In our current digital culture, paper bulletins are often given a bad rap. After all, why do we need to waste money printing bulletins when they contain content readily found on the church website and are usually left on the pews after worship anyway?
Sure, this may often be the case, but the paper bulletin can serve a purpose. Here are three reasons to consider keeping it:
Bulletins Can Provide Worship Guidance
This is important for guests or people who cannot see projection screens well. Though the majority of your audience will know what is happening, a new person may want to see what to expect. Someone with impaired vision may find the bulletin easier to read. Placing the liturgy in your bulletin is a great option to help alleviate some of these hindrances.
Bulletins Can Tell Your Story
If your bulletin only contains worship service information, consider adding a few short paragraphs about what is happening in your church family. Did a youth group have a successful mission trip? Did a small group participate in a community initiative? Whatever God is doing in and through your church members is something worth sharing. Yes, these may also be blog posts, but having a short article in your bulletin keeps people who are not connected online in the loop about your church family.
Bulletins Can Help Your Marketing Strategy
This is the most compelling reason for keeping the bulletin. A bulletin can actually help you with your digital strategy. How? Many times older members of the church feel left out because their events don’t “meet the criteria” for the bulletin, email newsletter, a stage announcement, or a Facebook event. Because the older generation typically relies on the bulletin to let them know what’s going on in the church, when they see their events listed or stories being told they are less likely to request other forms of communication, like email and social media, that are better suited for younger demographics. Including their events in a bulletin doesn’t hurt the larger audience because, chances are, they aren’t reading it anyway. It does, however, serve the smaller audience and helps them feel included.
Should you keep your bulletin? If the overwhelming majority of your church members are younger and digitally connected in several ways, perhaps not. But, if you have a multi-generational church, the answer is yes.