Church Directory Software - How to Create Church Member Database | Breeze

In this article, we look at the benefits of having a church directory and how to create an online member database.

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Church Directory Software - How to Create Church Member Database

In This Article: 

Learn the benefits of taking your church directory online using software designed to build community and save your church time and money. 

What is a Church Directory Software?

Building community and keeping track of your members is critical for church growth. 

For decades churches have been creating church photo directories, including a list of contact information and pictures of church families. Directories are printed and distributed to the congregation to keep people connected. These directories often serve as an opportunity to document the life of the church, like a yearbook or family photo album. 

However, more and more churches are choosing to take their directories online. Church Directory Software allows staff and users to keep information up-to-date so your congregation has easy access to current addresses, phone numbers, and the emails of church members. 

Pros and Cons Between a Printed vs Online Directory

While some churches like being able to provide a hardcopy of their church photo directory to members (everyone loves pictures, afterall), printed versions become outdated almost as soon as someone hits “print”.  

It might seem intimidating to learn new software, but the long-term benefits of using an online directory will ease the stress of putting a directory together every year. Plus, some online software like Instant Church Directory and Breeze even allow you to print hardcopies for those who prefer staying analog. 

What are Online Church Directory Benefits?

Before you worry about the time it will take to set up your online church directory, let’s consider some of the pros and cons between printed and online directories. 

PROS of a Printed Church Directory 

  • Gets information directly into people’s hands 
  • Great way to document church history 

CONS of a Printed Church Directory 

  • Quickly become outdated as people move, get married, change their phone number, or your church updates its logo 
  • Cost of printing can be high, especially if you’re churning out new ones regularly 
  • You’ll need software and someone to design the directory (time and $$$) 
  • Use is limited to home or office 
  • You’ll need to order additional copies to replace lost or damaged directories
  • Printed directories can make newcomers feel left out 

PROS of an Online Church Directory 

  • Contact information, photos, and member data are easy to input and maintain 
  • Church members can access and update contact information anytime, anywhere through a mobile app for their iPhone or Android 
  • Protect member data by allowing church members control of what information gets shared publicly 
  • You can often subscribe for a free trial to explore all features of the software you choose, including tools, reports, apps, messaging services, and other products; make sure to check out reviews from customers before you commit  

CONS of an Online Church Directory 

  • A subscription-based software will require a monthly or annual fee
  • Someone on your team will need to learn the software 
  • You’ll need an approval process for updating profiles

How to Create a Church Member Database using Software?

1. Determine the details you want to include.

Once you’ve decided to go digital (it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t), you’ll need to determine what personal information you want to include. Profiles can usually be organized by individuals and families to show an accurate depiction of your church family. Profiles can include anything from name and phone number to baptism dates and events attended. 

2. Consider your church's unique approval process.

But which information will you actually share with everyone? Administrators will be able to see what information has been submitted, but you won’t want to display every detail for the whole church to see.  

Keep in mind the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”) limits the information you can share online about children. Children’s profiles should include their first names only. Do not disclose critical information like their address, phone number, or pictures of the child.  

Administrators will need to approve profile updates on the backend, so remember to create a process that’s easy for staff or volunteers to maintain. 

3. Create a strategy to gather members' data.

Collecting data from church members can seem daunting at first, but use the opportunity to get creative and have fun with your congregation.  

Hire a photographer or ask a volunteer to take photos of church members at your next big event or before and after services. To collect the data: 

  • Print forms for people to fill out 
  • Add a link to sign up on your website 
  • Text the link to your congregation 
  • Station volunteers in the lobby with mobile devices (think iPads or Tablets) so people can sign up on the spot 

You’ll need a solid church management software in place to keep everything organized. 

4. Using software, create your church directory.

Once you’ve collected everyone’s information and added all the paper forms, your church directory is almost ready. Ask a volunteer or intern to load each photo, and then make sure a staff member approves everything before you send out a link to the directory. 

5. Share and roll out your church directory.

Now that the hard part is done, it’s time to share your online directory with your church family! Draft an email or consider texting the link to your congregation. If you choose to print hardcopies, let people know where to get one. 

Example of Family and Individual Church Records to Include

There’s a wide range of information you can collect from church members. Generally, the longer someone has attended your church (and you’ve been utilizing church management software), the more detailed their profile will be. Here’s a list of information to consider:  

  • Name 
  • Address 
  • Phone number 
  • Email  
  • Ministries someone is involved in 
  • Events attended
  • Membership records 
  • Significant dates like baptism or christening, birthdays, anniversaries, death and burial, etc. 
  • Notes specific to each member, like food allergies, businesses they own, or links to their social media 

Good software will allow you to add form questions to personalize your church records and make the most of your church directory.

3 Main Types of Church Directory Software

Whatever your church mission or goals, there are many options available that will help you create a Church Directory.  

1. Online Software 

Online software is easy to update, promotes member engagement, and is user-friendly. Senior church members might miss out on the familiarity of a printed church directory, but most others will be glad you made the switch. 

2. Offline Software

Offline Software stays on a computer in your church office. People love seeing the names and faces of people in a printed church directory, but that’s as far as this software will go. Someone will need to manually update member data and print new directories regularly, which can be costly and inefficient. 

3. Both Online and Offline Software

Finding a Church Directory Software with online and offline features will give you the best of both worlds. Allow church members to update their profiles in real-time and give your congregation access to important information with the touch of a button. Plus, you can still print a few hardcopies to have on hand in the foyer.   

How to Choose the Best Church Directory Software?

Choose a church directory software that is easy to use and includes all the features you need. Breeze is a great option for churches looking to upgrade their church management software. The online church management software is an easy-to-use, all-in-one approach to: 

  • Store member data
  • Manage events and check-in
  • Collect tithes and donations through text and online giving 
  • Send church emails and texts 
  • Create online and print directories managed by administrators and accessible to church members  

Breeze is just $72/month for access to all of its features. No gimmicks, add-ons, or price increases as your congregation grows. 

Discover Breeze and don’t forget to check out this video for more information. Customer support is also available. 


Online church directory software should be able to grow with the membership of your church. Save time and money by subscribing to a cloud-based software that will keep your focus on ministry (after all, it’s why you do what you do). 

Church Directory Software FAQs

Does The Church Need A Church Directory?

Congregations of any size or denomination will benefit from an online church directory. Build community and manage member information through an online platform personalized just for you. 

Should We Include Children's Information? 

Include children’s information on their family profile, but limit what you share publicly. Review the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”) for more. 

How do you create a digital church?

To create a digital church, you’ll need to start with a church management software like Breeze that will take you online… in a breeze. 

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