Is Your Church Member Directory Online Yet?
Does your church have a member directory, and if so, is it outdated? The modern way of leading the church means becoming familiarized with the available online tools. One of the most important and useful digital tools is an online church member directory.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
You as church leaders need to be aware of the new way of doing things, and how to utilize all the digital tools already at your fingertips.
In the same way that world is moving from hardbound to digital books, your church managers should also look into moving the directories online, for several reasons. Here are six benefits of having your church member directory in digital format:
1. Easier for future members and donors to find your church contact info
One of the best things you can do for your church is help potential new members find you. Unless you have a good website and online directory, you will just be one among thousands of churches. You could lose out on donors, sponsorship, and your mission may miss its target. This is where you could also post links to your pastor blogs, video streaming or helpful inspirational contact for members to access when needed.
2. Allows your church administration to access member info and status
An online platform with good privacy should enable you to keep members info secure, while allowing your church leaders to find relevant contact numbers and information, when necessary. Please see our last section in this article for some tips on how to keep personal information shared in your directory secure.
3. Church members can update information as it changes
This is especially useful if your church has a lot of travelling pastors and missionary families. In the past, it was easy to lose track of people and outreach project statistics. However, nowadays, an online member directory allows you to stay in touch with those who need spiritual guidance and counselling most. If anyone transfers, or moves addresses, they can also be responsible to update their contact information online. Including social media details could be optional.
4. You can keep track of tithes and sponsorship
An online member directory can also be a way to organize your donors, supporters and sponsors. Even if you already use apps for tithing, having the info on your directory gives a center-point for reference. Keep track of who is contributing to which project, their interests and mission tithes. Rather than just waiting for tithes and sponsorship to come in, you can also send out newsletters to all of your members at one time, or to selected donors who have a special interest in certain projects.
5. Members can locate fellow members and organize projects together
Perhaps your church has a global reach, and some of your members are in need of fellowship and spiritual community. Having access to the other members online provides a way for them to search and find who may be near them, so that they can locally organize their own activities. This is a great tool for doing inspiring projects within youth groups. Searching members by location makes it easy to organize and plan virtual or in-person that inspire young people in your mission and combat loneliness.
6. Provides an avenue for church leaders to guide others virtually
Your church online directory should be accessible to your managers and pastors. They should all have basic training how to use the directory to find church members, and then be able to connect with them virtually. This makes it possible for your managers to follow up on donors directly, and in return, your members have a direct line of communication for those at management level.
More tips for making your church online directory secure
Lastly, follow these tips for ensuring privacy and security of your member online directory:
- Secure access with password protection
- Never include people’s personal financial information online
- Keep making church announcements that teach others how to keep their info secure on your directory
- Use a secure online platform for hosting your directory
- Make sure an IT team or technician is at hand to handle any security breaches
- Always ask members permission before posting photographs or links to their social media accounts
The above tips may seem intuitive, but it helps to stay reminded and remind your members as well. Some may not be so digitally savvy or aware of security issues.
When you feel you are ready to move your church member directory online, be sure to locate a good company who can help you do so professionally. Be encouraged that as you move into a new way of doing things, your ministry will grow and thrive.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”