Now that you have your directory ready to share with your congregation, you may be wondering how to educate your members about accessing the directory using electronic devices, such as smart phones and computers.
Many churches are embracing the use of online directories in addition to, or instead of, traditional paper copies. But, keep in mind some members of your congregation may need a little help and training on exactly how to access the directory using these more technical methods.
Who can help?
Do you have a directory team? If so, lean on them to discuss and plan an education and communication strategy about the online version of your directory. Your team can help determine how to provide a little extra handholding for members of the congregation so they can access the directory using their mobile phones or computers. Utilizing your team for this type of brainstorming can reveal many ideas to help get everyone on the same page.
If you don’t have a directory team, speak with your church’s leadership about who could assist you with developing a plan. Let them know your concerns. They may be able to provide you with manpower and resources to get your vision executed. Talk with leaders of your church’s small groups, Sunday school or community groups. Ask for their advice and ideas for getting the word out. Then, you can work together to plan how and when to present information to these groups. See more information on this approach below.
How can you educate?
There are many ways to educate your congregation and get them online.
If your directory program offers tools and educational material for members, see what information you can download and distribute to your members to make it as simple as possible. Instant Church Directory provides a Tools page (here) for administrators. It provides login instructions and useful announcements that can be plugged into your church communications — Sunday bulletins, weekly/monthly newsletters and your website — or simply handed out to your members. We also provide an advertisement flyer than you can download and edit as needed to announce your directory or explain how to login. You can download our editable flyer here.
As mentioned above, using your church’s community groups provides an already established network to get hands-on help sessions created. If you have directory editors or other volunteers, dispatch them to small groups to really get everyone on board. You can do this over the course of a few weeks. Remember to check with your church’s leadership if you’d like to pursue this idea. You’ll want to have information ready to provide and give members an opportunity to make sure they have their mobile phones with them. Directory editors can also provide information on the spot using their laptop computers to confirm a member’s email address so they can create a login and sign in! This approach also helps members put names with faces of the people they can reach out to when they need more assistance.
We’ve discussed in previous blogs about utilizing your youth group to host a “Directory Dinner” or create a “help desk.” Your youth or young adult groups are great resources to provide some technical savvy to get everyone online. Click here to read more.
Taking the time to make sure no member is left behind in accessing your new Church Directory is the key. You may need to prepare for providing some extra aid and assistance but creating a strategy up front and making the most of your directory’s online tools will help you achieve your goal! And, don’t forget, with Instant Church Directory, you still have the option to provide paper copies to those members who would just rather have it in print.