Are you worried that your congregation is simply throwing their church bulletin away without actually reading it? Do you want to know that the church resources you spend valuable time creating are getting used?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, keep reading for our guide on the best practices when it comes to church bulletin announcements.
Why Do Church Bulletin Announcements Matter?
The obvious answer to this question is that if people do not read the announcements, they do not know where to be and when. However, it goes beyond that.
Your church bulletin announcements also show who you are to anyone who may be visiting. It shows your heart for God, people and serving your community.
When you write a church bulletin, how you do it matters. If people find the information there essential and engaging, they will engage with the information.
However, if it's simply a list of times and dates, they are less likely to spend the time it takes to really engage with the bulletin and see what is going on in the church.
The critical part of creating the best church bulletin is making it something your congregation cares about. That does not mean it needs to be a book but that you need to take the time to find out what your congregation wants in their bulletin.
Church Bulletin Announcements
When you consider what people want to see in a church bulletin, announcements easily hits the top five list. Yes, announcements should be on the church website. They should also be happening from the pulpit.
In addition, you can include church bulletin announcements on a screen before services start if you have that setup. However, members also want them in their bulletins.
For members who maintain physical calendars, this is a great tool to take and input upcoming events. For other members, they may use it as part of their prayer life and praying for the church.
The key is to not allow those announcements to clutter the bulletin. Unfortunately, for churches that have a lot of events, your bulletin can quickly become cluttered.
Here is the good news (lower case good news, not upper case Good News); you can easily work around this problem.
A Monthly Calendar
Prior to the month starting, include an extra insert in the bulletin. This insert will be your calendar for the upcoming month.
You can have a calendar on one side and descriptions of upcoming events on the other side. Throughout the month, only put announcements for the events coming that week in the actual bulletin.
You can also put flyers in the bulletin for big events. These flyers can be just a sheet of paper or a postcard. This can give all the details of the events you don't want members to miss.
What Announcements Should be in Your Bulletin?
Ultimately, sometimes you have to be picky. You cannot put every event in the bulletin.
However, how do you decide what is important and what is not? Brady Shearer, a church marketing expert, gives a great suggestion when it comes to announcements to present to the church.
His suggestion comes in regards to video announcements from the stage. But, it can easily apply to your church bulletin as well.
This suggestion is called the 50 percent rule.
What Is the 50 Percent Rule?
According to the rule, if the church bulletin announcement does not apply to 50 percent or more of the congregation, it shouldn't get announced from the stage.
But, if it isn't getting announced from the stage, shouldn't you put it in your church bulletin?
If a church bulletin announcement is only targeting a small group of people, it can be announced in smaller settings.
This includes a targeted email, small groups, Bible studies, Sunday school and the church website.
You can also include letters to pass out during small groups or place them in the narthex for members to pick up and read. For example, if your congregation is about to celebrate its anniversary, you could print a church announcement anniversary letter to distribute.
By employing these strategies, members continue to have access to all your announcements. And, you keep the clutter out of your church bulletin.
In addition, by following the 50 percent rule, you show your church that the announcements in your bulletin are important. If the announcements you list consistently do not apply to the people reading your church bulletin, they will stop reading.
How Should Church Bulletin Announcements Be Structured
When creating announcements for the church bulletin, consider what kind of structure it needs. You want to convey essential information in a format that is brief yet inspiring. To do this, utilize the five W's and one H.
Who does this event apply to? Make sure you include who the church bulletin announcement is for. If members are confused about whether or not the information applies to them, they may ask questions.
However, they may also skip over it.
What is the event you are announcing? This is the most basic information and should never be forgotten. Without the what, your members will have no idea what they should be attending or doing.
When is this taking place? Your announcement is ineffective if your members do not know when they are supposed to show up.
It is hard to inspire action through your church bulletin announcement without your when.
Where is this taking place? If your congregation does not know where it is, this is as bad as not knowing when.
Knowing when and where are essential to a church bulletin announcement. Without both, you leave your members with missing pieces to a puzzle.
Why should your members care? It's great to present the details of the event; those are needed.
However, you also need to convince your congregation to care about the event. To make people care about your event, take time to craft a church event promotion strategy. Creating a strategy doesn't take a lot of time or thought, but it will help ensure your event is a success.
Once they finish reading your church bulletin announcement, how do they respond? For effective church management, consider having a one-stop response. You can guide members to respond via your website.
Church Bulletin Announcements That Work
Now that you know what to include in your bulletin, you need to know how to write church bulletin announcements that actually get read.
Remember that part of this is taking the time to make sure that your members care about what is in your church bulletin.
Plan Your Church Bulletin Announcements Thoughtfully
Your announcements do not need to take hours to craft. However, you should be thoughtful when you are planning them.
Ask yourself, "what message do I want to convey with this announcement?" Your church members will hear the intention behind your words.
Make sure they receive the message you want conveyed through the church bulletin announcement.
Yes, you want your church to hear your intention. Yes, you want them to engage with the announcements. And, yes, you want them to have all the information.
However, that does not mean you need to be long winded. The last thing you want is an overly long announcement, like President Willam Henry Harrisons' lengthy inaugural speech that ultimately led to his death.
Be concise with your language and your announcements. If you have a youth group every Wednesday, you do not need a long announcement about this week's upcoming youth group unless it is something special.
Remember Your Vision
How do your announcements speak to your church vision and culture? These church bulletin announcements should reflect what is important to your community.
If you notice your announcements and events are not lining up with your church, it may be time to make some changes. A visitor walking into your church should be able to see who your church is through the announcements.
Your announcements reflect where you are spending your time. And remember, where you spend your time is where your treasure and heart truly is.
Include members to boost creativity and reduce the burden on staff. Do you have an announcement for an upcoming play for the church that the kids are doing?
Have one of the children draw artwork for the bulletin to go with the announcement. Do you have aspiring artists in your church?
Have them create art or photos for your bulletin. By doing this, you can include members and encourage them. However, it also will help with interest in your church bulletin announcements.
If you know someone within the church helped create the artwork for the bulletin, you are more likely to keep it and look through it. It also makes your bulletin more visually appealing.
Give Members a Way to Respond to Announcements
If you announce that you still need eight volunteers for your next community outreach, give people a place to sign up. This can be as simple as a piece of paper in the foyer of your church.
However, if you want more digital solutions, use your website. For example, you can have a page that includes a contact form for volunteers and describes the ministry.
Essentially, you want to issue a call to action for your church within your announcements.
Here's a great example of a church announcement with a call to action:
"Next Sunday will be our community picnic. It will take place at Memorial Park at 5 pm. The church will provide meat; please bring a side to share. As you exit the sanctuary, RSVP on the church website or at the kiosk in the lobby, and please let us know what dish you will be bringing."
This church bulletin announcement is brief, and at the end, there is a call to action.
Build a Community
Your bulletin is a great place to begin building a sense of community within your church. Make sure you advertise ways for people to connect, such as small groups.
Do you actively gather prayer requests from your congregation? Point members reading announcements to where they can access prayer requests to add to their daily prayer time.
You can also use your bulletin as a place to encourage members to stay in touch. This is as simple as adding a tab that can be torn off.
On this tab, you can include space for prayer requests, questions and a spot for visitors to fill out. You want to know who is visiting and reach out to them so they feel welcome.
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