I have clear memories of getting our family picture taken for the church directory. I remember my mom choosing a time slot, carefully selecting nice (matching?) clothes for us, and then going to the social room to get our picture taken by the photographer (in front of a white screen). We confirmed our address, phone numbers, and birthdays. A few weeks or so later, our church mailbox contained a shiny new church directory. As a kid, I liked looking through the pictures in the "church yearbook" and finding my friends.
I wonder, how many churches are still printing church directories? And, are there benefits to doing this?
As someone who is completely saturated in the digital world, I have a hard time seeing the logic in continuing to print a church directory. I'm not even sure of the value in online church directories. And yet, I think it's worth a conversation.
For example, I know the church directory is intended to be a resource for members to be able to contact each other. It's nice to know exactly where to find someone's address, phone, email, etc. In this sense, a church directory builds community. In the church I grew up, the directory did also include birthdays. I would receive birthday cards from some of the "faithful prayer warriors" in the church and it was always nice to be remembered.
Some churches have switched over to maintaining online church directories, often requiring a password to log-in. This ensures a layer of security since they are housing personal contact information on members. This is a good option but are people logging in and using it? Is it being regularly updated when emails, cell phones, and addresses change?
I'd love to know your experience:
- Does your church have a printed (or online) member directory? If so, do you find it helpful?
- Are there any negatives to having a church directory? Does it show visitors that the church has a warm and welcoming community or does it feel exclusive?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!