7 Tips to Improve Your Church Bulletin

7 Tips to Improve Your Church Bulletin

March 14, 2016 by

Your church bulletin is one of the most underrated, yet important weapons in your communications arsenal.

Used well it can be a weapon for good. Used badly it can be a weapon of mass distraction—a.k.a. the doodle sheet while the preacher speaks (I’m sure that never happens in your church).

The church bulletin is like a Swiss army knife—a really useful tool that can do many different things.

Here are seven bulletin tips that may help you refocus and relaunch your bulletin to become that effective tool that it once was.

1. Talk With Key Stakeholders First

Before you implement your new and improved church bulletin, talk through the changes with your leaders. Share why it will be better.

Have lots of conversations with key peer stakeholders who regularly use the bulletin. This will help them feel invested in improving the bulletin. Make sure you’re staying true to the purpose of your bulletin.

2. Listen to Feedback

Most communications pieces are under the permanent spotlight of public attention with many varied opinions about what has been done.

I receive regular feedback from our community about our communication assets. Some of the feedback actually helps us understand our audience and what they need.

Keep a file of the useful feedback for the next iteration of your bulletin. If a change is something that will help you now, change it up now.

Your bulletin should provide a distraction free environment to help your audience take a next step.

3. Make It Useful

The church bulletin is like a Swiss army knife. It is a really useful tool that can do many different things.

At the center of the bulletin’s role is its usefulness in providing on-ramps to being ministered to or ministering to others. Ask a new-ish person if it has been helpful to them as a signpost into different areas of your church community.

4. Less Is More

The phrase is cliched; but it’s also true. Have a clear editorial focus on what kind of content should be in the bulletin and what stays out.

Provide a distraction free environment to help your audience take a next step. These next steps should help your church achieve its goals.

You can also be brief in the length of the written announcements. We have a word limit and a style guide on how the announcement is structured. Here is just one example that we use:

  • Main Heading
  • Date | Time | Place
  • First sentence describes the situation.
  • Second sentence unpacks the benefit.
  • Call to action: either phone or email.

Here’s another template for announcements.

5. Spell and Grammar Check

All your good work and credibility can be undone by a simple spelling mistake or use of bad grammar.

Ensure someone who isn’t too invested and is detail oriented reads your bulletin. They will see things you don’t because you’ve seen it too many times.

Remind people how a more effective bulletin serves the church’s mission and vision.

6. Stop the Bloat

Finally you get to launch the new and improved updated bulletin! But over time requests come in unchecked and are added to the bulletin. Don’t let this happen!

Stay focused. Don’t allow the agendas of others (no matter how good) to divert the direction you are attempting to achieve. Remind people how a more effective bulletin serves the church’s mission and vision.

7. Update the Design Regularly

People get bored easily. When they see the same old thing every week they fall into a familiarity.

This leads to a lower receptivity to what you are trying to communicate. When you refresh the design, it can reinvigorate interest and curiosity.

Your Turn: More Bulletin Tips?

What has worked for you? What have you found that doesn’t work? Got any tips to share?

Post By:

Steve Fogg

Steve serves as the big cheese of communications at his church in Melbourne, Australia; he married way above his pay grade and has three children. Connect with him on his blog or on other social networks.
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3 Responses to “7 Tips to Improve Your Church Bulletin”

  • Bethany Davidson
    March 22, 2016

    What’s happening with those sketchy links under “Your Turn: More Bulletin Tips?”

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    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      March 23, 2016

      Ug. Sorry. We’ve had problems with spam injection links. We’re dealing with it as we speak. But thanks for letting us know—it’s been especially difficult because not everybody (especially us) can see those links. So it looks fine to me, but clearly you’re seeing junk.

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      • Kevin D. Hendricks
        March 30, 2016

        Bethany: We do have this under control now. Let me know if you continue to see any sketchy links. Thanks!

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