BIG DAY – Registration: Projecting Numbers and Collecting Data

Things I Hate

I should not hate things, but I do. I am weird–I keep an Evernote list. I hate lots of random things: over-baked chocolate chip cookies, showers running out of hot water, wet towels, and filling out forms over and over again.

I go to doctor’s offices, dentists, and sometimes different divisions within the same company and have to fill out the same information over and over. I think, “Come on… Don’t you have this information already? Why do I have to fill this dumb form out again?!”

I am a terrible person, I know. I should be more patient. But I feel that if a system could be put in place to avoid paperwork, the organization should use it!

Our Preaching Rally pre-registration system is in place to avoid paperwork the day of our event. Our two main goals of the registration team are to: 1) project numbers, and 2) collect data.

Projecting numbers

Although we have a rough estimate of how many people attend our event each year, we still have pre-registration to make sure we are not far off. Knowing our potential attendees helps us plan parking, food, printed materials and seating.

Collecting Data

I have a love/hate relationship with details. I do not like getting bogged down in minutia, but I still like to know everything that is going on. Or, I at least want the information to be somewhere I can look it up.

We collect and update data as often and as detailed as possible. I’m not sure when or if I will ever use the data (of how many churches used cash, check, or credit card, for example), but I like to know it. I do not always need the youth pastor’s email address and cell phone number, but it is nice to have when I need it.


The Registration Process

Our registration process is simple.

  1. Our church sends out the November mailing, announcing the theme and inviting the churches to register online.
  2. Church leaders navigate to our registration page and fill out the details: church name, pastor, youth pastor, email, phone, potential attendees and a couple optional questions.
  3. Two weeks before our event, a small team of people call through our mailing list (about 165 churches) and ask if the church received our mailing and if they are planning on attending our Preaching Rally.
  4. If the churches are coming, the secretary takes their information and registers them online.
  5. The registration forms are automatically emailed to me and the registration chief, and she (the chief) notes the potential attendees on our master mailing, highlighting the church in green (or yellow, if they answer, “maybe”).
  6. The week of the Preaching Rally, the registration chief prints a card for each registered church including all the church’s information on it (so the youth pastor does not have to fill it out again), leaving the “payment” and “number of adults” and “number of teens” blanks empty.
  7. She lays the cards on the registration table in alphabetical order, and as each church arrives, the team of registrars does the following:
    1. Verifies their information (correct address, pastor, etc.)
    2. Updates number of attendees (adults and teens)
    3. Calculates and takes payment
    4. Gives “Youth Worker Packet” to each adult or married couple.
  8. After the Preaching Rally, the registration chief reports the finances, number of attendees, number of churches, and number of book sales, as well as any other pertinent information for that year.


I like the Preaching Rally to have a personal feel. By knowing who is coming, where the churches are from, and a little bit about the church (pastor name, city, etc.), the registrars can be genuinely interested in each church and greet them warmly and specifically. At the same time, I want the process to be efficient and simple so the youth pastor is not wasting time trying to wrangle teens, juggle his Bible, AND fill out a ton of forms. If registration goes quickly, that is one less thing he has to worry about for the day.