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4 Tips to Make Your Bulletins Valuable

Did you know that your Sunday bulletin might be some of the most important real estate in your church? What other document has a higher likelihood of getting into the hands of a guest? And for that matter, what method of communicating has a 90%+ chance to get in front of your regular congregants?
Why then do most churches treat their bulletin as an afterthought, instead of a valuable tool for communicating important messages to their guests and regular attenders? Here are four guidelines to make your Sunday bulletins the most valuable tools in your communication arsenal.
Use your bulletin to share critical next steps for your people. Obviously, depending on your particular tribe or style of worship, some portion of your bulletin is dedicated to the liturgy of the service. The remaining space should be treated like the property next to Central Park. Use the space for announcements to give your audience opportunities to respond to a call to action or to take the next step in their relationship with Jesus. Make sure you include opportunities for your guests to engage also, like “coffee with the pastor” or classes to learn more about your church. These valuable slots for announcements need to be limited to those calls to action that could impact 80% of your audience and closely align with the vision and mission of the church.
Speak directly to your guests. Since there is an extremely high probability that your guests will receive a bulletin on their way into your sanctuary or worship center, show that you were expecting them and give them some important information. First, take a moment to welcome them to your church. Second, give them guidance on where their kids go during worship or information about Sunday School. Finally, let them know where they can get more information or their questions answered and how they can connect with your church during the week, either at events, on the website, or through social media.
Eliminate clutter in your layout. Creating guidelines for what content needs to go in your bulletin can help you eliminate one of the worst habits, cramming. The main problem to avoid is cramming and jamming as many announcements into your bulletin that not only becomes hard on the eyes, but generates static so your important messages get lost in the noise. Be kind to your readers and give them plenty of white space so their eyes don’t get fatigued. Another way to make sure the layout is user-friendly is to limit the use of graphics where you are sharing important information. Too many colors and competing images can make your reader’s eye weary and again it only contributes to the noise.
Make the bulletin an important component of worship. As we have discussed, the bulletin’s primary role is to convey the liturgy for your worship service. A pleasing layout, with a legible font, and clear direction is an important way to make it an effective piece. I would suggest that you approach the bulletin as part of your comprehensive worship planning. What I mean is to make sure you include worship themes like a series graphic and to include content and announcements that compliment the message of your service. For example, if you make verbal announcements before or during the service, don’t just regurgitate the same information in the bulletin, highlight one or two major points and direct them to the bulletin and your website for more information.
Treat your worship bulletins as valuable real estate by making them an important part of a coordinated worship effort. If you do, they will become a valuable tool for your guests and members to engage with the mission of your church because they will be a trusted guide every week.

One Comment

  • Great thoughts, Mark. I agree – we could use our bulletins much more effectively and I really like the thought of graphics to support the theme of a particular service.

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