I was a youth minister for a number of years before coming to work for By the Book. As becoming fully trained in the utilization of Roll Call, I can only ponder how wonderful it would have been to have this useful tool as our youth ministry software so many years ago.  Here’s a glimpse of some of the areas of Roll Call I would’ve had used to enhance my youth ministry…

Easy Group Management

Let’s start out in the area of Groups. Roll Call offers the ability to add as many groups in its database as you wish.  So, if I just wanted a group named Youth Group, I could certainly stick with that. But, what if I had a separate High School Sunday School group, or specific group of kids that were preparing to go on a mission trip? No problem! Create a new group, or better yet, clone your existing Youth Group into a Mexico Mission Trip group (and remove the kids that aren’t going). Note: This can be done in the opposite manner by mass enrolling specific kids from Youth Group, but we like to think that everyone will want to go!Create a Missions Group from existing Youth Group

Now that you have the youth in this separate group, it’s a breeze to email, text or write letters, just for those kids heading down to Mexico next spring.

Customize those Groups

I can now customize each of those groups by utilizing the Member Custom, and Group Custom fields. Let’s take our Mexico Mission group as an example.  Under the Member tab, I would start out by organizing the group to track each thing that is specific to each member of the group. For example… our group may need to order T shirts for the up and coming mission trip. I can click on the Change Titles button and enter ‘’T shirt size’’ for the title. Next I can assign S, M, L, XL to each kid.Use Custom Fields in Roll Call Groups

When I’m ready to create a list of the kids and their t-shirt sizes to send to the t shirt company, I’ll be ready! (I’ll show you in Part 2 of this series on how to create that list!)

For now, let’s say we also want to track something specific to the GROUP. You can do that under the Group Custom fields. You’ll notice a group custom 1 and group custom 2 tab. Group Custom 1 has 10 spots to tracks specific custom fields, and group custom 2 tab allows you to track up to 10 custom checkboxes and 5 custom dates. In the case of my mission group, I would be interested in adding a group custom field called “’studying’’. In that field I could include some of the bible studies we had been studying to prepare for our trip.  The checkboxes and dates may be useful to track some things such as the dates of our fundraisers, or whether or not your group has purchased its plane tickets.

I might also want use a couple of checkboxes for each person for things like whether they have gotten their passport, or if their immunizations are up to date. These particular items will always be true for them, though, so it’s best if I track this information in their own personal record, rather than the group. To do that, move on over to one of the youths personal profile. Go to Custom Fields on the left. Click on Custom checkboxes and then change titles. Add the title of “passport” and a separate one for “immunizations”.  You can now select the checkbox when they bring in proof of those. We can get a list of these later as well (Part 2).

Using Custom Fields In Profiles in Roll Call


Track Contributions for Youth Ministry

What about the contributions side of things? What if I was interested in tracking funds raised for our trip as well as who was coming to the fundraisers so I could adequately split up the funds between them?  Roll Call can help with that, too! Start by having your treasurer add a specific fund in the Giving Funds area for your Mexico Mission trip.

Add a specific Mission Trip fund to Roll Call

Next, create a member custom field in groups (like mentioned above) for each fundraiser event. As the youth attend each event just track it there.  Your treasurer can keep your funds separate from the rest of the congregation as its own giving fund, and you can keep organized with how much each kid in your youth group has raised for the trip. As an example, let’s say you plan on having a car wash, a spaghetti dinner, and a bake sale. Go into the group. By default you are anchored in the member tab area. Click on Change Titles. Add those three events. As they participate, you can add up how much was raised, divide it among your youth and enter in the amount they receive here next to their name and under that particular fundraiser.  In part 2, we’ll learn how to create great reports so we can pull the data we entered with ease!

Tune in next week for Part 2 of this Roll Call as youth ministry software series.


Caroline enjoys being a wife and mom to three… a son in college, a daughter in high school, and another daughter in middle school. Besides attending their numerous sports and music activities, she enjoys rooting for the Chicago Bears with her husband and taking adventurous vacations with her family to various parts of the U.S. each year.