The Participant record has several key data points to help you have a clear picture of a person's participation in you church.
Participant Type is the relationship of this Participant to the church. The values:
- Are required and should be set manually based on how a participant participates at your church.
- Are not for managing church polity. See Member Status below.
- May or may not be a summary of database activity depending on how they are managed.
- Helps answer the question: How connected is this participant to our church?
- Should include a small number of clear, self-explanatory values that a church might change*. Best practice recommends: Guest (or Visitor or New), Attendee, Church Family (or Member), Other, Non-Attending (or Do Not Contact), Dropped.
*If changed, we strongly encourage you to keep this a small list of broad, major, and simple values that are appropriate for your church culture. Think major buckets that are self-explanatory and don't lead to "reading between the lines" or "interpretation". For example, "Regular Attendee" is not recommended as each staff member would interpret "regular" to mean something different.
Member Status is a formal categorization for your church family. The values:
- Are optional, and if desired, should be manually set based on documented actions and/or milestones of the person.
- Are not at summary of database activity. See Participant Engagement below.
- Might be a sub-category for people who have a Participant Type of either “Church Family” or “Dropped”.
- Help answer the questions: Does this person count for official business? If so, how?
Should include the smallest possible list as possible to met the requirements of your church's bylaws or denomination. For example: Member, Associate Member, Watchcare, Pending, Disqualified, Disciplined.
Participant Engagement is the degree to which someone is engaged. The values:
- Are automatically set and updated by a nightly routine based on various, key summary facts stored in hidden fields on the Participant record.
- Should not be manually set.
- Are a summary of database activity.
- Help answer the question: How involved does my database indicate this person in with respect to those things that matter to our church?
- Include a small number of fixed values that a church should not change: Observer, Partially Engaged, Fully Engaged, Lapsing, Lapsed.
Other Important Data Points
For other key data points to be considered in conjunction with these, see: