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Introducing the Children's Ministry

The City’s children's ministry helps your church connect with the parents of each child you care for. Event check-in is just one component of this integrated system that enables more effective connection of your church community and better communication from ministry leaders to staff, volunteers, and parents.

What You'll Need

You must have the following things to correctly implement the children's ministry module.

Administrative Access

Administrative access is necessary on your computer and on The City.

On the computer: First, to install the software, you need to have administrative privileges on the computers themselves.

On The City: Next, you need to have  group admin and resource admin rights in The City. Similarly you must know your City's kiosk user name and password, which are the same for your connect kiosk. Contact your account administrator to get this.

Hardware

You must have some hardware in place before you can fully set up your children's ministry. The City’s children’s ministry is optimized for integration specifically with the following products.

Item

Model

Notes

Computers

N/A

At least two kiosk computers and one non-kiosk, administrative computer should be used.

Barcode Scanners
(choose one)

 

Label Printers

Also get size #30256 shipping labels

Touchscreen Monitor
 
(optional) 

 

 

Children's Ministry Check-In App

If you want to use the Children's Ministry Check-In app, you must have the following: 

  • The Children's Ministry Module 
  • An iPad, iPad Mini, or iPad Air with iOS 8.0 or later
  • A Brother QL710W or QL720NW wireless label printer

Software

There are a couple of pieces of software you need for all the features of children's ministry check-in to work.

  1. Mozilla Firefox is the only browser completely compatible with the check-in kiosk. This is because you must use the JS Print Setup add-on for your labels to automatically print each time a child is checked in.
  2. Whichever printer you choose, driver software must be installed on all computers. Refer to the printer's manual for installation instructions.


If all these things are in place, you're ready to start setting up your children's ministry!

Implementation Timeline

Following this plan will help prepare your staff, volunteers, and parents for the transition, and make your roll-out a successful one for all parties involved. Though the order of operations is flexible and should be adapted to best suit your congregation, the following breakdown is most effective for the average church.

Things to Remember

This timeline refers only to the launch of your children’s ministry module, not The City as a whole. For the success of both launches, we recommend allowing at least three weeks between the time you launch The City and the children’s ministry at your church.

4 Weeks to Launch

  Read the Implementation Guide
  Order all kiosk hardware

3 Weeks to Launch

  Create children's ministry group structure
  Configure kiosk settings
  Announce transition to ministry staff and volunteers
  Invite staff and volunteers to appropriate groups and assign admin/leader roles
  Announce transition to parents
  Post signs in children's ministry area and hand out flyers to parents

2 Weeks to Launch

  Create a test check-in event
  Install and test kiosk hardware
  Train staff and volunteers on test event
  Send reminder communication to parents
  Post signs in children's ministry area and hand out flyers to parents
  Set up pre-registration kiosks and encourage parents to pre-register

1 Week to Launch

  Create live check-in events for launch day
  Conduct dress rehearsal with representative sample of families
  Send reminder communication to parents
  Post signs in children's ministry area and hand out flyers to parents
  Set up pre-registration kiosks and encourage parents to pre-register

Children's Ministry Setup

There's a certain amount of setup needed before you can use the children's ministry module. This process can be broken into five tasks.

Building a Group Structure

Children’s ministry in The City relies on a group structure that enables you to connect parents, coordinate staff and volunteers, manage check-in events, and communicate with everyone all in one place. In order for all aspects of children's check-in to work, it's critical to properly build your group structure.

Structural Overview

A successful structure begins with the creation of a check-in group beneath your campus or church group. Then, beneath the check-in group is a classroom group for each class children can be checked in to.

The Basic Structure

  Who's in the check-in group?

  • Children's ministry director (Role: leader)
  • Lead volunteers (Role: manager)
  • Parents (Role: participant)

What's it for?

  • Communicating between leaders and parents
  • Building community among parents
  • Creating check-in events

Who's in the classroom groups?

  • Classroom teachers (Role: leader)
  • Classroom volunteers (Role: manager/volunteer)
  • Parents of kids in the class (Role: participant)

What's it for?

  • Communicating to class volunteers
  • Scheduling volunteers for check-in events
  • Interacting between leaders and parents
  • Building community among parents

Important!

Create only one group structure per campus group, organized according to the age groups you use during your normal Sunday services. The City's children's ministry module is not currently optimized to handle multiple ministry programs, like normal Sunday services  plus  midweek children's programs.

Building Each Group

Creating the groups for this structure works just like creating any other groups. You must:

  • Select Check-In as the group type for the parent group and Service as the type for the child group.
  • Ensure that the check-in group's parent group is your church or campus group.
  • Ensure that the parent group of all the service groups is the check-in group.

 

 To create a new group
  1. In the admin panel, expand the Admin menu.
  2. Select Groups.
  3. Click + Create a New Group.
  4. Enter a Group Name.
  5. In the Group Type drop-down, select the right type for this group.
  6. In the Parent Group drop-down, select the group you'd like to make this a child of.
  7. In the Group Leader field, begin typing the name of the person you want to become the leader and select them from the list of users.
  8. Click Create.

 

If you don't see check-in as a group type option, your children's ministry module is not activated. Please submit a help ticket, and our support team will correct that.

After you create each group, add their descriptions on the Basic Settings panel and configure their advanced settings.

Inviting Leaders to Their Groups

Next, add your key children’s ministry administrators or lead volunteers to the appropriate groups and assign them the appropriate roles. Anyone you make leader or manager in the check-in group has access the children's ministry admin panel.

 

 To invite someone to join a group
  1. In the admin panel, expand the Admin menu.
  2. Click Groups.
  3. Using either the Tree View or the Search for a group field, find the group you want to edit.
  4. Click Add Participants.
  5. Enter the name or email of the person you want to invite.
    • If it's someone already in your City, begin entering their name, and then select them from the drop-down list.
    • If it's someone not yet in your City, enter their email address.
  6. Click Send Invite.
  7. Repeat steps 1-5 for as many people as you want to invite.

 

Once you create your groups and invite your volunteers to them, ensure the group tree order is correct and is based on the arrangement of your children's ministry. You can rearrange the groups accordingly.

Installing Hardware and Software

Unlike other City features and modules that are self-contained, existing solely online, the children's ministry module is integrated with the real world. It requires additional hardware and software to make the check-in kiosk possible.

Hardware Installation 

First, you need to install the hardware that operates the check-in kiosks. Which installation process you use depends on which items you purchased. Follow the instructions below for your scanner and printer.

 

 To install either model of barcode scanner on a PC or Mac

Because the recommended scanners function as keyboards, there is very little installation work involved. Just plug the scanner into an available USB port on your kiosk computer.

If you are not using one of the recommended scanners, please follow the manufacturer's setup instructions.

 To install the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo or Twin Turbo on a Windows machine
  1. Download the printer driver for the appropriate printer: 450 Turbo or 450 Twin Turbo. The drivers are located on the Software tab.
  2. Install the driver on your computer.
  3. Once installation is complete, plug in the printer. On a PC, it's important to install the driver before you connect the printer.
  4. Set the label printer as the default printer for that computer.
 To install the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo or Twin Turbo on a Mac
  1. Download the printer driver for the appropriate printer: 450 Turbo or 450 Twin Turbo. The drivers are located on the Software tab.
  2. Plug the printer in to your computer. On a Mac, it's important to connect the printer before you install the driver.
  3. Install the driver on your computer.
  4. Set the label printer as the default printer for that computer.

 

For Brother Wireless Printer set up instructions, click here.

Software Installation

To go along with the hardware you've just installed, you must install the JS Print Setup software. This Firefox add-on allows The City to automatically print name tags and parent receipts without having to open a printer dialog box. You first must have the latest version of Firefox installed on your kiosk computers. This is important, as Firefox is the only browser that supports the JS Print Add-On.

 

 To install JS Print Setup
  1. Open Firefox.
  2. In the Tools menu, select Add-Ons.
  3. In the Search all add-ons field in the upper right, type JS Print Setup and press Enter.
  4. JS Print Setup should appear at the top of the list. Click Install.
  5. When the add-on finishes downloading, click Restart Now to restart Firefox and finish the installation.


Once JS Print is installed, set up your computer to print to the right paper size and send jobs to the correct printer.

 

Change Paper Size in Firefox

 To change your Firefox paper size on Mac
  1. In Firefox, open the File menu.
  2. Select Page Setup.
  3. In the Format for menu, select the name of your label printer.
  4. Of the Paper Size options, select 30256 Shipping.
  5. Click OK.
 To change your Firefox paper size in Windows
  1. In Firefox, click File, then click Print.
  2. Click Properties, then click Advanced.
  3. Under Paper/Output, click Paper Size.
  4. Select the 30256 shipping label.
  5. Click OK.

You must also change the paper size in the Windows operating system to the same settings. To do this, see the section below.

Change Paper Size in Your Operating System

Sometimes it's necessary to configure these preferences through the computer's control panel as well. If setting the size in Firefox doesn't work, try one of the options below.

 To change your paper size in Windows
  1. Click Start and select Devices and Printers.
  2. Choose the label printer as your default.
  3. Right-click the icon for the label printer and select Printing Preferences.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Under Paper/Output, click Paper Size.
  6. Select the 30256 shipping label.
 To change your paper size in OS X
  1. Click the apple on the toolbar and go to System Preferences.
  2. Select Print and Scan.
  3. Choose the label printer as your default.
  4. From the Default paper size drop-down, select the 30256 shipping label.
 To print labels with the Dymo 450 Turbo
  1.  Ensure that you have met the other system requirements for a printing badges on a Mac.
  2. In Firefox, click File, then Page Setup.
  3. Click the Format For drop down list and select Dymo 450 Turbo.
  4. Click the Paper Size drop down list and select Manage Custom Sizes
  5. Click + to add a new name. It will default to "Untitled".
  6. Click the name and change it to 30256.
  7. Set the Paper Size to 2.25 inches in width, 4 inches in height, and click OK.
  8. Make sure the Orientation is portrait and click OK.
  9. Open the System Preferences page on your Mac and select Printer & Scanners.
  10. If the Dymo 450 is not selected as the default printer, make it so.
  11. Select the Dymo 450 and, for Default Paper Size, select the 30256 option that you just created. The new option might not show up immediately or require a system restart in order to refresh the list.

 

For Brother Wireless Printer set up instructions, click here.

 

Children's Ministry iPad App

The Children's Ministry Check-In app is free to download and use with The City's Children's Ministry Module. This app provides a more flexible check-in experience by allowing volunteers to check in families using an iPad. Click here for more information on how to set up the Children's Ministry Check-In app.

Configuring Kiosk Settings

You now have group structure, hardware, and software set up. It's time to get things in your children's ministry admin panel prepared as well. These settings control several functions that play vital roles in a successful check-in.

Children's Ministry Admin Panel

There are two ways to get to the children's ministry admin panel. The easiest way to access it is by entering yourchurch.onthecity.org/childrens/admin in your browser's address bar and pressing Enter.

On the children's ministry check-in kiosk, there is a hidden link in the upper-right of every page. Hover your cursor around the area, and click it to display a list of all your administrative options. In the menu, select Kiosk Options >> then Switch to Admin, and log in.

Classroom Age-Assignments

One of the administrative tools lets you determine what classes children should be automatically added to, depending on their age. Unless you lump all of your children into one room each Sunday, this is very important for every check-in.

 

 To set age ranges on your classroom groups
  1. Go to the Children's Ministry admin panel.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. On the Group Assignments panel, select the Youngest and Oldest age for kids placed in the first group on the list.
  4. Repeat step 3 for all groups.
  5. When all your age ranges are correct, click Save.

 

When this is set properly, there is no work for a parent or volunteer to do when checking a child in. At check-in, the system automatically adds them to the correct group for their age.

Print Settings

There are two settings to customize here: one that sets the ministry name that appears on all your name tags, and another that toggles the printer dialog-box on or off when printing each label.

 

 To configure the check-in print settings
  1. Go to the children's ministry admin panel.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Select Name & Print Setup.
  4. In the Children's Ministry name field, enter the name of your children's ministry.
  5. Select the Auto Print check box. Though this is not required, it is highly recommended, as it will increase the speed and simplicity of your parents' check-in experience.
  6. Click Update.

 

Sunday Morning Parent Alerts

An important factor in any children's ministry is how you contact parents when their children need them. The City's children's ministry module helps with this too. All you need to do is set which contact method to use.

 

 To choose a parent alert
  1. Go into the children's ministry admin panel.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Parent Alerts.
  4. Select the type of parent alert you'd like to use: Manual ID, Callboard (3 digit), Callboard (4 digit), Callboard (5 digit), or Pagers.
  5. Click Update.


To help you make the appropriate choice for your ministry's parent alert, here's a bit more information on what each setting does:

Manual ID: Choose this option if you locate parents physically when their child needs them during an event. When parents check in their children, a unique identifier is assigned for each child. This unique identifier displays on the child's name tag, the parent's check-in receipt, and the child's information screen. It's strictly used for checkout verification.

Callboard (3 digit), (4 digit), or (5 digit): Choose one of these options if you use a 3-digit, 4-digit, or 5-digit callboard to alert parents when their child needs them during an event. When parents check in their children, a unique identifier is assigned for each child checked in. This unique identifier displays on the child's name tag, the parent's check-in receipt, and the child's information screen.

Pagers: Select this option if you use pagers to alert parents when their child needs them during an event. If this option is selected, parents are prompted to take a pager and enter its number during the check-in process. This number displays on the child's name tag and the child's information screen, but there is no parent receipt because the pager replaces it.

 

End-of-Day Communication Template

After check-out, you can send a communication to all the parents who checked their children in that week. The purpose of this message is to welcome first-time parents, sum up the day's activities, and invite non-City parents to create accounts and get connected. Though the day's summary has to be rewritten each week to reflect what happened that day, the welcome and invitation portions can be written once, and set as templates.

 

 To add a communication template
  1. Go to the children's ministry admin panel.
  2. Click Communicate.
  3. Under Welcome Message, click Edit.
  4. Enter a title and a message to greet new parents who checked in their kids for the first time.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Under Invitation, click Edit.
  7. Enter a title and a message to invite non-City parents to create an account and join The City.
  8. Click Save.

 

Write your template messages once, save them, and save yourself a lot of time.

Creating a Resource

Resources enable you to create a list of all the rooms that are available for classes. Then, as  check-in events are created, individual classroom leaders can claim those rooms for their classes, and administrators can view how full rooms are getting as kids are checked in.

Things to Remember

This step is completely optional, depending on what is most useful for your particular ministry. Resources are not a required, or even integral, part of a successful check-in.

You make resources in the regular admin panel, under the admin menu's Resources option.

 

 To create a new resource
  1. Expand the Admin menu and select Resources.
  2. Click + Create New Resource.
  3. Enter a Resource Name.
  4. Enter the room's Capacity.
  5. Begin entering the name of the room’s Resource Agent, then click on the profile picture.
  6. Select what type of users this resource is Bookable by.
  7. Select a Campus.
  8. Enter a Description of this resource.
  9. Click Save.

 

Customizing your Kiosk

If you have designer admin privileges, you can customize the look of your kiosk. There are a handful of design options at your disposal that you can change as often as you like. So, create a design that perfectly matches the rest of your church.

Things to Remember

This step is completely optional. Design is not a required part of a successful check-in, although a well-designed kiosk sure is fun to look at!

 To upload a file for design
  1. In the admin panel, expand the Admin menu.
  2. Select Design.
  3. Click Children's Ministry.
  4. Under the title of your desired design element, click Browse... or Choose File depending on your browser.
  5. Find the file you want to upload from your computer and click Open.
  6. Click Create.
 To change your button color
  1. In the admin panel, expand the Admin menu.
  2. Select Design.
  3. Click Children's Ministry.
  4. Under Children's Ministry Colors, enter the hexadecimal code of the color you want for each check-in button, starting with a pound sign (#).
  5. Click Save for each color.

 

As you create a kiosk design, keep in mind that there are four customizable design elements.

Logo for Children's Ministry Screens: This should be your children's ministry logo. It appears in the upper left of the check-in kiosk. Be sure your file is a transparent PNG no larger than 980x135 pixels.

Logo for Child Name tags and Class Lists: This logo appears on items printed from the children's ministry module, including name tags and class rosters that your administrators can run. This image should be a black and white PNG and exactly 150x48 pixels.

Children's Ministry Background: This image appears on the check-in kiosk, just behind your logo and the check-in buttons. When uploading an image, ensure it's a JPG that is either a seamless tile or one image at 980x710 pixels.

Children's Ministry Colors: Use these fields to set the colors of the two primary buttons on the check-in kiosk. Enter these colors as hexadecimal codes, starting with a pound sign.

Check-In Events

Now that the essential building blocks of your children's ministry module are in place, it's time to learn about the check-in event. Creating a check-in event has three stages.

Overview of a Check-In Event

The check-in event is the foundation upon which most of the children's ministry module's functionality is built. In order to understand the check-in event, it's important to see how the individual pieces fit together.

How Check-In Events Work

 

1. Check-In Group:

  • This is where every check-in event begins, created by a leader or manager.
  • Each event represents a single service time when you plan to check kids into their classes. This means that if you have your children's ministry every Sunday at a 9am, 11am, and 5pm services, make one check-in event for each of them each week.
  • This event is also pushed to all the classroom groups underneath it. This creates a duplicate of the event that exists independently in each group. Any edits made to it in a classroom group do not affect the root event or any of the other pushed copies. Still, it's tied to the root event so all pushed events function together in the kiosk.

2. Classroom Groups:

  • This is the stage where the pushed events reach each of the check-in group's children. As mentioned above, these pushed events, though completely independent, still hold a loose relationship with the original event for the sake of the check-in kiosk.
  • At this stage, classroom-group leaders and managers have opportunity to make edits to their particular events. These include:
    1. Creating event roles for their volunteer team to fill
    2. Adding additional text that communicates more classroom specific information for the volunteers
    3. Requesting resources, so that the class has the best room for whatever the day's activities will be

3. Check-In Kiosk:

  • After the pushed events pass through the classroom groups, they're accessed by the kiosk on the day of the event to check kids in to their classes.
  • When a ministry leader first signs in, they must select the correct event from a list of choices.
  • Each time a parent checks in their child, the kiosk assigns the child by age to the appropriate classroom group, simultaneously recording their attendance to that group's specific copy of the event.

Creating an Event

The first step is to create the check-in event. If you are the church's children's ministry leader, you create all your ministry's check-in events.

Creating and pushing a check-in event always begins with your check-in group. It looks just like creating an event in any other group, except for the Push to Child Groups check box.

 

 To create and push a check-in Event
  1. In the left navigation menu, click News.
  2. Click Start a New Post, and then click Event.
  3. Click Select a Group and select the check-in group from the drop-down list.
  4. Enter the event's Title.
  5. Set up the Date & Time.
    1. Select the Start Date and Start Time.
    2. Select the End Date and End Time.
    3. If you want the event to recur, select your desired recurrence from the +Repeats drop-down menu. Then select the When and Until frequency options.
  6. Set the Location.
    1. To set the event's address, click + change the location. Choose a previously used address from the drop-down menu or click Custom address to create a new one.
    2. If you have administrative privileges and this is a Children's Ministry event, click + request a resource and enter the resource to request a resource.
  7. Enter the Event Description. Use the text formatting tools to make your message look the way you want.
  8. Set up Items & Roles
    1. Click + add an item to bring and enter items you need someone to volunteer to contribute, along with the quantity. Repeat as necessary. 
    2. If you have roles to fill, expand + add a role to fill, then enter a role. Repeat as necessary.
  9. Invite guests.
    1. Select Allow this post to be shared if you’d like to share this post with other groups or your City friends.
    2. Select Publicize on The City Plaza to choose Plaza options.
  10. Click Advanced Options and then select Leadership, Push to Child Groups, and any other options you want to enable.
  11. Attach a file to the event.
    1. Under Advanced Options, click + Add a File.
    2. Click Choose File to browse for what you want.
    3. Repeat this process to add more files.
  12. Click Post This!.

 

Things to Remember

Selecting the Leadership option on a check-in event is important, as it hides this event from parents in the group. Because a check-in event is primarily for making kiosk check-in possible, parents don't need to see these events in their group stream or receive email about them.


As soon as your event posts, it will be duplicated into every classroom group beneath the check-in group in the group tree. From there, event management is in the hands of the individual classroom leaders and managers.

Warning!

Though an event pushed into a child group is technically not the same event as the one in the check-in group, they are inextricably tied together. If you cancel or delete the master event in the check-in group, every classroom group's event will be removed as well, so be careful what you delete.

Adding Event Roles

Adding roles enables the leader to create a list of assignments that need to be filled for a successful class time. For example, he might make roles for "worship leader," "storyteller," and "craft leader" to help him ensure that everything is covered when it comes time for Sunday morning.

 To add roles to an existing event
  1. When editing an event, click Items & Roles Finish.
  2. Under Roles, click + add a role for guests to fill.
  3. Enter the name of a role someone can fill.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for as many different roles as you need.
  5. Click Update this Event.

When these roles are added to the event, the other volunteers in the group can all see the roles, what has been claimed or assigned, and what is yet to be covered.

Assigning Event Roles

The group leader or manager has the ability to assign roles to certain volunteers, ensuring that all tasks are covered by the right person.

 To assign event roles
  1. On the event post, click Assign role.
  2. Begin entering the name of the user in the field and select the person from the drop-down list.
  3. Click Assign.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 as many times as necessary to assign all your roles.
  5. When you've got all your roles assigned properly, click Done.

 

All people assigned to roles receive an email notification to let them know their responsibilities. Once they receive their role requests, they have to confirm the roles by clicking a link in the email.

Requesting a Room (optional)

Group leaders and managers can request resources when an event is pushed to their groups.

 To request a resource for an event
  1. Find the event in your group and click it.
  2. In the upper right of the post, click .
  3. Select edit this event.
  4. At the bottom of the editing panel, beside the Resources heading, begin entering the name of the room you want to request and select it from the drop-down list.
  5. Click Update this Event.

Once a request is made, the person responsible for scheduling the room is notified and must approve it before it is reserved for the group.

Things to Remember

This option only works if the ministry leaders have added resources.

Preparing for an Event

There are three things you need to do at the start of each event before you're ready to check in children: activate the kiosk mode on your terminals, test the printers to make sure they're working, and check in your volunteers.

 To activate the check-in kiosk
  1. Open Firefox on your kiosk computer and go to the kiosk URL: yourchurch.onthecity.org/childrens
  2. Enter the kiosk login and password. This is the same login and password used on your City's connect kiosk.
  3. Select the proper campus, date, and check-in event.
  4. Click Start.

 To test the printer
  1. From the check-in screen, click the secret admin button in the upper right corner.
  2. In the light box menu that displays, select Kiosk Options >>.
  3. Next, select Print Settings....
  4. Click Printer Test.
  5. Testing the printer produces a sample name tag. Compare the layout of that tag to the examples provided on the screen.
  6. Ensure that the logo, child information,and barcode fill the whole tag properly. If not, fix it before continuing to prepare the kiosk.

 To check in a volunteer
  1. Go to the children's ministry admin panel.
  2. In the upper right, select the correct date.
  3. In the search bar, begin entering the name of the volunteer, and select them from the drop-down list.
  4. On the volunteer's page, verify that the Event and Group are correct and click Sign In.
  5. Finally, click the icon to print a name tag for the volunteer.
  6. Repeat until all your volunteers are checked in.

Now you're ready to start checking children in to your event.

Checking In

There are three types of parent who may approach the kiosk, and each has a slightly different path to follow when it comes to checking in.

 Path 1: "I've never checked in my kids before, and I'm not on The City."
  1. Tap or click the Check in button.
  2. Tap or click I am not a City user.
  3. Enter your First Name, Last Name, Gender, Email, and Phone. Then tap or click Next.
  4. Add a barcode to your account, either by scanning one you have with you or printing a new one with the I don't have a barcode with me link.
  5. Enter your child's information. Tap or click + add more children for each additional child you'd like to add.
  6. When you're finished adding information, tap or click Done.
  7. Select which children are being checked in and tap or click finish checkin.
  8. Take your parent receipt from the printer and tap or click I'm Done.
 Path 2: "I've never checked in my kids before, but I am on The City."
  1. Tap or click the Check in button.
  2. Enter your City Login and Password, then tap or click Log In.
  3. Add a barcode to your account, either by scanning one you have with you or printing a new one with the I don't have a barcode with me link.
  4. The City lists any children under 14 connected to your profile. This is where you can edit your family listings.
    • If you see no children listed, click + Add a child to begin.
    • To edit any incorrect info attached to one of your children, tap or click the icon and make your edits on the next page.
    • To add another child, tap or click + add another child and fill out the subsequent page of information.
  5. Tap or click finished adding children.
  6. Select which children are being checked in and tap or click finish checkin.
  7. Take your parent receipt from the printer and tap or click I'm Done.
 Path 3: "I've checked in my children before"
  1. Scan your barcode.
  2. Select which children you would like to check in. If a child's information appears incorrect, or the child is not listed, tap or click + edit/add children to make changes.
  3. Tap or click finish checkin.
  4. Take your parent receipt from the printer and tap or click I'm Done.


If your children's ministry team uses pagers to call parents to pick up their children, there is one more step. Before you finish the check-in process, you must enter a pager number as you take the device.

Things to Remember

If you want to know how many physical kiosks you should have on a Sunday, we have an equation! 0.25f/t=k

You can estimate it will take each parent 15 seconds (0.25 of a minute) to check in their kids. Multiply that by the number of families (f) that come to your ministry at a service. Then divide it by the amount of time (t) you'd like check-in to take, and you have your correct number of kiosks (k).

Administrating During the Event

The kids are in class, the parents have all gone in to the service, and ministry is well under way. So what is there for the front-desk volunteer to do now? An administrator can print out rosters for room leaders, keep tabs on room volume, and get parent contact information.

 To view and print class rosters
  1. Go to the Children's Ministry admin panel.
  2. Select a check-in event on the right and click Groups.
  3. Select the classroom group to see all the leaders, volunteers, and children who are currently in class.
  4. If you want to print this roster for the room leader, click print this list. You can also click print a list for each group to create every classroom's roster.
 To manage available classroom space
  1. Go to the Children's Ministry admin panel.
  2. Select a check-in event on the right and click Resources beneath it.


This panel offers an overview of all the classrooms in your children's ministry and how they're filling up as kids are checked in. Use this information to shuffle around your classes as you see your ministry grow and change over time.

 To contact a parent

There are two ways to do this, depending on what information you have available.

  1. By barcode:
    1. Go to the Children's Ministry admin panel.
    2. Click Scan Barcode.
    3. Scan the barcode on a child's name tag to display their parent's information.
    4. Use either the Parent Receipt or Pager number to call the parent.
  2. By name:
    1. Go to the Children's Ministry Admin panel.
    2. In the children's admin panel's People Search, begin entering the child's name, and select the name from the list.
    3. On their user page, use the Check-in ID or Pager number to call the parent.

The City displays contact information provided by a parent, and allows you to log the parent contact during an event. You can not use The City to directly call or page a parent.

Checking Out

Before parents can collect their kids, you need to activate the checkout mode.

 To switch to checkout mode from check-in
  1. In the upper right of a kiosk page, tap or click the secret admin button.
  2. In the light-box panel that displays, select Kiosk Options ».
  3. Tap or click Switch to Checkout.

Once the kiosk is set to check out, parents can come and claim their kids, and volunteers can sign out and head home.

 Check out with the kiosk
  1. Scan your parent barcode or use the barcode on the bottom of your parent receipt.
  2. Select the children you're checking out.
  3. Tap or click Done.

 To check out a volunteer
  1. Go to the children's ministry admin panel.
  2. Select the event from the list on the left, and click Groups beneath it.
  3. Select the classroom from the provided list.
  4. Under Room Volunteers, select the person you want to check out.
  5. On the volunteer's page, click Sign Out.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until all your volunteers are checked out of the event.

At the end of an event, you may find that there are still children checked in to their classrooms, even though they aren't actually there. It's not impossible for a barcode to be incorrectly scanned, a child not to be checked by a parent, or an administrative oversight to occur.

To correct this, there is a tool that instantly clears all remaining children out of an  event .

 To check out all the kids left in your check-in event
  1. Go to the children's ministry admin panel.

  2. Select the event from the list on the left.
  3. In the upper right corner, click Checkout All.
  4. In the dialogue box, click OK.

Aftermath

Once you check out the last child, it's time to send a communication to the parents.

 

 To send your End-of-Day Communication
  1. Go into the children's ministry admin panel.
  2. In the left column, select Communicate.
  3. If you haven't yet created template text for your Welcome Message and Invitation, do so now.
  4. In the Summary field, enter your message to the parents. Describe the day's events, recommend resources for further teaching, or share anything else you feel is helpful for them as follow up.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Click Create communication and send email to send it. This turns your summary into a topic for all online parents to view and sends an email to offline user parents.

A Special Yearly Consideration

Because children's ministry classroom groups are age-specific, it's important for an administrator on an annual basis and move kids from one age-specific group to the next. This ensures they're checked in to the correct groups for their ages when they come to the check-in kiosk each week.

 To move children from one group to another
  1. Go into the children's ministry admin panel.
  2. In the left column, click All Groups.
  3. Select the classroom group with kids you want to promote.
  4. Select the check box beside each child you want to promote to another group.
  5. In the Promote panel to the right, select the group you want to add the kids to from the drop-down list of options.
  6. Click Do it!


Once you move a child to a new classroom group, they are checked in to that group from then on. Both the child and their parents are now inactive in the group they left and active participants in the new group they joined.

Communication

There are primarily two groups of people you need to communicate with: staff/volunteers and parents.  Staff and volunteers must understand the check-in process to assist parents as they transition to checking in through The City. Also, ensure that parents are aware of the transition and have completed a few important tasks in The City to make their initial check-in experience an enjoyable one.

Communicating with Volunteers

Your children's ministry staff and volunteers will play a central role in the success of your implementation, so it's important that they have a foundational understanding of how The City enables the mission of your children's ministry.

At the beginning of the implementation timeline (usually three to four weeks before your launch), send an introductory message to all children's ministry staff and volunteers, letting them know about the transition to The City and explaining the benefits and goals of this transition. Explain to them the importance of their role, and make them aware of the date(s) and time(s) of your initial volunteer training session(s).

You must also train your check-in volunteers prior to your launch day. We suggest you provide everyone with a full overview of the check-in process and explain the various roles that must be filled during check-in. 

Communicating with Parents

Preparing parents for the transition to check-in using The City is an important step in the implementation process, because they're one of the primary groups of people it was designed to serve. We suggest using all the communication channels available to you to make sure that all parents understand why you are making this transition and what they need to do to prepare.

At the beginning of the implementation timeline (usually three to four weeks before your launch), send an introductory message to all parents, letting them know about the transition to The City and explaining the benefits and goals of this transition. Also ensure they create an account in The City, link their profile to their spouse's City profile (if married), and add their children to their profile.

Take a minute or two each of the three or four Sundays prior to your launch to encourage parents to take the three steps to prepare themselves for a smooth first check-in using The City.

Placing signs near your check-in area and providing promotional flyers to parents are good ways to build awareness prior to the transition to The City and help direct parents to prepare for a smooth launch. On your launch day, you can use signs to help direct parents into the kiosk that's best for them.


Pre-Registration

The pre-registration kiosk plays an important role by getting parents ready for check-in ahead of time. The pre-registration process allows parents to add their children to their City profiles, if they haven't already done so, and scan barcodes that allow them to have a much speedier check-in experience.

We recommend providing pre-registration kiosks outside your children's ministry for two or three weeks prior to your launch day. That way, parents can conveniently go through the pre-registration process after checking in their children.

 

Things to Remember

  • Note that you must have your group structure in place before the pre-registration kiosk will work.
  • If you want to prepopulate a large number of barcodes for offline or online users to make first-time registration quicker, you can do this through bulk user updating

Turning on Pre-Registration

The first step is activating the kiosk. This is the same process you use for turning on either the check-in or check-out kiosk.

 To switch from check-in to pre-registration mode
  1. On the upper right of a kiosk page, tap or click the secret admin button.
  2. In the light-box panel that displays, select Kiosk Options >>.
  3. Tap or click Switch to Pre-register.

Pre-Registering for Children's Ministry

Once you've got the kiosk up and running, walk through the process, so you can show parents how to do the same. Depending on whether the parent has a City account, the pre-registration steps change a little.

 Path 1: "I'm not on The City."
  1. Tap or click the Pre-register button.
  2. Tap or click I am not a City user.
  3. Enter your First Name, Last Name, Email, and Phone. Then tap or click Next.
  4. Add a barcode to your account, either by scanning one you have with you or printing a new one with the I don't have a barcode with me link.
  5. Enter your child's information. Click + add more children for each additional child you want to add.
  6. When you're finished adding information, tap or click Done.
  7. Verify that all your children's information is correct and tap or click finished with pre-registration.
  8. If you requested a barcode, take it from the printer and tap or click I'm Done.
 Path 2: "I have a City account."
  1. Tap or click the Pre-register button.
  2. Enter your City Login and Password, then tap or click Log In.
  3. Add a barcode to your account, either by scanning one you have with you or printing a new one with the I don't have a barcode with me link.
  4. Next, The City lists any children under 14 connected to your profile. This is where you can edit your family listings.
    • If you see no children listed, tap or click + Add a child to begin.
    • To edit any incorrect info attached to one of your children, tap or click the icon and make your edits on the next page.
    • To add another child, tap or click + add another child and fill out the subsequent page of information.
  5. Tap or click finished with pre-registration.
  6. If you requested a barcode, take it from the printer and tap or click I'm Done.

Training and Testing

Now that you've activated your kiosk, it's important that everyone is prepared to use it. This means training your staff and volunteers and running through some test events to make sure everything is set up and working properly.

Training Your Team

It is important that all of your check-in volunteers are fully trained in the check-in process and the children's ministry administrative functions. This includes the technical aspects of how to use the system, as well as the various roles in which volunteers will be practically serving families.

Technical Training

Ensure that you train your team on the following topics:

  1. Check-in event kiosk setup
  2. Check-in process
    • Effective direction of parents through the three check-in paths
    • Troubleshooting and resolving common check-in problems
  3. Check-in event management
    • Volunteer sign-in
    • Oversight of event groups and resources
    • Printing class lists
    • Accessing child/parent information
  4. Check-out process

Volunteer Roles

It's also important that your check-in volunteers understand the different roles they might fill and what those jobs entail. There are three roles:

  1. Greeter
    • Directs families to the correct check-in kiosk
    • Answers questions and provides further information about check-in and check-out process
    • Assists families at kiosks
  2. "Assistance Needed" Kiosk Attendant
    • Assists new and unprepared families through the check-in process
    • Provides follow-up resources to families
    • Involves Kiosk Overseer to resolve blocking issues
  3. Kiosk Overseer
    • Signs in volunteers
    • Provides assistance to families at fast track kiosk
    • Provides direct assistance to families with blocking issues
    • Manages check-in event admin processes (class lists, child look-up, etc)
    • Switches kiosks to check-out mode and change check-in event as needed

 

Things to Remember

On your launch day, and for at least the three or four weeks following, we recommend staffing three volunteers for every two check-in kiosk stations you use.

Testing the System

Here are the things you need to do to test the system prior to launching the children's ministry:

 Create a check-in event in your check-in group and push it to the child groups.
 Edit the check-in event in each child group, creating roles and requesting resources.
 Approve resource requests.
 Assign volunteer roles.
 Set up check-in kiosk.
 Check in volunteers and print name tags.
 Check in several sample children and print their name tags.
 In the admin panel, view some of the kids you've checked in.
 Print class rosters.
 Switch to checkout mode.
 Check out all the sample children you checked in.
 Create and send an end-of-day communication.