October 5, 2023
In most faith communities, when a member or guest arrives for service, church bulletins are offered to attendees. These print communications from the church to its congregation and visitors can be a single black-and-white page with minimal content all the way to a full-color, multi-page booklet with comprehensive, detailed information. Most congregations fall somewhere in between, however, producing church bulletins of a page or two of helpful information.
This seemingly unimportant printing job is actually a huge opportunity for churches to connect directly with members, potential members, and any visitors from their community. So let’s take a look at how to make your church bulletins something that your church can use to give out important information but also something that your church can use as an outreach tool that goes directly into the hands of every member and guest.
With today’s trend of moving many things digital, some faith communities have taken this opportunity to save a little bit of printing money by swapping out a printed church bulletins for digital ones. But while a temporary switch to digital may have been a smart choice for some congregations, most people love the feel of holding a bulletin in their hands.
Many congregants use them to make notes during service, keep them as part of their weekly sermon notes, or refer to them for important news or dates. The move to electronic church bulletins hasn’t really caught on with churches because the physical bulletin contributes to the overall church experience in ways that a digital bulletin cannot, like providing a space for note taking or acting as a reminder of a church visit.
Creating church bulletins that your congregants will love and use begins with including elements that enhance their worship service experience. Church bulletins can host a wide variety of content that visitors and members alike will enjoy, use, and look forward to every week.
Church Information: The most basic content that all church bulletins should include is how to contact the church. This information should be prominently displayed on the front or the back cover of a bulletin so visitors or non-members can quickly access it. Many churches create memorable logos for their congregation and integrate some of the church’s contact information into them.
Leadership: An excellent way to ensure staff and leadership positions in the church are accessible is to include them in the weekly church bulletins.
Time-Sensitive Member Updates: One of the most helpful inclusions in church bulletins is membership news about the people. When appropriate, including an address, phone number, or room number of the member or a reminder of where to find those can help members send cards and flowers or visit those in need.
Order of Worship: The most common element in all church bulletins is the order of the service.
Prayer Requests: Many churches include a general section for those members in need of prayer. When a member requests specific prayers or wants to provide some context, a personal note from that member can even be included to help inform members of the special situation.
Sermon: Outside of the order of worship, information about the weekly sermon is often the content that many congregants look forward to reading in church bulletins.
Weekly Calendar: Bulletins are the ideal location to remind members and guests of weekly activities as well as provide information about upcoming events.
Welcome Note: Every bulletin can be personalized with a welcome message from the pulpit, the leadership team, or a specific staff or leader at the congregation. This message can be the same every week or it can be customized to coordinate with the weekly message, current events, important topics to the church, or the note’s focus and style can change from week to week.
Once you have an idea of the content that will work well for your congregation, tweaking how you present it can make the difference between a bulletin that will end up discarded on the pews after service and a bulletin that congregants look for when they walk in the doors each week.
1 Make your bulletin easy to read. Include enough white space so your bulletin doesn’t feel crowded. Keep the formatting consistent from week to week so members and visitors will know where to look for the big content pieces like the order of worship or the sermon notes. And put key information, like the church contact information, in a highly visible location so members and guests can always find it.
2 Make membership information obvious. When a guest decides to join your congregation, they should be able to easily see the information they need to do so. Create a spot that walks visitors through the steps for placing membership or a consistently located blurb that directs them to the information in the church building or to your church’s online resources.
3 A helpful bulletin inclusion is a place where visitors or members can access key congregation contact names and phone or email information.
4 Consider the bulletin size and associated fonts that work best for your congregation. Bulletins using too-small fonts may be a challenge for older members to read while bulletins that are smaller than one page may not contain enough information for guests and members to think of them as meaningful.
The size of the congregation and the volume of events and activities should dictate the way you present your bulletin. A single page may be too limiting for larger, more active groups while two or more folded pages may become difficult to fill regularly for a smaller church without a plan to include fun or rotating content.
5 A great way to make your bulletin interesting is to choose to spotlight a different group, event or activity each week. Youth Groups, “Primetimers,” Small Groups, Preschoolers, and Young Married groups all could benefit from a regular spotlight feature in the church’s weekly publication.
Working with a printer like Publishing Xpress can help you bring uplifting content to your church’s attendees every week with a well-designed church bulletin. Through a versatile tool like a bulletin, congregations can provide regular communication with their members by simply utilizing the same format each week and sending off the digital file to the printer.
Not only will the weekly task of creating meaningful content become convenient, but members will also be able to count on the type of content they can expect each week in the bulletin. And partnering with a quality printer like Publishing Xpress means that members can stay connected to their church and informed about their congregation with a beautiful bulletin every week so church leaders can keep their focus on why the church comes together for services.
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