Many church organizations print and distribute a church member directory, which contains at least names, addresses and phone numbers of members or friends of your church congregation. Many of these directories also include photos, making this the go-to place to find member information.
In our previous blog article, 6 Reasons to Create a Church Directory, we discuss the importance of creating and maintaining this valuable resource. However, for small churches, allotting the budget for a professional directory every year simply is not an option.
Here are some key benefits as to why an online church directory may be perfect for small churches.
Ease the burden on church staff & leadership for being the go-to resource.
It is no secret that church staff and leadership in small churches wear many, many hats. But if your church is only able to afford to update your directory every couple of years, it quickly becomes outdated and is therefore no longer trusted. Members know the Jones family had another kid and they moved into a different house three years ago, but they are not as close to the Smith family, so they are not sure if that’s their latest address. The result? Send a quick text or email to a staff member asking them for the information.
With an online directory, members can trust that the information is always up to date and accurate, so they learn to turn to their app or login online rather than reaching out to the church. This is one less text or email that frees up time for your staff or leadership to focus on other ministries in the church.
Online directory programs help spread the workload of management.
Many online church directory programs allow for more than one editor or administrator to update or manage the church directory. This allows you to create a directory team for your small church, rather than the burden falling on just the church administrator or pastor.
One member can oversee maintaining photos (perhaps a photographer in your congregation or a trusted older youth member), another can be in charge of updating addresses or phone numbers, while a third can be in charge of maintaining new families, new births, new members or members that have passed away or moved away. This divide-and-conquer approach makes the task less daunting, especially for a small church.
Online memberships help spread the cost.
Many online directory programs allow you to pay monthly or yearly at a discount. These costs are often much cheaper than any traditional company would charge. For just $10 or $20 a month, your church can have access to an online and printed directory for a fraction of the cost. Plus, monthly payment plans help spread the cost over the year and fits into your budget more easily than one large sum.
Your church may not have a secure website.
For many small churches, there are not enough funds to hire a media or technical assistant full time. Many times a member graciously volunteers to help build or maintain the church website to establish your church in the online world but the site is not regularly updated.
And that’s ok!
Unfortunately, that means your website may not be up to the latest security standards and therefore is not a safe place to post your church’s directory.
With an online directory program, you do not have to worry about trying to password protect, secure, and manage a directory on your website. You can be confident that you are not exposing your members’ information to online scams or threats, nor have the burden fall on a member who is helping the church in their spare time.
In these new times, church budgets are spread thinner and thinner. Rather than forgoing the updating of your church directory at all this year, using an online directory may be the solution. An online directory for small churches helps keep line items in check while also allowing everyone to stay up to date with the latest church member information–which is so important for staying connected with one another.