I'M FOR anything that works and gets results." How often we as ministers are bombarded with ideas and plans. The question is, Does it work? The next question is, Does it produce results? Here is an idea that does both.
The two main considerations of every pastor are those of caring for the flock whose names are already on the church books and keeping a watchful eye for new interests and new prospective members.
A few years ago on an early Sunday morning our church home was gutted by fire. From many Protestants, Catholics, and businessmen came offers of the use of their facilities for our worship services. After careful consideration we accepted the hospitality of the Methodist pastor and his congregation. Among the many wonderful blessings that came as a result of this relationship was an idea we have been using ever since with good success.
Each row of seats, or each pew, has a Fellowship Folder—a folder that is the same approximate size as the hymnal and looks like the Sabbath school folder. Inside the Fellowship Folder is a pad of fifty sheets. The sheets can be torn out at the close of each service.
During the welcome period of the worship service, the one giving the welcome says, "Now at this time we would like to have each of you register your attendance with us today. We would invite you who are on the center aisle to take out the Friendship Folder, open it up, and take your pencil or pen and register your attendance, and so on down your pew. Then please pass it back to the center aisle, and while doing so, if there should be someone in your pew whose name you do not know, put the face with the name and be sure to greet each other at the close of the service. We will appreciate having everyone, including the members, guests, and regular visitors, cooperate in this plan. By the way, as you fill in your name you may wish to check other areas in which we may be able to serve you. Thank you."
The form is at the bottom of page. You may wish to do this every week, twice a month, or once a month. We do it every week.
At the close of the service the sheets are torn from the folders and placed on the pastor's desk. During the first part of the week the date is stamped on the member ship card of the 4-by-6-card file containing a card for every member's name and ad dress. Another file is kept for nonmembers, with the record of their attendance. Also another list of names with varying requests and information is received by the pastor each week to enable him to give better care to both members and interests.
When the time comes for visitation, a brief check of the attendance card will help the pastor to know the attendance habits of his members.