even though they’re not being compensated financially, and so you can’t use that as leverage, what you can use is the allure of them being in charge. We all want to feel proud of what we do and when we’re in charge of something, it makes us feel like we were chosen for this task. We were chosen, above all else. We were the ones that could do this. Then it makes us want to rise to the occasion, Roxanne.

Roxanne:
It’s true.

Brady:
What are your thoughts on this? Someone who I delegate to all the time or someone who volunteers at church, what are your thoughts on this?

[00:23:30]
Roxanne:
I think one thing that I really liked about what you said is that you have to give them the opportunity to fail. I know that sucks and seems like the opposite of what you want but if they know you’re going to come behind them and fix their mistakes, or do it again anyways, it doesn’t matter what they do, they they aren’t going to give you their best and they aren’t going to put out the effort to get it done because they’re going to be like, “It doesn’t matter.” If you’re going to delegate, you have to actually give them permission, that it rests on them doing it. They have to have the opportunity to fail. Maybe that starts with something small and you raise the responsibility levels, but I think that’s definitely key.

Brady:
To summarize, Taylor, three things. Firstly, you’ve got to recognize that you’re fighting against nepotism and the fact that you are younger and the institutional structures of those that are older than us, elders go first, and all that. You’ve got to lead by example above and beyond everyone else. You’ve got to have more passion than the person next to you, more expertise, more hard work.
Secondly, try to carve out a niche that others don’t already have experience or expertise in. Then they’ll have to defer to your authority and your knowledge because they don’t have it. Third, tie responsibility with autonomy, okay? Those are my best three recommendations. Recognizing that this is very difficult to navigate. There’s no quick fix, there’s no tip or tactic like, “Oh, you’re using Papyrus? Use this font and your graphic will be sweet.” There’s no quick exchange when it comes to leadership, and family dynamics, and getting volunteers excited, and making sure people come through. It’s tough.
I mean, I’m trying to figure this out now. We’ve got eight people, all of which who are my peers. We have friendships that were pre-existing before hiring. How do I get people? You know, I look over and someone’s on YouTube and I’m like, “Maybe it’s their lunch, or maybe they’re just a jerk, or maybe it’s okay, or maybe this is the culture I’ve created. I mean, the buck stops with me. If I’ve empowered them to not work hard, that’s my fault.”
I’m dealing with this as well, Taylor. As a young leader, it’s not easy, but it can be done. Hopefully those recommendations are helpful in some way.

Roxanne:
All right, last question comes from Hunter. He says, “My church asks for members to check in when they arrive or when they watch online. The objective here is to check on people who haven’t been coming in a while and make sure they’re okay. Would you recommend a certain way of keeping track of who shows up, or just count how many people attend each service?”

[00:26:00]
Brady:
I’m so glad that Hunter sent in this question because I had a lot of fun doing some research on this and figuring out how do churches track attendance? What is the norm? I know how the churches that I’ve attended have done it but how do other churches do it? How does that work?
Let’s start with a little bit of history about how attendance used to be tracked. The way that we track attendance now is we will give our churches numbers based on weekly service attendance. The way that it used to be done is through membership. We never used to have the problem of knowing how to track attendance because tracking membership was super easy. You’d have membership confirmation, application. You’d know exactly how many people were “members” of your church because it was actually in writing and done through an application confirmation process.
The way that culture has shifted over the last couple of decades, we attend church so much more infrequently now … Which I should say, we attend it much more infrequently. It’s infrequent. It is more-

Roxanne:
We go less.

Brady:
No one goes to church!
It happens about, on average, for most churches, every other week, right? Tracking attendance is very difficult and I have literally, as a 26 year old, never been an official member of a church. Have you?

Roxanne:
I had to to volunteer, so at my last church I was.

Brady:
At your last church?

Roxanne:
Yeah.

Brady:
What type of church was that?

Roxanne:
Pentecostal.

Brady:
Oh, it was Pentecostal?

Roxanne:
Yeah.

Brady:
For some reason I thought it was more mainline or something a little bit different.

Roxanne:
When I was in Alliston.

Brady:
Oh. Okay, okay, cool.

Roxanne:
Yeah.

[00:27:30]
Brady:
I have never been … Jonas, have you ever been a member of a church? No. Alex? Alex is a pastor’s kid and is on staff at a church, so the fact that he’s not a member shows you that membership is meaningless nowadays.

Roxanne:
That’s true.

Brady:
Not entirely. That’s a bit sensational to say that. Membership is not a good way to track attendance anymore, obviously.
I’ve got five different ways to capture attendance for your church. Obviously, the one that Hunter mentioned, he said that in his question, so we’ll just move on from that. Option number one that I have, this is the way that my church plants that I’ve worked at have done. I’m no longer at a church plant. The last two churches I served at in college, when I was living in a different part of the country, were both startup churches. Less than 100 or 200. We had ushers or greeters actually do headcounts. Of course, there are debates on, “Should you count kids? Should you count volunteers?” However you want to do the count is up to you. That’s like the most basic method. You look in service, you count. Simple.
Option number two, clipboards passed down the row. Roxanne and I know this very well because the church that we grew up in, as well as Jonas in youth group, did the friendship register. At the far right of the row would be the friendship registering. Doing your announcements you’d be like, “If you’re at the far end of the row, if you could just pick up your friendship register and fill out the information and pass it to the person next to you.” Of course, this opens up the opportunity and, really, inevitability of every young person putting in absolutely ridiculous things into the friendship register. I don’t know if I ever filled that out actually. It was always made up names, made up addresses, made up phone numbers. Do you remember anything that you specifically put into the friendship register that was obscene?

[00:29:00]
Roxanne:
No, but I do remember when I had to start checking the box, because they had a “25 or Above” box, like for your age. I was like, “This is the worst day of my life.”

Brady:
A weekly reminder that you’re old and it’s over.

Roxanne:
Exactly.

Brady:
That’s a second option.
Third option, and this is an interesting one, count the cars in the parking lot and use a proven multiplier. For instance, if you don’t want to track the attendance each week by counting heads, you could do that for let’s say a month, count actually, manually the people in your church for a month. Then, each week, also count the number of cars. Do this for a month. Then what you can do is you can divide the number of people by the number of cars and get a multiplier.
For instance, it could be lik 2.1 or, if your church is full of families, maybe it’s closer to three. Get a proven multiplier that you track over a month and then, instead of counting heads every single week, you can just count cars. Which should be easier because the cars will be out in the middle of the day, you can actually go through the rows, which you would not want to do … You know, it’s hard when you’re in the back of the auditorium and you’re counting. Maybe the lighting on the stage is on but there’s no houselights on and you’re like, “Is that one person or seven? I can’t tell from this far away.”

Roxanne:
Lose your spot, have to start over.

Brady:
Oh my gosh, yeah. Lose your spot. “One, two, three, four, five, Oh! One, two, three, four, five.”
Counting cars with a proven multiplier that’s custom to your church would be another fun way.
Option number four that we see churches doing this, when new visitors come in, every church is like, “Fill out a connect card.” A lot of churches will ask everyone every single week to fill out a connect card. Similar to the friendship register, but instead of passing it down the row, every single person fills out a connect card. You can put in a prayer request. There’s a side for visitors, there’s a side for existing members. That’s another way.
The fifth and final way, this is a really cool way. Before I get into the fifth and final way, which I’m going to recommend as the super cool, forward-thinking way of doing things, is don’t do friendship registers and don’t do connect cards. Do not ask your existing members to fill out something every single week. This is the lazy approach in 2017. You don’t want to count cars and put in the work to find a proven multiplier, you don’t want to have your ushers and greeters count heads one by one, so you force your congregation to do it for you. It is lazy and it’s not accurate.

Roxanne:
No, I know so many times when I’ve sat in a row back home. The friendship register would reach me and it already passed like five people and there’d be like one name on there. It was like, “These people are not filling it out.”

[00:31:30]
Brady:
I had one goal with the friendship register, don’t fill it out, fill it out incorrectly, make up a fake name. Don’t use the friendship register.

Roxanne:
No.

Brady:
Okay, the fifth and final way. There is a tech service, SenSource is the name, and it’ll be linked in the YouTube show notes, I don’t know the exact … I think it’s like SenSourceInc.com is their URL. Something like that.
Basically, what they have are these infrared video scanners that you can put at the entrances and exits of your church. What they will do is they will track how many people are walking through the doors, and the sensors are sophisticated enough to know when people are coming in versus when people are leaving, so they won’t duplicate a count of someone playing … Again, if I’m going to screw up the friendship register, maybe teenage Brady is also going to walk in, walk out, walk in, walk out. The sensors are smart enough for that. They’re not going to get tricked.
One thing that you could do, and this was actually from an article, again, that I found online that we’ll link in the show notes. This is a case study of an actual church. They were a church of about 2,500. They set up the scanners at their two main entrances and exits. What they did was they set the timer for 15 minutes before service and 40 minutes after service began. That was the window of when the infrared scanners were counting people. 15 minutes before service, doors open and they start counting. 40 minutes after service ends, because nobody comes to church on time, which just goes to show you … I love that case study. 15 minutes before service, 40 minutes after service begins. Not like 30 before, 30 after.

Roxanne:
No, no.

Brady:
It’s like basically, “All right, 30 seconds before service begins, right before the altar call. That’s when we’re measuring attendance.”

Roxanne:
Yeah.

[00:33:00]
Brady:
This was a church of about 2,500. Their main sanctuary, two doors that they have the infrared scanners on. I think it cost them about $4,000 to set this up but what it gave them was a precise attendance tracker every single week. That’s another option.
To recap on the five different options, number one, count yourself, manually, “One, two, three.” Start again, you lost your count. Number two, clipboards passed down the row. Don’t do it. Number three, count the cars in the parking lot using a proven multiplier that you’ve figured out by spending a month of counting the actual people, dividing by the actual amount of cars. Number four, connect card filled out weekly. Heck no, don’t do that. Number five, tech, infrared scanners from a company like SenSource. Costly, let’s say $5,000 to set up. Maybe you’re a smaller church, can maybe get a little bit of a discount, but accurate for sure.
I’m really glad Hunter asked that question because I had fun researching it and looking into it.

Roxanne:
Yeah. I didn’t know, when I got that question by email, I was like, “I don’t even know how they know who comes to church.”

[00:34:00]
Brady:
Hopefully that’s helpful to Hunter. That does it for this episode of Ask Brady. Four questions up, four questions down. Of course, if you want your question answered, #AskBrady on Instagram and Twitter, in the comments below on Facebook, in YouTube with the #AskBrady. Video questions are prioritized so if you send in a video question, make sure you do that because you’ll get prioritized.

Roxanne:
True.

Brady:
Sent to the top of the queue. We had three video questions this week, which is always fun. A big shout out to Owen for being the scapegoat for this episode. Owen, I love you. Obviously, sports just gets me riled up. It’s nothing personal.

Roxanne:
That’s true.

Brady:
We love you, Owen. Thanks for being willing to sit through that.
Anything else?

Roxanne:
No, I think that’s it.

Brady:
All right, that does it for this week. Pro Church Nation, we love you so, so much.
Oh, one thing. If you are listening to the podcast, this week was the first week that we published the first edition of the Pro Church Podcast coaching edition, which is something that we kind of started on a whim. I’ve now recorded, I think, seven episodes so far. Every single one of them has been amazing. You know, it’s one thing for me and Roxanne to sit up here on our high horses, our high Canadian horses, staring down at you and being like, “This is what you should do.” There’s another thing, getting on a call with an actual church and hearing their real problems, and doing real-time coaching.
The first episode went live on Thursday, so yesterday, or two days ago, depending on when you’re watching this. Thursday of this week, ProChurchPodcast.com is where to find it. It’s audio only, but it’s a great listen. About an hour. We’re going to publish a new coaching edition of the Pro Church Podcast every Thursday going forward. Listen for those. If you like Ask Brady, you’ll love that.

Roxanne:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brady:
Awesome. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next time.

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