Making your KidMin new family friendly: Idea #2
We love registration forms, yes we do. We love registration forms, how 'bout you? (cricket...cricket.) I imagine this is how things might play out if your "new family" registration desk had a cheer squad. Let's face it, registering new families is a necessary way of capturing important information, but nobody really loves the process. Not even the captain of the registration desk cheer squad. And it makes sense if you put yourself in the shoes of the new family. Imagine this: You're driving to a new church for the first time with a car full of kids full of questions. You make 4 wrong turns and enter through the church exit. You walk through the doors of the church 5 minutes after service begins. You immediately exit those doors (because they were the wrong doors, duh) and then enter through the right doors. Your nerves are frayed. All hope of being on time is dashed. Your new goal is to catch at least part of the last worship song, but first, you have to register your kids. YAY!! (sarcasm.) I know, I know...this is a pretty bleak portrayal of a first time visit, but it's not uncommon. And at the very best, the registration process for a new family is a speed bump en route to what they've ultimately come for, which is to experience the worship service. So how do you make the experience as pleasant as possible? Here are some thoughts. Cut the fat in the form. Does your new family registration form look like the IRS 1040? Do you really need to know their dog's next of kin? Probably not. Try this...look at the information you require from your new families and ask the question, what is actually necessary? Then trim the fat. Every additional piece of information takes additional time. And if you've got multiple kids, it can take quite awhile. Explain only what needs explaining. If your welcome speech includes something like, "Settle in, my friend, for the history of our children's ministry is long and detailed," you might be giving them too much information. They've got places to be. Try keeping it to this: Here's where you drop your kids off. Here's where you pick them up. Do you have any questions? I know there's a lot more info that you want to give them. I know you want to tell them all about your mission, vision and values, but that can be done at another time, in another way. (I'll talk more about that in a future blog post.) The one exception to this might be the nursery and toddler rooms. Parents of very young children might need to give/get a little more information in order to feel comfortable leaving their babies with you. It's 2 parts hospitality, 1 part administration. We often look for people with the gift of administration to run our registration desk. But do you know who we should be looking for? Someone with a warm smile and the gift of hospitality. Someone who makes new families feel good about leaving their kids with you. Let's be honest, running the registration desk doesn't require the highest level of administrative proficiency. Instead of looking for a numbers-cruncher, maybe try to find a people-person who's got some administrative sensibility too.
And if those ideas don't work, maybe give the registration desk cheer squad a try.