The church bulletin is far from dead, in fact, it’s alive and well at most churches. It holds treasured information including weekly announcements, budget details and attendance records, in addition to upcoming events, contact details for church staff, and maybe even a handy “new guest” tear off form or half a dozen inserts. While some churches have moved away from print-centric communication, others rely on it greatly.
If you’re still creating a weekly bulletin, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here are some ways to be strategic and ensure you have a successful church bulletin.
1) Be Intentional About What you Include
The bulletin is prime communication real estate for the life of your church. Because of this it tends to become an information dumping ground. It’s easy to overwhelm our readers with too many announcements and event details.
Take a step back and filter the information through the eyes of a guest or non-Christian. It doesn’t have to be wordy, but it does need to serve a ministry purpose.
- Is this information pertinent?
- Will the reader understand what the ministry is about?
- How can they get involved?
- Is the bulletin the best way to share this information?
- Is there a more intentional way to share this with the right group of people?
2) Repurpose Your Content
Let’s be honest. Time is our most valuable resource. You don’t have lots of it to spare.
So, don’t reinvent the wheel every time. Any time you work on a bulletin announcement, look for other ways you can share the same information.
Your listener has only read the announcement once and they aren’t tired of it yet. The challenge is, you’ve lived with it for a while, so it feels like you’ve conveyed it a lot of times. The reality is, you haven’t, your church is just getting up to speed about the announcement.
3) Confirm Your Information
Communication success is in the details. There is nothing worse than having to take valuable service time to verbally correct a bulletin announcement.
Take time to confirm dates, times, contact details and more when you put your bulletin together. You’ll be glad you did.
4) Make it Scannable
I hate to say it, but people aren’t reading your bulletin. Most are quickly browsing, looking for details that interest them and ignoring the rest. Help them find what is most important to them by visually directing them.
You can get creative by…
- Highlighting ministry names in bold
- Sharing details in a regular font
- Identifying contact details or registration info in italics
- Verbally highlighting the most pertinent announcements
5) Add Visual Elements
Our society is becoming increasingly visual and expects supporting images alongside information. Avoid using clip art, and look for images to reinforce your message or give your reader context for the announcement.
Need some inspiration? The Church Media Resource List has free and low cost image providers.
6) Let it Breathe
You don’t need to fill every square inch of the bulletin with something. Find a balance between the volume of information, the font size and the blank white space on the page.
It will help your reader digest the information better and not get overwhelmed by the text.
7) Track Your Numbers
Get in the habit of tracking the number of bulletins you print each week and the number of leftovers. It will help you notice seasonal changes and holiday bumps, allowing you to better steward your resources in the future.
I’ve created a Bulletin Use Tracking Worksheet to help with this. There are places to put your numbers, plus notes about the specific day. Feel free to use it in your church.