Outreach: Church communication and marketing tools

Why Bulletins are a great connection tool for Special Sundays

There was a time when bulletins were a fact of life for Sunday mornings. They were used every week and every person received one on their way in the doors. Sometimes they overflowed with flyers, connection cards, and offering envelopes, and often they ended up in the trash can on the way out.

While usage of bulletins is declining and some churches may see them as “old fashioned” they do play an important role in your church when you’re hosting a lot of visitors - say at Easter, Christmas, and other special Sundays. Here is why:

A website, email, phone app or even video announcements are a great way to communicate to your regular weekly attenders but a first time visitor may not have access to those electronic tools and let’s face it, you can’t take a video home with you to review.

As church marketing expert Steve Fogg points out, “Your printed bulletin is brilliant for people who are still finding their way into your church. I know for some of you tech savvy people this feels old and slow. But as communicators we need to communicate at our audience’s pace. Not our own.”

A church bulletin should be seen as a tool your church can use to reinforce your branding and to communicate with someone who is new to your church family.


What’s the purpose of a church bulletin? A good church bulletin helps guests connect with your church. It tells them who’s who, what activities you offer, and gives them a place to take notes during the service.

The benefits of a church bulletin are three fold:

They are tangible - A church bulletin gives a visitor something to hold onto, which is nice when you feel nervous. Plus if they find your church comfortable and interesting, they may take it home, read it through and use it a as a reference to come to another event.

They reduce the noise from stage - If your bulletin includes all your major events and activities with details including the who, what, where, when, and why of your church, you no longer have to say all of that from stage or in your video. You can just refer people to the bulletin and your website for details.

They tell your story in a short, easy way - Maybe every person in your congregation can recite the mission and vision of your church, but your visitors can learn a lot about the heart of your ministry when it’s in short form in your bulletin. They can also learn where they can go to get more information without having to ask a stranger.


When you put together your bulletin for the week, it’s tempting to include EVERYTHING. But really, you don’t want it to be cluttered or overwhelming. Here are the elements you really need:

  1. The church’s website address and all of your social media information. You want guests to know where to find you online. If you have an app, you should mention that and tell guests how to download it, too.
  2. Your physical address and phone number. Remember, they are going to take this home, in a week or two they may not remember these details.
  3. A welcome message from the pastor that is targeted at visitors. This message should affirm their decision to visit and talk about what the church offers that they may find helpful.
  4. Some sort of tear-off response card that visitors can complete and drop off for follow-up. It’s a good idea to offer a gift to the visitor when the card is turned in, or in your follow up letter.
  5. A listing of important events that cater to the majority of people reading the bulletin (ie: an all-church movie night vs. the over 60 women’s knitting club).
  6. Staff information - not every pastor and administrator needs to be included, but it’s a good idea to list children and youth pastors, the speaking pastor, and adult ministry pastor.
  7. Space for notes - give visitors room to take notes during the sermon or write down things they may have questions about.

That’s it! Creating a good church bulletin doesn’t have to be complicated. But it can make a big difference to a someone who is visiting your church for the first time.