You spend a lot of time and money getting these bulletins ready every week, so at some point, we need to actually focus on making sure that they are doing their job of sharing what’s going on at the church and how new visitors can get involved.
For some reason we think this is our prime spot to put everything we do at the church. All the announcements. But the more text there is, the less someone will read, and then at that point what is the point?
We’re such visual creatures, in fact, a group of MIT neuroscientists found out that our brain can identify images seen in as little as 13 milliseconds. Utilizing images, shapes and icons make your bulletins attention-grabbing and memorable. That’s the key!
So I’m gonna give you 3 super common mistakes that churches make with their bulletin. We’re not talking design and colors or anything like that. You spend a lot of time and money getting these bulletins ready every week, so at some point, we need to actually focus on making sure that they are doing what they are intended to do.
Mistake #1: Thinking “The more the better”
Include the necessary information—no more, no less. Well, how do you decide what’s necessary? It all seems necessary, right? And also if you cut back it might leave ministries fighting for inclusion, but you’ll create a more effective bulletin.
So how do you decide what should be included in your bulletin and what shouldn’t? Where’s the line?
Well think of it this way, there are three tiers for everything in your church. There’s the High Power, Medium Power, and Low Power. Every event or announcement is going to fit into 1 of the 3 tiers. Where a huge annual church-wide event might be a High Power event, the monthly men’s breakfast may be a Low Power. You can also look at the percentage of church members that this announcement or event effects and use that to decide where each announcement ranks.
Church Juice did a great job of creating a graph similar to this one to help decide where each announcement should be posted. Notice how only High Power announcements are included in the bulletin? Include the other two categories and that’s when it starts to look cluttered and people stop reading.
Mistake #2: Bulletin Inserts
Why are bulletin inserts even a thing? It’s because it’s more information that we wanted to include but it wouldn’t actually fit in the bulletin itself. It’s simply just a matter of adding MORE information. But we already determined that there is a tier system that helps you determine what information is included.
And slipping in those inserts into your bulletin while you are trying to cut back on the information in the bulletin is just like cheating on your diet, and slipping in just a little bit of ice cream while you’re eating your salad trying to cut back on calories.
Also, remember that this is your first impression for many of the people grabbing a bulletin. Well, think about those mothers who are rushing into the church with their hands full. They have a kid in one hand and a coffee in the other, and you just handed them a bulletin with 15 different inserts bulging out of it. They grab your bulletin and the inserts go flying. Now in frustration, they feel like they have to collect the mess of papers across the floor.
Now was that worth it? Was it worth cheating on your bulletin diet? No! This just goes back to the first point of including no more than you already need.
Mistake #3: Not Simplifying Details
Are you trying to introduce your people to something new to your church? A lot of churches are trying to get people to move to “Text to Give” services, or to download their church app. There are going to be people in your church that struggle with that technology. It’s simply something new. So take the space to make it super simple to understand. It can be confusing for people who are doing it for the first time.
Ask yourself how can I break this process down into bite-size steps? Nothing is too simple to be included in your steps, because just because it’s simple to you doesn’t mean it’s simple to everyone.