The church bulletin is a staple, tried and true, trusted in and relied on by all. Bored by the announcements? Peruse your well-loved bulletin. Looking for something to fill your calendar with Thursday night? Yep, the bulletin can help you out. Need to know if giving is up or down? (Depending on your church), your bulletin might just have the answer.
Yet if this is true, why are so many bulletins cast off to the church floor or left on seats, resigned to a destiny consisting of recycling or being thrown out with the styrofoam coffee cups?
What happens when printing costs rise, volunteer help is down, and people look less and less to paper and more to their iPhones?
OPTION 1: SCALE DOWN PRINT BULLETIN LENGTH
As with any change, executing the change slowly and carefully is the key within most organizations, but especially within churches. If you currently have an 8- or 12-page bulletin, perhaps the first step would be scaling it down in size if you’re moving towards cutting out the print bulletin altogether. This would be a good way to “test the waters” and see how much resistance you might get. While this isn’t a technology option, it should go hand-in-hand with the other three options below in order to ease out of the bulletin-creating cycle.
Thom S. Rainer blogged about Five Things Church Members Want in a Church Bulletin. His informal poll helped guide the list, and the comments below the article are worth reading:
OPTION 2: CREATE A MOBILE-FRIENDLY CHURCH WEBSITE
This option opens a can of worms because EVERY church should consider having a mobile-friendly website no matter what. I use this example within this discussion of church bulletins because your church can have a helpful church website with current events and information posted and a mobile-friendly interface that can be used effectively for bulletin-type information such as: sermon notes, current events, online registration, giving information, and much more. If your site is running on WordPress, WP Touch is a great free plugin to make your site more mobile-friendly. Better yet, use a content management solution (that’s fancy speak for church website software) that is natively responsive. This means it will scale to whatever device the user is using.
OPTION 3: UTILIZE YOUVERSION LIVE
While YouVersion Live does not take the place of a good mobile-friendly church website (nor should it), it can be a great tool for attenders to engage with during church services. It’s free for churches to use and can be a great way for folks to follow the sermon outline and take notes within the YouVersion app on their phones.
Users can follow along with message outlines and take notes, read related Bible verses and click through to the expanded passage, vote on a poll and see the results live, ask questions anonymously, give, request prayer, and take it all home with you on your phone. It works well on any web-enabled phone, tablet, or computer with internet connection.
OPTION 4: BUILD A CHURCH APP
Many churches – yes, even smaller ones – are seeing the benefit of creating their own church app. Whereas five years ago, a church needed a four or five figure budget to create their own church app, now it can be done for much, much less making it a mere pittance in cost when compared to the printing costs of the good ‘ole bulletin. Your church can set up a landing page that directs them to download the church app when they visit the church website from their device.
Through the app, the sky’s really the limit. Offer podcasts, sermon outlines, a place to take notes, online giving, registration for events, push notifications and updates through the week, and more. We have published a good list of church app providers here for you to check out.
Source: Church Tech Today
For more great ideas on how to communicate effectively with your congregation, contact one of our Shelby Ministry Consultants today!