Switching to a Monthly Bulletin: Why & How

Switching to a Monthly Bulletin: Why & How

August 17, 2016 by
The worship bulletin is the mother of all sacred cows in church communication.

For years I was hesitant to make a dramatic shift in the weekly bulletin. After all, it is the mother of all sacred cows in church communication. I considered changing formats or getting rid of it all together, but there was never a clear reason to change it.

That was until last year, when we made a significant change to our communication strategy by adding a mobile app.

Why a Mobile App?

A mobile app was a strategic decision due to the age and stage of our church body.

The goal was to provide a better mobile experience for watching sermons and accessing content. A mobile app was a strategic decision due to the age and stage of our church body.

We live in an area where it’s unlikely for people to attend every Sunday due to kid’s activities and being two hours equidistant from the beach and mountains.

Because the app would allow our congregation to access event information, it was the opportune moment to move away from a weekly bulletin.

Doing Some Research

Designing a print piece becomes much easier when you have clarity around the purpose and content.

I began to search online (places like Behance and Dribbble) and pulled print pieces I’ve collected from other churches to determine the size and layout.

I talked with other church communicators who produce a monthly bulletin to ask how they managed a monthly format including communicating the shift to ministry leaders, when communication requests needed to be submitted and how they get the bulletin into the hands of their people.

After going through the research process for content and design, I decided a new monthly bulletin would provide a high-level overview of upcoming events, a financial update and a story from a mission team or ministry.

Determining a Purpose for the Bulletin

Designing a print piece becomes much easier when you have clarity around the purpose and content.

For me, one of the biggest concerns with this change was ensuring we had information available for first time guests. We would only pass out the monthly bulletin the first Sunday of each month, so we still needed a weekly resource for guests.

For first time guests, we decided to pass out a simple front and back card branded to the sermon series. The card includes general first time guest info, an invitation to download the church app, a place for taking notes and a tear-off “Connection Card.” It wouldn’t change weekly, which would save us time and money.

Creating a Plan

After making the decision and identifying how the different pieces would work together, it was time to roll it out to our staff and ministry teams.

During a weekly staff meeting, I presented the new church app and told them that along with the launch of the app we would be switching to a monthly bulletin. I communicated that ministry leaders would need to submit communication requests by the 15th of the month prior to ensure we hit production deadlines.

We decided to make the shift happen in tandem with launching our church app.

Making the Change

You will never have the approval of every member of your church.

We passed out the first version of the monthly bulletin in January as we launched the church app. And you know what? I received great feedback.

Folks commented on the quality because by producing a monthly piece we were able to use a higher quality paper. People said how much they enjoyed reading a story from one of our missionary families.

There were no outraged cries of “how will we ever know what’s happening in our church without a weekly bulletin!”

But let’s get real, we definitely still have the crowd in our church that believes the bulletin should include every birthday, anniversary, baby shower, prayer request and ministry event. And that’s OK.

You will never have the approval of every member of your church. It’s OK to have people question or even disagree with your decisions—as long as you know the why and have a strategy behind your methods.

The Importance of Leadership Buy-In

Lastly, it’s important to have the support of your leadership and pastoral team when making a significant change.

I am one of the lucky communicators out there given the freedom to make decisions without jumping through approval hoops. Of course, I explained the change to our leaders and gave my reasoning but they have given me authority to make decisions.

If you need to get buy in from your senior leadership when it comes to the bulletin, then do your research and present to them why you believe it would be a positive change for your church.

Here are a few questions to consider when making the change to a monthly bulletin:

  • What purpose does your bulletin currently serve? Is there a better way to meet that need?
  • How would a monthly bulletin function within your different communication channels?
  • Can your ministry teams plan far enough ahead to still provide accurate information in a monthly format?

The bulletin can still be an effective communication tool; the challenge is finding the best way to use the tool for your church.

So are you ready to make the switch to a monthly bulletin?

Examples:

Read more: 4 reasons why we switched to a monthly bulletin.

Post By:

Carrie Evans


Carrie Evans is the communications director for Southbridge Fellowship in Raleigh, N.C. You can connect with her on Twitter or her blog.
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