Are you wondering what to put in a church newsletter? Let's take a look at the must-have components members and guests are looking for when they receive your newsletter on a weekly or monthly basis. We'll also identify how to make your newsletter appealing, capturing the interest of your audience and inspiring them to grow within your faith community.
In order to establish a consistent brand identity for your church, you will always want to include a nameplate in your church newsletter. Before you establish a nameplate for your church though, you'll want to decide on a name for the church newsletter.
Once you decide on a name, begin work on your nameplate. You can create church newsletter templates with your nameplate positioned in the same location to help build image and identity for your church.
It is ideal for the font choice and logo to be the same from issue to issue. You can also include the same formatting each month for the volume, date and subtitle. The goal here is to help make your newsletter immediately identifiable from just a glance as well as creating the voice and identity for your brand that you desire.
Message From the Pastor
This section can be an opportunity for the senior pastor, youth pastor, worship director, college pastor, associate pastor or children's ministry leaders to convey a message. This is a great place for any of these figures to share experiences, encouragement or stories with the rest of the church. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for members of the community to get to know each of these individuals better and on a more personal level.
In this part of your church newsletter, you can keep the community informed about what is going on at the church and how it is doing. You can also discuss how the church is responding to occurrences in your local community, on the national scale, and around the globe.
This is a place where you can discuss how recent events have gone. You can also use the space to give an overview of future plans for the church. Consider working to create clever headlines to help capture the attention of your audience. It's best to put all of the basic facts of the story in the opening paragraph, giving the reader the information they need and allowing them to choose whether or not they want to delve deeper into the topic.
When it comes to news, it's best to keep both sentences and paragraphs short. By allowing room for white space in between paragraphs, it helps to make the information more accessible and easy to digest.
Scripture of the Month
Having a "scripture of the month" section can be a great way to further explain highly important passages or verses of scripture. You might consider having a theme to your newsletter each month, and perhaps this section could choose a piece of scripture that reflects that theme. You also could choose to have the scripture of the month support an ongoing sermon series.
Another approach is to simply choose a scripture that has struck you recently. You can also use this part of the newsletter to help encourage Bible memory.
Topics of Inspiration
This section of your church newsletter is where you can focus on words that uplift and inspire your community. You could choose inspiration that is related to an ongoing teaching series, or you could use this as an opportunity to respond to a recent tragedy and offer encouragement to your readers.
You can also use this section to offer words of comfort, healing and hope to those in your community who have experienced loss.
Profile Church Members
One of the purposes of your church newsletter is to help build a sense of community within your church. By having a section that profiles members of your local or larger church, you can help readers get to know each other and establish connections.
This is a place you can interview pastors, teachers, artists, authors, musicians or local church members. Discuss their relationship with God, their relationship with the church and how they incorporate the lessons of the Bible in their own lives.
You can also use this section to introduce the newest members of the church. If there are any missions or special ministry projects going on, you can interview participants for updates and information regarding these.
Pictures and Images
Pictures are one of the most important components you can put into a church newsletter. Though it's extra work to add photos and images to your newsletter, it's worth it. Humans, after all, are visual creatures that process images a lot faster than they process text. This means that including pictures can help draw people to the newsletter and encourage them to spend more time with your newsletter.
Try taking actual photos of people in your church attending events and services. Instead of staged pictures, consider taking candids and action photos, as they are much more compelling and interesting.
You can use photo editing software to touch up your photos and get them ready for both your print and website newsletter. Make sure the images you choose are related to the nearby content so that your message is easier to access and supported by the images.
Don't be afraid to ask members of the community to submit relevant photos they have, too. It can be a wonderful way to build a sense of community for members and generate interest.
As a nonprofits, churches aren't as limited as businesses when using images of persons within their community. However, churches should still be proactive in developing a policy for using images of those within their congregation. This will help protect the church legally and protect any vulnerable members within the congregation.
First of all, when using images of minors, you'll definitely want to secure permissions first. You can do so by asking parents or guardians if it is okay to use images of their child during the children's sermon or during youth group. You can also use a standard release form, such as this free template.
Speaking of release forms, they're not a bad idea for your entire congregation. Although it's unlikely any of your members will make an issue of your church using their likeness in a church newsletter or other piece of media, it's the considerate thing to do.
Try handing out a standard photo release form, like this one, at the beginning of one of your services. You can put it within your church bulletins as an insert so that each member will get it. Your members will likely feel respected by this gesture that shows their privacy is a concern of church leadership.
When handing out the forms, let individuals know that you respect their privacy, which is why you're asking. Then explain that the forms will be collected to create a list of member preferences to help you honor their wishes. You can easily track the data on member photo preferences within a spreadsheet.
You might not always be able to find an image within your church community that fits every need within your newsletter. That's why stock photos can be good to sprinkle in amid your other photos. Just don't overdo it. Your newsletter needs to be unique if you want to build the sense of community you're striving for.
Because fair-use laws prevent churches from using copyrighted images for promotional material, you'll need to find royalty free images. Here are just a few sources that offer a wide variety of royalty free images.
You might consider doing a "this month in history" feature or choosing a different historical moment to highlight each month. You can talk about the history of your own church, but you can also talk about the history of Christianity as a whole.
This is a great opportunity to educate your members about the history of the church and the religion. When holidays are approaching, this is a time when you can discuss the historical background and significance of the holidays we celebrate.
Events and Announcements
You will want to make an organized and easy-to-understand list of upcoming events. This is also the section where you will want to discuss events that are further out in the future but that will require participation and planning in advance.
If there are any upcoming education opportunities that could benefit your congregation, this is a place to list them. You can also outline new serving opportunities and ministries. Make sure that you are answering the most important questions for every event in this section, meaning the "who, what, when, and where" of things.
For events that make require signing up in advance, make sure you make it clear how members can participate and where they should register.
Sometimes the most obvious things are the easiest to forget. In that vein, make sure you don't forget to include the contact information for your church. This means the phone number, physical address, website and email address. You can also put the contact information for key ministry leaders.
This information should be easy to find in the newsletter. Whether you choose to place it in the header or the footer, consider putting it in the same spot every month so members know where to find it when they need it.
For churches looking to grow their membership, it's important to understand the needs of those attending services. That's why surveys are one of the most valuable tools one can put in a church newsletter. If you've never done a survey for your church, it's easy. There are plenty of free tools and guides to help. Vanco created a free church survey guide any church can use as a starting point.
Call to Actions
Chances are that your church needs its members to do something. In most cases, it is to offer their support for the church community. That's why so many churches focus on stewardship within newsletters. But, instead of asking for a general donation, share a story about one of your church's programs. Include images and a detailed description of the positive outcomes the church program had. Then make your request for a donation.
Your members are generous, but they need to know where their donations are being used for them to be truly inspired to join the cause.
What to Put in a Church Newsletter: Additional Tips
There is an art to making an appealing church newsletter that can be developed over time. Here are some additional tips to help make your newsletter a success:
- Stand out by offering information that is genuinely useful to members.
- Keep it simple and avoid being too verbose.
- Don't be afraid to use humor.
- Make sure to have a wide variety of content to appeal to as many members as possible.
- Take a look at the bulletins of nearby churches or look at guides to get church newsletter ideas.
- Ask your members what they would like to see in your newsletter.
- Work to make the content unique to help inspire people to check out the newsletter every month.
- Invite church members to contribute and participate in the creation of the newsletter.
- Empower readers to take action by volunteering, memorizing scripture, helping someone in their life or any other number of Christian acts.
- Make sure you have a digital version in addition to a print version.
- Consider having a theme or a purpose for each newsletter.
- Make your subject lines interesting and eye-catching.
- Encourage members to share your newsletter with others.
Looking at other church newsletter examples from nearby congregations can be a great source of inspiration for creating your own newsletter. You will also want to spend some time brainstorming about who your audience is, which in marketing is referred to as your "target market." By understanding exactly who you are writing to, you can create a newsletter that is compelling and interesting to them.
Of course, there is a good chance your congregation is made up of a diverse group of people from all walks of life. However, they are likely to have some things in common.
Is most of your congregation made up of people who were born and raised in your town? Or are most members transplants who have moved to the area from elsewhere? Are there shared interests, concerns and passions that you can pinpoint among your congregation?
By taking time to explore who you are writing to, you will have much better luck connecting with them through your newsletters.
Church Newsletters Are an Important Component of Helping Your Church Grow and Thrive
In this day and age, it can feel difficult to increase member engagement in your church or to grow your congregation. There are many things competing for the attention of modern Americans, and attending church is something that sadly seems to slip between the cracks.
Once you've learned what to put in a church newsletter in general, you can continue tailoring and tweaking your newsletter as you get feedback from members. Encourage your members to let you know what they think and how they feel the newsletter can be improved.
By having a regular church newsletter, you can help encourage participation in the church and also produce materials that can be shared with potential new members. You can help to foster community and a sense of belonging.