I’ll start off by being transparent about this blog post. d2design was built on selling church bulletins. However, over the past three years we have seen our bulletin business steadily drop. The reasons churches cancel their bulletin orders range from budget issues to the simple fact that the church has decided bulletins are no longer necessary.

So, are church bulletins relevant? Should churches just use digital bulletins or no form of bulletin at all?

I’ve come up with four reasons why we still think bulletins are a great resource for the church:

1. Bulletins aren’t a distraction

I’ve visited a church or two that used digital rather than printed bulletins. You could download the bulletin from the Web site and view it on your iPad or phone. This is a cool idea, and it saves paper, money and time. It is also a great way for the church to incorporate new technology to attract a niche audience.

However, a glowing smart device can be a distraction for others in the congregation. Also, smart phones and iPads can be a distraction to the user. A paper bulletin won’t notify you of a new tweet, text, or e-mail while you take notes on it. Digital devices used in place on old-fashioned note-taking can really get your mind off of the message.

2. Bulletins communicate clearly

Bulletins, more than Web sites, are a great resource for communicating important details about weekly events and announcements without someone having to search for the information.

Don’t get me wrong; I 100% support churches having Web sites. But for a visitor, simply taking a bulletin and immediately reading about church news and activities is just more feasible.  It is also a great way to communicate who your church is and what your church cares about without someone ever having to go online.

3. Bulletins are Inexpensive

Churches have taken a big hit during the recession. When incomes go down, so do tithes. Churches have to find ways to tighten up spending, so bulletins might be one of the first things to go.

Bulletins are inexpensive, whether you purchase them through us, through another company, or print them internally. What other tool can you use to inform people of events in the church, gather a new visitor’s information, and supply sermon notes for just pennies each? I can’t think of one. But, please, if you have another resource, let us know in the comments section.

4. Bulletins are convenient

Bulletins are convenient for the church because they are an affordable marketing piece that is placed into the hands of new visitors and members each week. Yes, some people will just throw their bulletins away, but others will store them in a notebook or their Bible. Every time they see those bulletins, they will be reminded of your church.

Bulletins are also convenient for visitors and members. Some people prefer handwritten notes. And some prefer reading announcements on a hard copy, so having a bulletin and a Web site allows those from different backgrounds to choose how they gather information.

Where does your church stand on bulletins? What other options are out there? Please feel free to discuss in the comments section.