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Design, Marketing, Social Media | Jan. 9, 2013

Are Church Bulletins Necessary?

Are Church Bulletins Necessary

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.

 

Sarah Blackmon Church Marketing Specialist, d2design
Sarah Blackmon Church Marketing Specialist, d2design
  • I have often asked myself this question for the past 2 years and have come to the same conclusions. Printed bulletins are an inexpensive way to communicate to visitors and regular members/attendees. Glad to see I’m not alone in my thinking! 🙂

    Sarah

    • Susan Lafosse

      Beckwith Baptist
      We have gone through this discussion too with several different opinions. We have an older congregation and are actively pursuing outreach. (isn’t everyone?) Our website serves a great purpose but I do not see it replacing the paper bulletin.

      • Sarah Blackmon

        I think the majority of the older and younger generations enjoy a church bulletin, as long as it is easy to read and everyone can pull out the important things they need, I don’t see the church bulletin ever going away.

  • bozzdroid

    I myself don’t ever use paper in church, 100% digital and it works for me. But I do see the use of them for others. I think it is great to see a church offer both that way the member can choose. And then you can gage the usage of the bulletins in paper form and maybe cut back on printing cost. Just a view..Awesome Blog with important and relevant information…

    • Sarah

      Agreed. Having both options would be quite nice.

  • I’m curious if you’ve seen any good ways of doing bulletins digitally. We’d like to improve on our sustainability as it’s a great way to love people. Maybe a QR code with a link? A link on the screen? Any software or ideas you guys have?

    • Sarah

      Jason,

      We’ve had some client that switched to digital bulletins. But I can’t say I’ve seen any spectacular examples of this being done. I’ve seen anything from no bulletin at all, to a bulletin being scanned and uploaded to the website as a PDF. Nothing that blew me away.

      QR codes are great, but data shows a lot of people don’t scan them. So that becomes an issue right there.

      Maybe create a data base of members who would prefer to go green and use digital only bulletins. Then on Saturdays you could send out an email blast to them with the bulletin. And everyone who prefers a hard copy can pick it up Sunday morning instead.

      Keep us posted.

  • frontlinechurch

    We use both in our church. We have about 1000 members who meet in 6 different services every Sunday, so one centralised bulletin sheet being given out on the door is a must-have really. We also post the news sheet on issuu.com every week and post it to our social media accounts so people can access it if they need/want to.