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We've worked with organizations during their initial set up of Checkpoint, and gathered feedback from others who have used Checkpoint for many years. Through these experiences, we've compiled a series of suggestions to help make your implementation of Checkpoint a success.
Keep the following in mind as you develop your plan:
- Review insurance and legal requirements that could affect your implementation.
- Ask for input and suggestions from staff members and lay leaders in the children's ministry area.
- Survey your existing facilities and determine if you need to make any changes.
- Consider hiring an ACS Implementation consultant. They'll visit your campus, help develop and implement your Checkpoint plan.
As you develop your plan, make sure it fits your budget and you can implement it in the expected time frame.
The key to implementing a successful security check-in is by training your ministry leaders, teachers, coordinators, and volunteers. Remember, security requires more effort and planning beyond what technology can supply. As you implement Checkpoint, make sure:
- Greeters are well-trained on children's ministry, including registration and check-in of equipment, classroom locations, centralized visitor location, volunteer and staff names, and your organization's emergency policy.
- Ministry leaders are trained how to use software tools to identify, qualify, and screen volunteers to match the right people with the right positions.
- Teachers and classroom volunteers understand drop-off and pick-up procedures, the use of security badges, and emergency procedures.
- Hall monitors, ushers, and parking lot attendants know what their specific roles are in case of an emergency.
- Volunteers understand and follow the established security protocols.
Once your child and youth ministries' security check-ins are in place, make sure to tell your congregation about it. Share how it works in the weekly bulletin, post it on your website, and encourage group leaders to share it with their small groups. You can even announce it from the pulpit. Continue to remind the congregation that child safety is at stake and worth any perceived inconveniences.
4) Conduct Test Runs
It's better to discover any problems with the check-in process before the crowd arrives on Sunday morning. Invite parents participate in some test runs during other times of the week.
You may find that some children have never been entered into your People database or they weren't added to the correct family. You might also discover duplicate records. It's best if these kinds of errors are corrected in ACS People before proceeding with Checkpoint setup. Then, meet with leaders and volunteers to get their feedback to resolve any issues. You may also want to meet with this same group after the first or second live runs. Your goal is to get everyone comfortable before Checkpoint is fully launched.
5) Implement in Stages
Another way to minimize problems and overcome obstacles is to implement Checkpoint in stages.
In phase 1, implement the check-in system for your infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. It's a good idea to start with this age group because they're the most vulnerable and their parents are the usually the most receptive to the need for a check-in system. Once you've implemented check-in for the youngest children in phase 1, move to the grade school kids in phase 2, and the youth in phase 3.
6) Plan for Future Growth
Once Checkpoint is in place, you must maintain it. This includes planning for printer and replacing other hardware items, and budgeting for labels and new check-in stations as your congregation grows.
As your congregation grows, plan for changes that will affect your people and processes. You'll likely need to adjust how you use Checkpoint based on how things change in your organization. This includes changes that may occur with systems and processes you have in place and how you train new volunteers. You'll also need to monitor your staff members, leaders, and volunteers to make sure the policies and procedures are followed.