We’ve learned an important lesson: The Church is people, not a building!Henry G. Brinton
When we originally posted this blog back in July 2020, we had no idea that most of us would still find ourselves in a very similar position this late in the year. Covid-19 is still very much affecting lives. Many people are still working from their homes. Many families are facing economic difficulties. Many churches are still meeting online, or sadly not at all. Many are still isolated or removed from loved ones. It can be a lonely time.
But, the church has a unique opportunity to be a bright spot in the midst of this. And we believe it’s vital that the church “be more” than just the building where services are held. The resilience of the church body can move beyond its walls and bring light and hope to its people, the body of believers.
We think the ideas below can go a long way to help church leaders see the importance of tools that help us stay connected during tough times when we aren’t together. We all need encouragement, contact, and accessibility with others. And as we approach the new year, this reminder is even more important than ever.
If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times — we are in unprecedented times.
At the start of the pandemic, many churches quickly began to build a new way of worship. Online streaming, Facebook Live, Zoom meetings — the online world was lighting up with virtual worship. There was solidarity in the mission, as people realized that giving glory to God must not stop just because the congregation cannot meet in the building.
We learned an important lesson: The Church is people, not a building!
But as time soldiers on, church leaders and members are a little unsure about how to move forward. Do we go back in the building? Do we continue to meet online? Do we do a mix of both?
With so many questions and opinions, it is more important than ever that we don’t become divided but rather continue together as a family of believers.
A few things are key:
1. Keeping in touch with your church family.
2. Keeping things simple and easy to maintain.
Read on to find out how your church’s directory plays an important role.
Keep in touch with your church family.
So how do you easily keep in touch with your church family when you cannot meet in person? Simply look to your church directory. When the pandemic began, a Virginia pastor issued a challenge to his congregation in a Sunday sermon: “Go to the church directory and find a person who you do not know. Give them a call, ask how they are doing in this coronavirus craziness and get to know them a bit.” It was a good challenge, and important new bonds were created. But guess what? The church directory that most members had in their homes was terribly outdated.
With Instant Church Directory, you can produce a professional church photo directory yourself in just hours, and it is never outdated. Members can submit a suggested update for their address, photo, email address or phone number for church approval from the online directory and mobile apps. You can also print your church directory in black-and-white or full color.
Keep things simple and easy to maintain.
The last thing you need is something that is complicated and hard to manage. With Instant Church Directory maintaining your members’ data is in your control, and we take you through the process, step by step.
You can quickly add birthdays to any member in your directory, and the birthday page displays birthdays by month. Everyone loves to be remembered on their birthday, and sharing a birthday month can build bonds among members. Why not create an event — in person or online — in which all the members with January birthdays gather around a table or on a Zoom call? A senior citizen can connect with a member of the youth group since they are both January babies. You can then continue the birthday gatherings throughout the year.
Anniversaries are listed just like birthdays in the mobile app so that these special days won’t be overlooked. Few milestones are more inspiring in the life of a church than the recognition of a couple celebrating 10, 25, 50 or even 60 years of marriage. Instant Church Directory makes these records simple and easy to access.
Why launch an online directory now?
Although this is a sales pitch, we truly believe that having immediate access to member information is a key part of keeping a congregation together. With Instant Church Directory, you can focus on maintaining connections between people in a way that is safe and secure. You’ll have control of your members’ photos, without the pressure to buy professional portraits that comes with traditional directories. In this difficult period, Instant Church Directory can help you achieve the high-priority goal of keeping people connected.
This post was written by Henry G. Brinton. Henry is a regular contributor to Homiletics. He is the author of City of Peace and a Presbyterian pastor who has written on religion and culture for The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and Huffington Post.