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Check In Solutions

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Today's headlines are fraught with reports of missing children, child custody disputes, and children's food allergy dangers. These issues of safety and security aren't limited to schools and neighborhoods -- they're also a very real concern for church ministries.

Today's parents are on heightened alert, and churches aren't exempt from predators or medical emergencies. Because of today's uncertain and unsafe culture, families are hesitant to leave their children in the care of others when they don't feel the environment is safe and secure.

Your church can alleviate families' fears and anxieties by using a check-in system that'll help you keep the children in your care safe and secure. Whether your church is big or small, it's imperative that you help the parents and children you minister to feel safe and secure so they can concentrate on why they're in your church -- to worship and learn about Jesus!

That may feel like a big assignment -- especially if you aren't that familiar with secure check-in systems or don't know what to look for in one. Rest easy: We've created a nuts-and-bolts guide to help you understand the components and options available in most check-in systems today. Use this information to help you assess your ministry's needs...and then before you go shopping.

System Components

As you consider the many quality check-in systems available, it's key to first assess the basic type of system your ministry needs. Components are the core of each system, and they'll likely influence your purchasing decision based on whether they mesh with your ministry's specific needs.

• Web-Based-Some systems are web-based, meaning all data and programs are maintained on secure servers remote from your church. These systems can be updated automatically and frequently (daily or weekly) via web updates and may even offer access to parents at home.
• Software-Based-Other systems are software-based, meaning you purchase software, install it on your church or children's ministry computer system, and maintain it and the data on your church computer system. You install updates as they're available and released from the provider. Major updates typically mean you'll need to buy a new "version" of the software.
• Tech/Service Support-Support is available at a variety of levels. Some systems offer limited support (Monday through Friday, 8 to 5), while others offer round-the-clock support. Support can come in the form of connecting to a troubleshooting specialist on the phone or going online via email or links to troubleshoot common problems. It's important to determine what level of support your ministry needs and to ensure that you fully understand what each system offers. Additionally, determine whether support serv-ices are included in the system package price or if you'll pay each time you need support.
• Online/Video/In-Person Training-Most systems offer some type of training on how to use the system. Most purchasers agree that this training is indispensable and worth it even if you have to pay extra for it. Determine what type of training is offered at what price, and whether it includes training for just you or for your team as well.

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