A church directory is a resource that provides more than just names and contact details. It is a record of your church’s activities and a snapshot of its history. A well-designed directory can help your church community feel closer and foster a strong sense of community. At Dazzle Printing, we are the go-to resource for church directory printing for many small, medium, and large churches. When it’s time to design and print one for your church, you’ll find these tips helpful.
6 Reasons You Need a Church Directory Printing Project
1 It gives details about your church and its members. The church directory printing project is a source of important information. Members and others can quickly get the information they need. It will help them feel connected to the church.
2 It helps people put names to faces. Even the smallest congregation can feel overwhelming to new visitors. If your church is large, it can be tough for newcomers and others to remember everyone. With a church directory, they won’t need to keep asking people to repeat their names or titles. It is a memory aid for every member—and you.
3 A church directory fosters a sense of community. Your church is your second family, and you want your members to feel the same way. Seeing their name on a membership list lets them know they’re part of the same group and working towards the same goals. Personal connections deepen when people share a sense of belonging.
4 Church directories make prayer chains and phone trees easy. On those occasions when you need to quickly reach your members, a church directory printing project is a valuable resource. You can organize phone trees and other community efforts with ease. Some churches use the information in the directory to send greeting cards and birthday cards to members.
5 Members can connect more easily. When you invite new members to church social occasions, they likely spend time socializing with each other. Their kids may also have met and enjoyed playing together. If these families want to get together, they can use the directory to stay in touch. If you have a larger church, they may have met dozens of people. A directory can help them keep track of everyone.
6 People prefer printed directories. Online church directories have become increasingly popular, but printed directories are still the most popular choice for churches.
11 Steps to Church Directory Printing
1. Start with the Approval Process
Before you begin, find out what your church’s approval process is for any publication. You don’t want to put all those hours of work into something that won’t be approved by the church committee or other authority. Does it have to go to a particular committee, or do you just need the minister’s go-ahead?
Ask your church leaders:
- Do we plan to publish a church directory printing project?
- What is the budget for the directory?
- What information does the committee need to make an informed decision?
- Who gives the final permission to publish the church directory?
- What information can be included about each member?
2. Gather the Information
Now that you’re putting the church directory together, you need to know what information you have and what you need to find. If your church has a mailing list or email list of all members, start there. Send each person an email or letter explaining that you need information for the church directory. State that you need the information by a certain deadline.
The letter should include space for the recipient to write their personal information, including:
- Full street address
- Email address
- Phone numbers
- Year they joined the church
- Church committees they’re on
- Name of spouse
- Names and ages of any children
If your church doesn’t have a good list, or if there are a lot of new members, you’ll have to reach the congregation another way. Ask the minister or priest if it’s all right to make an announcement before or after services.
You could also distribute copies of your letter or form at the church itself. Hand them out as people are leaving or entering. Most people want to be sure they’re listed correctly in the directory, and they are likely to be helpful.
3. Decide What Will Be in Your Church Directory Printing Project
How much information will your directory have? It must have:
- Basic information about the church, including its mission, structure, current leadership, and specific ministries
- Church address and phone numbers
- Alphabetical list of all members with their photos and contact information
4. Use a Church Management System
Church management software can help you store all your member-related information. You can use it to house all your files, contact details, and photos. Although most of these systems are designed to create online directories, they are useful for organizing your files to create a printed church directory. The software creates a database that you can rely on to update your directory in the future.
5. Design with Templates
Designing a directory requires knowledge of layouts, fonts, and graphics. If you’re not a designer by profession, you can still create a great-looking directory with customizable templates. Here are a few places to look.
- Microsoft Office: Office has thousands of templates, including a template for a membership directory. You enter the membership information into an Excel file that becomes a nicely designed, customizable directory template.
- Template Lab: This site offers free church directory templates you can use to build an attractive directory.
- Marq: This company offers a free staff directory that can easily be used to create a church directory.
6. Find a Photographer
Your directory will look its best if you include photographs of each member. But why stop there? Make it lively and engaging by including pictures of favorite church activities. Consider adding photographs of the church interior, social gatherings, volunteer groups, youth groups, and upgrades to the church building.
Your options are to hire a photographer or take the photos yourself. Hiring a photographer ensures your pictures will be a feature of your directory. A professional photographer can help bring out the best in all your subjects. They will also have a good understanding of lighting, setting, and other technical details. If you want high-quality pictures, work with a professional.
Taking the pictures yourself—or asking a church member to do it–will cost less. For many churches, this may be the only option in the budget. If you can’t hire a professional, use a high-quality digital camera, and print your photos on photographic paper.
7. Schedule the Photo Shoot
Getting everyone photographed may take some time and effort. If you have existing photographs, some of them may be good enough to use in the directory. In most cases, however, it’s better to start fresh.
Schedule a photo session at the church. Make it directly after services to be sure most people can attend. Give yourself three to four weeks to finish shooting everyone. Make an announcement at church, and then continue reminding your congregation at church, through email, or at church gatherings.
To encourage attendance, make it fun. Turn the photo shoot into a party with sodas, punch, and snacks.
The photo is also a good time to get last-minute corrections to member details.
8. Pick the Pictures
Once you’ve had the photo shoots, you are likely to have many more pictures than you need. Spend time selecting the best photos, Decide where you’ll place them in the directory. Save the extra pictures for other projects or future editions of the church directory.
9. Make It Special
Make your church directory printing project special by adding design touches to the layout. There’s no reason it has to look boring just because you’re on a low budget. Here are some ways to add those extra features that make your directory stand out:
- Include phrases from scripture
- Add religious clip art
- Use pages to announce birthdays, weddings, and baptisms
- Create pages that celebrate major church milestones
- Highlight certain groups, including the music ministry or youth ministry
- Create memorial pages for members who have passed away
Your church directory can become a treasured memento that your members look forward to receiving.
10. Choose Your Binding Style
Before you print your directory, choose a binding style.
- Saddle stitch: This is the most affordable option. It’s also easy to produce quickly and very professional-looking. If your page count is 80 pages or fewer, this is an excellent binding choice.
- Perfect binding: If you have a lot of pages and want a high-end look, choose perfect binding. This is the binding used in paperback books and magazines.
- Plastic coil or wire-o binding: Some people like plastic coil or wire-o binding for church directories because books with this binding lay flat when they’re open. It will work with directories of any size.
11. Get It Printed
Give your directory the perfect finishing touch by getting it professionally printed. At Dazzle Printing, we offer church directory printing at affordable rates. To learn more, check our our free online pricing calculators.