With all the communications and media options available these days, maybe you’re wondering why your church should consider having a church directory. Your congregation might be leaving behind the format of print publications, trying to save time and money. Or maybe you’re worried that a church directory just becomes obsolete too quickly.
The good news is that a church membership directory is more valuable than ever these days. Thanks to technological advancements, an online church directory is not only possible but also affordable and easy to maintain.
Having an up-to-date, password-protected online member directory allows the church family to get better acquainted and to stay informed about special dates and happenings. Plus, it safeguards members’ personal data so it isn’t compromised and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Church management software such as Instant Church Directory gives you complete control of members’ personal information and photos. Church leaders and other editors who receive approval notifications can use their login credentials to make changes, as necessary.
Here are six key reasons your congregation should create and regularly update this valuable ministry resource:
1. A church directory helps people put names to faces.
No matter the size of a congregation, it can be challenging to remember who everyone is — and who “belongs” with whom. Senior adults may know most of the other seniors, and youth may know most of their teenage peers. But it’s unlikely that all the members can identify one another.
Creating a user-friendly online church directory ensures that no one is left out or kept out of the loop. A staff member or trusted administrator can easily add every new church member or family to your customized church directory. Instant Church Directory also features staff pages, which help churchgoers identify pastors, elders, and other church leaders.
2. New members and staff can get up to speed quickly.
A compilation of faces, names and contact information is especially useful for people who are new to the congregation, whether in the pews or in leadership. Learning lots of names and people’s roles is much easier when a church keeps a current photo directory handy.
Online directories don’t become outdated quickly, like their printed counterparts. But with church directory software such as Instant Church Directory, you can still print directories. That way, you can keep some updated copies on hand for new members. Printed copies are also a helpful alternative for seniors or other members of the church who aren’t computer-savvy.
An online member directory is ideal for assimilating new church members into congregational life. Getting on board at an unfamiliar place can feel intimidating to many people. So your church’s photo directory can highlight a range of ministry and service opportunities, plus specific steps for how to contact someone and become involved.
Because most people looking for a new congregation conduct a church search on the internet, your congregation needs a vibrant, current website. Although church shoppers won’t be able to access your private directory or member information, they will notice that you provide one. That conveys a sense that you care enough to provide members-only resources to build an active community.
3. A church directory encourages relationships.
Achieving a family-like feel and building community are important goals for every local church. But personal connections can’t happen if people within your congregation are strangers! A photo directory provides a sense of belonging and indicates that members are part of a special faith-based group. If your congregants don’t wear nametags each week, then a photo directory is a lifeline to establishing connections and bonds.
Maintaining a current church membership directory also helps individuals realize the church is more than just Sunday worship. Instead, it’s a body of believers who gather regularly for learning, prayer, fellowship, and encouragement. Demonstrate that unity with the personal touches you add to your church communication and directory. As the directory grows over time, it becomes tangible proof that the church family is steadily growing too!
4. Information is always at your fingertips.
Phones, email and social media help 21st-century churchgoers stay in touch. But that can’t happen when people’s contact information is scattered or outdated. Thanks to a one-stop online directory, everyone’s names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses are compiled together. Every member with a directory entry can securely log in to make quick updates, as needed. Authorized individuals can conduct a quick church search to identify members in certain demographic categories as well.
5. A church directory can go beyond the “basics.”
Photos and contact information are just the beginning of an online church directory. Many congregations also include members’ birthdays and anniversaries. Plus, each church can list Bible study options, small groups and their leaders, volunteer opportunities, emergency information and more.
Many forms of church communication can spring from the details found in an online directory. For example, ministry leaders can send greeting cards to remember people’s special days. You can invite people to join a study group and attend regular fellowship events. Pointing people to the ministries listed within a membership directory helps nurture and grow your church community.
NEW: If you lead a non-church organization or association, Instant Church Directory Premium allows you to further customize a photo directory. With custom menu labels and custom color and branding, you can edit your online membership directory to best fit the needs of your group. Tailor titles, lingo, tabs and letters with the exact wording you prefer. Plus, the Unlimited Editors option lets you give more people access to the inner workings of your member directory.
6. Prayer chains and other phone trees are a breeze.
Keeping one another in prayer is a key part of church membership. With a directory, members and leaders can easily organize phone trees for prayer requests and other purposes. Keeping people connected to each other and to Jesus Christ is essential to the mission of Christian churches. So consider your investment in church directory software as a valuable gift for the entire church family.
Instant Church Directory is a full-feature service, that allows administrators to send CAN-SPAM-compliant emails to church members. For cancellations and emergencies, church members can also access phone numbers from the online directory. If a class or group must postpone a meeting at the last minute, the leader can quickly text attendees to keep them informed.
The value of an up-to-date church photo directory certainly doesn’t end there. Churches report that they’re thrilled to leave behind the hassles, expenses and delays of using a traditional photo directory company. With the assistance of church management software such as Instant Church Directory, you now have a convenient, inexpensive way to produce a church photo directory yourself. And these days it’s simpler than ever, with loads of helpful new features for customization.
By choosing an online directory option, you save the church money, save administrators time and provide a valuable service to all members.