atticusewig wrote:But, since this is a tech list, here are some wildly crazy solutions:
Here's another crazy idea to add. I once heard about some other church that had something like three hundred children attending in its various broken up meeting schedules. Unlike our church they aren't broken up into definable "wards" so families would randomly attend any of the meetings if they sleep in or whatever was most convenient on any given week.
To keep track of which kids showed up, they made some sort of decorative fence around their seating area, with a gate all the children had to walk through to get there. Then they made up some laminated card with each kid's name on it, and came up with some sort of theme so the kids thought these tokens were somehow "cool". These were all hanging on a big board for the kids to go grab theirs and bring it with them into the class. Each one had their picture and something or other on the front, with a bar code on the back. A couple of adult leaders would stand at the gate and scan each kid's pass using a palm pilot with a build in bar code scanner as the kids went into where they would sit during each meeting.
These bar code scans would be downloaded into a database. They'd use it to flag changes in any given family's attendance level -- it would identify which families used to attend weekly that suddenly didn't show up in a few weeks. They'd send out reminder post cards in the mail "We've missed you in church recently...", etc. with some invitation to upcoming events. It would also identify which kids came to which categories of their extra activities and events beyond their regular weekly meetings.
I'm sure the same principal could be applied to adults in a much more obtrusive manner.