There was a time when bulletins were a fact of life for Sunday mornings. They were used every week and every person received one on their way in the doors. Sometimes they overflowed with flyers, connection cards, and offering envelopes, and often they ended up in the trash can on the way out.
While usage of bulletins is declining and some churches may see them as “old fashioned” they do play an important role in your church when you’re hosting a lot of visitors - say at Easter, Christmas, and other special Sundays. Here is why:
A website, email, phone app or even video announcements are a great way to communicate to your regular weekly attenders but a first time visitor may not have access to those electronic tools and let’s face it, you can’t take a video home with you to review.
As church marketing expert Steve Fogg points out, “Your printed bulletin is brilliant for people who are still finding their way into your church. I know for some of you tech savvy people this feels old and slow. But as communicators we need to communicate at our audience’s pace. Not our own.”
A church bulletin should be seen as a tool your church can use to reinforce your branding and to communicate with someone who is new to your church family.
What’s the purpose of a church bulletin? A good church bulletin helps guests connect with your church. It tells them who’s who, what activities you offer, and gives them a place to take notes during the service.
The benefits of a church bulletin are three fold:
They are tangible - A church bulletin gives a visitor something to hold onto, which is nice when you feel nervous. Plus if they find your church comfortable and interesting, they may take it home, read it through and use it a as a reference to come to another event.
They reduce the noise from stage - If your bulletin includes all your major events and activities with details including the who, what, where, when, and why of your church, you no longer have to say all of that from stage or in your video. You can just refer people to the bulletin and your website for details.
They tell your story in a short, easy way - Maybe every person in your congregation can recite the mission and vision of your church, but your visitors can learn a lot about the heart of your ministry when it’s in short form in your bulletin. They can also learn where they can go to get more information without having to ask a stranger.
When you put together your bulletin for the week, it’s tempting to include EVERYTHING. But really, you don’t want it to be cluttered or overwhelming. Here are the elements you really need:
That’s it! Creating a good church bulletin doesn’t have to be complicated. But it can make a big difference to a someone who is visiting your church for the first time.