August 9, 2016

Old-School Church Directory, 2.0

I have always loved looking through the church directories. As a kid, I would flip through them between commercials or get distracted by the photos whenever I was looking up a phone number. Seeing each picture both as an individual unit (whether family or single) and as part of the larger whole of the church was oddly compelling.

When we received our new church directory on Sunday, I found myself drawn again to the pictures. And I wasn’t the only one. During the coffee hour, several folks were thumbing through it.

In one sense, a church directory is old school. With the easy, shareable nature of photos, a church directory can seem instantly dated. Who needs a collection of posed photos when you can scan Facebook feeds and find a plethora of pictures? But I’ll argue that old school still has a place in today’s churches. A printed directory is a tangible reminder of our connection with one another, of our commitment to living our faith in community.

A few years ago, when we first started attending our current church, they introduced us to an interesting practice. Copies of the church directory were laminated and placed in the pews. The idea was that folks who arrived early to church could flip through the directory, perhaps helping to put names to faces. It was definitely helpful for me as a newcomer!

Our new directory offers two new tools that make it a more useful

compendium. First, in the back of the directory is a pocket folder with a handout of addresses and phone numbers. Instead of printing addresses in the directory itself, this handout makes it easy for the church to provide annual updates. Secondly, each directory has a separate sheet (similar to a tri-fold brochure) with all of the pictures. This front-and-back mini-directory will be much easier to laminate and place in the pews and is a handy guide for those who don’t intend to carry around the directory.

These two small changes have upgraded an old-school concept into version 2.0, upholding the value of connection while taking into consideration current realities that people move more often – and definitely change their phone numbers with greater frequency.

Does your church still print a directory? Or have you found another solution? Share it here!

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