The church bulletin. It’s the bane of many a church communication department’s existence.
That simple piece of folded paper can strike fear in any heart, leave a grown man whimpering in the corner, and make the sanest of people want to pull their hair out in frustration.
Okay, maybe it’s not all that bad, but if you’ve ever been tasked with producing a bulletin for your church service, you know it’s not an easy undertaking.
Cramming in all the upcoming events, organizing them by priority (if you’re lucky enough to know your leadership’s priority for specific ministries), deciding what goes in and what gets left out (or, in the case of smaller churches, what to fill the bulletin with), making sure all the pertinent church information is accounted for, and trying to make it all fit and still be legible is enough to make one’s head spin.
While there may be no master template to eliminate all the frustration of producing a church bulletin, the following points should serve as a guideline for what to include in your bulletin:
General Church Information
The hope is your church service will have many first-time visitors, and what better way to get information in their hands than the church bulletin? Put on your visitor’s hat and make sure you include brief, but understandable, information on:
- Your church’s mission
- Style of service
- Service times / locations
- Social media accounts
- Where to go for more information (both online and in person)
The bulletin is a great place to promote your current series. In most cases, this is THE most important information to include, and should be highlighted as such. Incorporate your sermon graphic, a blurb about the current weekend’s message, a taste of the upcoming weekend’s message, and where online people can find the sermon schedule.
Children’s / Youth Ministry
The children’s ministry in your church may not seem like a high priority for the weekend service, but I can guarantee you all the parents in your church want to know where their children will be and what they will be doing. Include a small section in the bulletin explaining what to expect from your children’s and youth ministries, and where they will be.
While smart phones and iPads abound in many churches, nothing replaces good ol’ pen and paper for jotting down a quick note — especially if your smart phone is running exceptionally slow that day. Include a small area for notes. Your people will thank you.
This is where the rubber meets the road in church bulletin creation. People want to know what events are happening that they might want to attend. For those in larger churches, this section can be tricky, especially if you have more upcoming events than space to promote them all.
Enter the priority list. Putting your upcoming events in order of priority will help in forming what goes in the bulletin. The following represents an event priority list for most churches:
- Weekend Next Step Events – any event that builds off the weekend series should come first. They tend to be the easiest to stir up engagement and are great avenues for seeing visitors get more involved;
- All Church Events – events that any one could attend should come next. Once you start promoting group-specific events (like men’s events), people tune out what doesn’t apply to them.
- Family / Community Events – events that deal with the family unit or building community within the church are great ways to see visitors and the less-engaged get involved. Things like marriage ministry, small groups, and bible studies.
- Discipleship Events – classes, bible studies, and discipleship workshops may seem like they belong higher on the list, but most people start attending a church not for lectures on apologetics, but for community. Include your discipleship events, but remember, people will grow in healthy community far more than in a class.
- Age / Group Specific Events – adult ministries, youth ministries, support ministries, and the like are geared toward a much smaller section of your church. While your church may emphasize these ministries and put them higher up in the priority list, for most churches, they are a lower priority.
Make sure to check with your church leadership to discover their priorities when it comes to church events.
You will never fully do away with the frustration around producing a church bulletin, but by including the above information, you will be on a much smooth path to creating an effective and informative weekend bulletin.