Perhaps you're here because you've started a new church, or you're looking to introduce bulletins to your congregation. I get it, figuring out where to begin might feel a bit overwhelming, but don't worry!
Despite the initial uncertainty, this article will guide you through a straightforward process to create a bulletin for your church.
What is a Church Bulletin?
The church bulletin plays a vital role in keeping your church community connected. While weekly emails are valuable, our inboxes can get overwhelming, causing us to miss important updates. The bulletin is your go-to source for all church news.
It serves a dual purpose: keeping members informed and giving first time visitors a glimpse of the church's identity. Attending just one service doesn't capture the full picture, and a first time visitor might not subscribe to emails right away.
That's where the bulletin comes in. It's an inviting entry point, allowing visitors to explore upcoming events, bible studies, youth programs, small groups, and outreach initiatives. It's like an open invitation to connect, engage, and discover the vibrant community your church offers. And hey, if your church hosts an Easter church event or Christmas Dinner, your congregation will find it in there too!
What Makes A Good Church Bulletin?
I think a lot of churches gave up on their weekly bulletin when the pandemic hit, but this basic handout at a church service can actually be a key way to keep your church in the loop, especially if they are receiving it in person.
If you have a graphic designer in your church family that can be a huge help, but if you don’t, it's ok! With a touch of creativity in the design and some engaging content, you can easily whip up a bulletin that your congregation will want to check out every single week!
Beyond Blah: Good Content is key
No one's up for tackling a lengthy church bulletin, whether it be the reader or the one creating it. Keep the details short and sweet—folks these days don't have time for an information overload. Use some breathing room with white space, split up big blocks of text, and slap on bold headlines that guide readers straight to the good stuff.
Rock the Routine
Don't underestimate the power of consistency. Keeping your church bulletin in a consistent format gives the congregation a heads-up on what’s going on every week. Being steady with the format and what info is inside builds trust—the congregation knows they will find the scoop about what is going on in the church.
But don't worry, you can still make room for creativity if needed. Switching the cover, tossing in new colors to match a preaching series, changing a font, or mixing in different visuals will help keep the excitement alive.
Don't forget to direct them to other ways of communication. When you share info or more details in different channels like emails, your church website, or social media, church goers are more likely to stay connected and jump into action.
How To Create A Church Bulletin
To keep this process simple, have a routine that you (and your church leader team) follow when creating the bulletin each week. If you are gathering information from other people to put into the bulletin, this consistent routine will help everyone stay on task and know what to expect each week—whether it’s the deadline or when to get the info in or sermon notes. Here are some steps to take when creating your church bulletin.
1. Find your purpose
The first step that you need to figure out with your leadership team is the purpose behind the bulletin. Do you want it to be a quick snapshot of the upcoming week? Is it a more detailed roadmap for your worship service, or a simple order of service? Once you have established a purpose and vision for your bulletin, you can then map out what you want your layout to look like.
2. Create a bulletin “blueprint”
Now it's time to embark on the great “template hunt”. Depending on what info you want to include, it’s best to create a template that you can update each week, instead of creating the bulletin from scratch each week.
It may be helpful to get some help from your team for this part. Think about what information you really want to stand out in the bulletin. Is it your leadership crew? Or the lowdown on small group and prayer meet-ups this week? Or maybe it's all about the sermon notes and scripture readings? Will you include prayer requests?
Sometimes nailing the right template feels a bit like juggling—you want to make sure it fits just right with the info you're sharing and is high quality. It might take a bit of trial and error to figure out which church bulletin template works best for your church.
3. Content gathering
Now begins the hard work. It's time to round up the content! It's best to start on the bulletin at the beginning of the week, so that it's ready for the Sunday Service. Start by setting up a meeting with the lead pastor. Plan ahead and jot down the things they want to cover in the bulletin for that week.
Getting content for your church bulletin really is like putting together a puzzle that fits your church community. So you want to make sure it's all accurate.
You may have a working church calendar, but it's also important to talk to the other church leaders, event organizers, and folks in charge to get all the details on upcoming events, sermon topics, and must-know news. Does your pastor want a mini welcome message included each week? What Bible verse do they want?
Listen carefully, jotting down what's important. When you tie all these bits together, you're making a picture that informs and hopefully inspires and excites your church family!
If you are waiting to hear back on details on church events, give your church leaders deadlines to get back to you so that you can get the correct information in time.
4. It’s writing time
Once you have received all the information and content you need, it's time to put all the information into the template. It's important to create short and straightforward text for every section. Make sure to watch out for proper grammar, accurate spelling, and tidy formatting. Keep the language and wording simple so that everyone can easily grasp it.
When you are done, have another pair of eyes look at it. It's best to also print one to make sure the margins are all correct and the layout looks clear. It's also easier for someone to write notes and edit if there are any errors.
3 Church Bulletin Best Practices
Sometimes your weekly bulletin formatting can feel like you are on autopilot. Sometimes the task of the bulletin may start to feel mundane to perhaps not only you, but the people you are relying on each week to get the info. Here are some best practices to remember when creating your bulletin.
Keep the vision alive!
Keeping the bulletin's vision alive within the leadership team will really be the heart of the bulletin. Have chats often where you all talk about the church bulletin's main goal, and figure out how to match what you put in with that goal.
Let creativity flow but stay true to what you're aiming for. Show, don't just tell—be a living example of the vision. Stress the need to chat lots and work as a team so the bulletin stays real and connected to what your church stands for.
I can't stress enough how important of a communication tool the bulletin is, and it really can be a form of outreach. Your church shouldn’t be relying solely on the church website or social media for communication. If the members of your church are feeling and hearing constant communication from the church, it keeps churchgoers and first time visitors informed and engaged and really does communicate that you are family!
Stay Simple and Encouraging
Make sure the bulletin's tone and design is all about lifting folks up and giving them a boost. Imagine it's a friendly chat that brings smiles and encouragement. Don't use the bulletin as a place to scold or nag at the congregation. Use words that make hearts feel light, and spread news that makes everyone excited.
Whether it's a little note to cheer someone up or news about what's coming, the bulletin should be like a big hug or high-five, something that shares Christ's love, that reminds everyone they're in a caring family that's got their back.
This is the same with the headings within your bulletin. Think of clear headings like friendly street signs in a busy town. Just as a well-lit shop sign tells you what's inside, headings tell readers what's in each part of the bulletin.
When your congregation opens it up, they should easily find sections like "Upcoming Events," "Sermon Highlights," or "Community News." It's like a roadmap that helps everyone find what they're looking for quickly, making your bulletin a super easy way to get the scoop on everything.
Back in elementary school, there was this teacher who had a unique way of helping us out. Whenever we got stuck or needed guidance, he'd shout out "KISS"—which stood for:
"Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
Well, maybe not the most encouraging saying, so let's just stick with "keep it simple, silly!" But when it comes to the church bulletin, the secret to nailing it is keeping it simple!
Keep it simple for the folks reading it, keep the church announcements simple, and keep the whole process straightforward for others to share information with you for the bulletin. Make sure the church bulletin template is simple for you to fill in every week. The success and lasting power of the bulletin hinge on how simplified you make the process.
So, if you're ever feeling overwhelmed, just remember to "KISS"
What Are Your Thoughts?
I'm also keen to hear insights about your church bulletin! Have you observed successful strategies in your bulletin? Are there specific elements that you have noticed that have helped your church communication? If your church doesn't use bulletins, how do you facilitate connection and information sharing?
We are called to work in community, none of us should be doing this alone, so it's so great when we can share ideas and learn from one another.
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