How to Format Church Bulletins

How do you let the members of your church know about all the things you have planned? One way is by creating and distributing a printed weekly bulletin. This allows you to highlight upcoming events, share church news and create opportunities for people to connect.

Events and activities can be arranged by date, by age groups, by ministries or by importance. You could start at the beginning of the month and list each event, day by day. Or, if you have a big event to promote, you can make that event a headline, even if it's out of date order. Another style would be listing events by ministry groups--all the women's events in one place, all the men's events in one place, kids, seniors, music groups and youth. Give each group a "corner" of your bulletin so they can readily identify events designed for them.

Provide all relevant details. Make sure you always answer these questions in each announcement; who, what, where, when, why and how. It does no good to announce an event if your congregation doesn't know when it will happen, how much it will cost, how they sign up or where it will be held.

If you cannot include all the details due to space restrictions, give them a second route to find the details, such as looking at your website or calling the office during business hours.

Write the announcement for the first time visitor to your church, not to the member. When you read your bulletin, pretend you have walked into your church for the first time. Would your announcements make sense if you were a newcomer? For instance, don't use nicknames for rooms, like "Everyone meet in the Green Room." Because a newcomer wouldn't know how to locate that room. Instead say "Meet in room 204, next to the staircase in the lobby." Better to give too much info to your members than not enough for your guests. Also, avoid using first names, such as "If you want to attend the retreat, talk to Joe." If you are a visitor, you don't know who Joe is, so you won't sign up. Instead say "If you want to attend the retreat, speak to someone at the Men's table in the lobby for more information." Make your the directions in your bulletin easy to follow for anyone.

Have your regularly scheduled weekly events in a chart. If you have certain events that happen every week, have them all in one location so people can see them at a glance. For instance:

Weekend Worship Sundays @ 8AM 10AM & 12PM

Monday AA Meeting @ 6:PM

Tuesday MOPS @ 10AM

Wednesday Bible Study @ 7PM

Friday Night Pot Lucks @ 7PM

Then, if you have additional things that happen rarely, highlight those in full paragraphs.

Proof your program for spelling and grammar. You don't want your bulletin end up on Jay Leno's bloopers.

Make sure to print enough copies for 10 percent more people than you expect. Better to throw a few away than not have enough.

Make a page for blank notes so people can take notes at the sermon during service.

List the church phone number, e-mail address and website in a visible spot.

Add the names and titles for your pastoral staff.

Have the pastor or worship leader verbally announce your key events in conjunction with the printed bulletin.

Don't announce events that aren't open to the whole congregation.

Don't announce events that are already full.