Why Use an “In-House” Church Membership Directory?
We have a “in-house” church data base that our staff manages so that we can regularly and often reproduce a church membership directory. While I’m sure there are a lot of reason why you might want a self-managed church membership directory, let me suggest a few for you to consider:
- If you use a professional service to produce your directory, don’t expect it to be relevant for all that long. By the time you get all the pictures done, and they get copies of the directory back to you, half of the people probably don’t go to your church anymore. Not really worth it, especially since it was such a pain to produce.
- The combination of church data-base programs and the advancements of copiers make it much easier for you staff to produce and manage a data-base and reproduce a directory without professional photographers.
- If the directory is updated and current, it gives our pastors a good sense of who we are responsible for right now. Cf. Heb 13:17. That means we’ve got a clearly defined membership that I can give an account for at any moment and any day of the week. (Keep in mind, this presumes that your membership is clearly defined before you produce the directory.)
- If the directory is updated and acccurate, it allows me to pray for the actual church that I am pastoring. As a pastor, a good way to care for my sheep is to pray for them regularly.
- If you are in highly transitional congregation, a self-managed data base allows to keep up with the “ebbs” and “flows” of your congregation.
- We don’t want to pray only for the members, but also others who are connected to our church. Some other categories that we put in the directory that are useful for pastors and members to know about and pray for: children of members; members out-of-the area (military, college, etc.); seminary students; supported missionaries and overseas workers; former interns.
Deepak Reju is an associate pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC.