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Church Realizes Benefits of an Online Directory

In the summer of 2013, Tim Ahlemeyer became the lead pastor of Santa Claus UMC in Santa Claus, Indiana. New to the church and wanting to familiarize himself with church members as quickly as possible, Pastor Tim decided to utilize Online Church Directory’s member directory program. 

In a mid-size church, with approximately 300 attenders, the task of learning new names & faces seemed daunting, and Pastor Tim recognized the advantages of using a member directory to help him.  Beyond learning new names and faces, the benefits of the online member directory quickly became apparent, not just to Pastor Tim, but to church members, as well. 

While setting up the directory, committee members were excited by the many features it offered. They quickly realized its potential to build community and assist with communication within their church family.

Some of their favorite features included:
* Security, including password protection & its utilization of SSL (Secure Socket Layering)
* Ease of use
* Being able to include families, individuals, groups & staff in the directory
* Members’ ability to edit their personal information & profile photos
* Additional information fields allowing members to include more information about themselves
* Groups & committees being listed in the directory—with group members included
* Ability to uploaded pictures from mobile devices
* Mobile app’s texting, emailing, mapping & calling options
* Unlimited customer support & resources offered by Online Church Directory

Mary Helen Brown, a long-time member of the church as well as the church’s membership coordinator, commented, “Using the online directory, tracking members’ contact information is much easier than using paper & pencil or an outdated member directory.”

Member Photos
Since formal photography sessions were not required, collecting member photos was a fun, informal process, without high-pressure sales tactics. On several Sundays, before and after church, volunteer photographers set up “photo booths” to photograph church members. Once taken, the photos were easily uploaded into the directory. 

Having updated photos alongside member information enabled Pastor Tim to quickly familiarize himself with members, and if he forgot a name, he simply referenced the directory to refresh his memory. Members enjoyed seeing updated pictures of themselves and their church family all in one location.

Groups & Committees
During the pastoral transition, as new committees and groups were formed, the church administrative staff listed each one in the directory. The listings included descriptions of each committee or group, its members and member photos, as well. Listing the various committees, groups & activities benefited everyone; people could learn more about the many ministry and organizational activities, and members of specific groups could easily identify and communicate with each other.

Mobile App
The directory’s mobile app quickly became an indispensable ministry & connectional tool.  When visiting members in their homes, the app’s “mapping” feature helped Pastor Tim identify and drive to the correct addresses.  Another active family found the app to be of great use when visiting shut-ins and making calls while traveling. The app also allowed members to update their member information or upload profile photos from anywhere in the world. 

Printed Directory
Some members of Santa Claus UMC asked that a printed directory be available to them.  Because of the online directory’s design, printing the directory was a simple and cost-effective process.  The directory committee members, working closely with a customer service representative at Online Church Directory, created a custom designed directory, complete with a beautiful front and back cover, activity pages and the directory’s complete member listings, with member photos included. And, because Online Church Directory offers print services at cost, printed directories were very affordable. 

After using their online member directory for over two years, Pastor Tim said, “I cannot say enough good things about both the product and the service provided by this company. They walked through every step with my staff and have always been there for any questions or follow-up. The quality and ease of use for this online directory allows me without reservation to give it a huge thumbs up!”

Please visit www.onlinechurchdirectory.com to learn more about the online directory, services, and staff and to start your own 30-day free trial.

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Religious Product News