Whether you call it a church worship guide, a bulletin, or something else entirely, chances are, you have something you hand out to the congregation each Sunday with various information in it about your church. When designing our weekly worship guide, my goal is to make it actionable and engaging - something people want to take home and refer to throughout the week. Here are my top 5 tips for a better church worship guide.
I took over the design and printing process of our church’s worship guide about a year ago. Prior to that time, our administrative assistant was doing the best she could with what she knew how to use, but it was pretty lackluster, to say the least. I noticed, from week to week, most of them ended up in the seats after service, or in the trash.
So I set out to redesign our worship guide to make it more actionable and engaging – to make it more useful!
5 Tips for a More Engaging Church Bulletin
#1 - Only provide necessary and relevant information each week.
I’ve attended churches in the past that handed out a trifold worship guide with no white space, tiny print, and so much information that I couldn’t tell what was really important and what was just filler.
Here’s the thing: your church bulletin is not meant to replace your website, social media, emails, or any other form of communication. It’s meant to be an additional piece of your existing communication chain.
Essentially that means that you shouldn’t put ALL THE THINGS in your worship guide each week. Only include what is actually relevant at this time.
For example, we have tons of activities at our church throughout the year, but in the weekly worship guide, I only include the events that are coming up in the next month.
#2 - Make it visually appealing.
People are naturally drawn to visuals. That’s why Instagram and Pinterest have performed so well and grown so large – they have nothing but visuals!
Now, this doesn’t mean you should pack your worship guide with nothing but graphics.
Instead, think of how you can “dress up” your worship guide. For example, I update our cover based on the current sermon series. Let me show you a couple of examples:
The photo above is the cover of our current bifold worship guide as we discuss Joshua and the battle of Jericho. (The left side is the back cover, the right side is the front cover.) You can see that I’ve used a photo of a stone wall as the background to emulate the wall of Jericho, visually reinforcing the sermon topic.
The next example is a trifold worship guide I created for our Christmas series. The cover (far right) stayed the same throughout the series, but the words changed with each week of Advent.
You’ll also notice other visual elements in these examples, such as the colors of the lines, the geometric shapes, and some graphics for upcoming events. It keeps the eye engaged and makes you want to look at it.
BONUS TIP: Include white space. You don’t need to fill every space with words or graphics. Let people “breathe” visually.
#3 - Change it up to keep people engaged.
To piggyback on the previous tip, change up your worship guide every so often. You can see by my previous examples that I don’t stick to the same layout, size, or cover all the time.
If we have more information to share, I create a trifold bulletin. Less info – bifold. As I mentioned before, the cover changes based on either the season or the sermon series, and I’ll even change the fonts and colors.
I love changing our worship guide when the sermon series changes. It lets our congregation know that something new is happening, and to pay attention. I know a lot of people use the notes page and stick them in their bibles, and the covers let them know which sermons go together, too!
#4 - Highlight important facts about your church.
Fun fact: People don’t know what they don’t know.
We have been providing free coffee service every Sunday morning since the beginning of time, but it’s always news to somebody that we have volunteers who handle that each week. When I share in our worship guide that we need more coffee volunteers, inevitably, someone comes to me and says, “I didn’t realize I could serve like that! Sign me up!“
Your worship guide should be a resource, but not one that packs in too much information at once. (See tip #1). Instead, choose different facts to share each week.
Maybe you want to share your church’s mission statement one week, the next week, you’ll share volunteer opportunities, and the following week, you’ll highlight one of the ministry areas in your church and what they’ve been up to.
As people continue to attend your services, they’ll learn more about your church and all there is to offer!
#5 - Give them a reason to take it home.
Ideally, you want your congregation to take their church bulletin home in order to refer to it throughout the week, but how do you get them to do that?
One way we do that is by adding a “notes” page in every worship guide, and the pastor encourages them to take notes during the sermon. If people write notes on their worship guide, they are less likely to leave it behind.
Another thing we’ve done in the past is include an order form or registration form as a tear-off page. For example, around Easter, we sell hams as a fundraiser. The inside cover page is a tear-off order form.
FREE CANVA TEMPLATES COMING SOON!
I’m working on creating templates that you will be able to drop into Canva and edit to fit your church. I’ll have a bifold and trifold template, and a tutorial to show you how to edit them.
If you’d like access to these templates when they are ready, be sure to sign up for my email list below!