6 Signs It’s Time for an (Improved) Online Church Directory

Have you considered an online church directory (or improving the one you have)? Aren’t sure it’s worth the time? After all, you rationalize, your church isn’t that big. The directories you had printed years ago haven’t gotten much use. There’s social media, right? For others of you, you might have some version of an online directory and you’re trying to decide if you should take it a step further or can it.

To help you out, we’ve put together a guide of 6 signs it’s time for an (improved) online directory.

1. You haven’t updated your directory in the past year. Or even worse, members of your youth group are pictured in the directory as babies.

Imagine sending the same family picture in your Christmas cards every year. In people’s minds, your family would be frozen in time. A time where your kids (who are graduating high school) are still in diapers, and a time where you’re still wearing a poorly chosen sweater. Even though it may be a lovely image, after a while it becomes outdated and even inaccurate.

The same is true for churches who don’t update their directories. The church body is constantly changing: new members come, families grow, kids grow up. Your directory should reflect that. Traditional directories were designed to be around for a while because of the time, effort, and money it took to make them. But with an online directory,  you can quickly add new members, and update growing families and other changes.

2. Lack of contact info is leading to a lack of showing of love, and misdirected cards and casseroles.

Do your members call the church office often for contact information to send a card? Ever had anyone from your church show up to a member’s old address with a “new baby casserole”? This is always a possibility if you’re not using an easy-to-update online directory.

A flourishing church body will likely find itself communicating with other members every day. We need to, as the Bible says “love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor,” Romans 12:10. When phone numbers and addresses are unavailable or out of date, building one another up is more of a challenge. The more difficult it is to call someone in a time of need, show up at someone’s house last minute with a meal, or get involved in a ministry opportunity, the less likely it is to happen.

The right online church directory solves this because members can keep their information up-to-date. They can find other members’ info right from their phone. They can call a ministry team leader to volunteer at the last minute, or confirm an address while they’re on the way to visit a shut-in.

3. Members can’t easily access and update their own information.

We live in a world where we are constantly updating others on our status, location, workplace and more. Online directories give your members the ability to update their own information. This results in less data entry for your staff, and more up-to-date records.

Great online directories are more than just a directory though. With Servant Keeper members can use the online directory to view and manage other aspects of their church involvement. For example, through their own private profiles, members can register for activities, or view their giving history, and navigate back to your website to complete an online giving transaction.

4. You’re allotting regular funds for a paper church directory, and find extra copies of old versions collecting dust and taking up valuable storage space.

This is one doesn’t need a lot of explanation. You may be in the position where you want to cut costs, but you see value in having a directory available to your church body. Find church management software that provides an online church directory, and cut the cost of producing a physical one. Plus, you won’t have to try to decide how many copies to order, and find wasted money lying around in the form of a pile of decade-old directories. When it’s online, each new member can be granted password-based access at any time.

5. People aren’t accessing your church website.

Your directory will be a resource that is relevant, updated, and useful. As people get used to going to your site to access it, they’ll also see other content you post. It’s worth mentioning though, that with the Servant Keeper church directory, you can also provide a way for members to access it quickly through an app without even getting online. (See here how to set up your directory as an app in just a few steps.)

6. You need to hire professionals to make a new printed directory or your DIY directory leaves something to be desired.

Making a professional-looking directory can be difficult. You likely need to hire a company or photographer to do it for you. You can still hire a professional photographer to take your photos for your online directory. In some cases we even recommend this just for a more polished look. But if your budget prohibits hiring a professional, it’s possible for you to allow a budding photographer in your body to take the pictures and quickly upload them.

With Servant Keeper’s online church directory, your church can instantly have pictures and information displayed in a responsive design that looks and feels natural on any screen size. Still want a paper copy? You can have both. From Servant Keeper, you can print a simple, well-formatted paper copy of the directory to go out to everyone or on an as needed basis.

Bottom Line

Although I’m not including this one in my list, the last tell-tale sign that your church needs an online directory is that you don’t have one. They are simple to set up and update, and produce practical benefits for churches of all sizes.

Leave your outdated directories in the dust. Try out a demo of Servant Keeper’s online directory today.

Group at a church event