CMS Contributions - I Just Purchased the Attendance System... Where Do I Start?

PROBLEM:  You just purchased the CMS Attendance System, and you're just not sure where to start entering attendance.

SOLUTION:  To get started in CMS Attendance, we'll need to do some setup first, then we'll dive into entering and posting attendance.

Enter Member Information

Prior to entering any information in the CMS Attendance System, you'll need to enter the church member's Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers, and Member Status information for the members of the church.

For complete information, go to I just purchased the Membership System... where do I start?

Set Up Attendance Codes

Once you have all of your Member's information entered, we can begin to set up the Attendance System.

We must first set up the Attendance Codes that will be used to indicate if the member was Absent or Present, and at which service did they attend.

From CMS Attendance, click Options | Attendance Codes.

Click the Add button on the right and add a code for Absent, be sure to set the Status for your Absent code as Absent.  

Also create one Code for each service that a member of your church may attend, and set the Status to Present.  

For example, you may want to create a code for:

  • 1st Serv - First Service Attendance
  • 2nd Serv - Second Service Attendance
  • 3rd Serv - Third Service Attendance
  • Absent - Absent

NOTE: If your church offers communion at only one Sunday per month, or one Service per Sunday, you may also want to create one code for Present and Communed.

We've used the number's 1, 2 and 3 as the first character of the Attendance Code.  This will ease weekly Attendance Entry, and you'll be able to quickly identify the service the member attended on the Attendance Pattern report!

When complete, click Close.

Create and Define Attendance Groups

Click the Groups button on the CMS Attendance Main Menu.

Click the New button on the right side of the display and assign a three character Code and Description of your Worship Service.  Click OK.

Enter the Location, Leader and Frequency of the Worship Group.

Click the Define button on the right side of the display.  You can use a variety of codes to set up different Attendance Groups in your CMS Attendance System.  Grade Levels or Classes for Religious Education, or Activities for Committees, etc.

However, the Worship Service should be set up based on the Member Status of the people entered in your CMS Membership System.

Click the Member Status button and select only the Member Status codes of those people who you would like to track their weekly attendance.  

For example, you may not want to include those people coded as Deceased, Transferred/Moved, etc.  Click OK when complete.

Make any additional selections desired and click OK.

The system will automatically add and remove people from your group.  Click OK to proceed.

Next, click the Preferences button on the right side of the display.

Click the Valid Attendance button and add over the Attendance Codes you would like to use for this group only.  Click OK.

Click the Up Arrow at Default Attendance and select the Absent code.  Click OK.

Click the up arrow at Right Mouse Click and choose your most common or popular service.  The Right Mouse Click is the default Present Code used when entering Attendance.

In this example, our most highly attended service is the First Service.

If you would also like to track the User's Head Count, a secondary number only, click the Head Count Column and enter the Column Headers.  In our example, the Head Count Column headers are the same as the Attendance Codes.

Click OK | Close to exit the Groups display.

Print Attendance Checklist

You may want to print an Attendance Checklist from the system that will assist your Members or Ushers when indicating the members who attended each service.

If your church already uses Pew Pads or Pew Sign In Cards, this step is not necessary.

From CMS Attendance, click Reports | Group Checklist.

Click the Groups button in the lower left corner of the display.  Select only the group desired and click OK.

Click into the Print for Attendance Date and type in the following Sunday's date.  Click Print.

This report will give you an easy to use Checklist that you can give to your users to track those members who attended the various services on Sunday.


Enter and Post Attendance

Now that all of the set up is completed, you can now start Entering your Attendance!

From the CMS Attendance Main Menu, click Enter Attendance.

The first group alphabetically will display in the Group Code field.

Click into the Attendance Date field and type the date of the Sunday you would like to enter, then press the Enter key on the keyboard.

You can also right-click into the Attendance Date field and select the date from the calendar. 

Any Attendance date you may have already entered will be displayed in the Attendance Date drop down field.  

So if you entered some Attendance for that date, had to exit the system and would like to come back and finish that date, you can simply select the date from the drop down list, or just type in the date as normal.

The last name, first Name, address and mailing relationship of each member of your group should now appear, and everyone should be coded as Absent.

You can enter your attendance by either:

  • Right click into the Attend column to change the code Absent to the appropriate code for the service this person attended.  Continue to right-click to scroll through the valid attendance codes.
  • Click into the Last Name field and type in the last name of the person you would like to Enter Attendance.  This will drop you down to that person's name.  Use your up/down arrows to select the appropriate person. Then, using the plus key ( + ) on the keyboard, change the Absent code to the appropriate code for the service this person attended. Continue to press the + key to scroll through the valid attendance codes.

Repeat this process until all attendance is entered.  Click OK to post the attendance to the member's record.

Entering New Visitor's Attendance

Depending on your church, you may have a few, or a few dozen Visitors or New Members of the church that you would like to enter Attendance.

If you have just a few new members/visitors, you can add them on the fly!  Click the Add Person to Group button on the right side of the Attendance Entry display, then click the Add/Edit Household/Person button to enter those new members/visitors.

You can then Add them to the Group and track their Attendance.

However, if you have many new visitors/members, you may want to set that information to the side and finish entering Attendance.

Then follow these instructions: 

How to enter new members/visitors to an Attendance Group and catch up missing weeks of attendance?


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