Church Newsletter Basics
Do you publish a church newsletter? Maybe you're on the fence about it. It seems like it's one more thing to do, but people have been asking for one. In this post, we'll take a look at some of the advantages of writing a newsletter for your church and how to practically implement one. First, let's talk about why a digital newsletter is preferred over a printed one.
Church Newsletter -Digital vs Print
A digital church newsletter is the way to go today, unless you are serving a much older congregation who is not online, but that is becoming less and less common. *Robert Carnes in his article, Should Your Church Have an Email Newsletter shares the following ideas. You can post clickable links and videos when you use a digital platform. These are things that encourages your readers to interact, and not something that can be done with a printed copy.
*If you are sharing a longer story or article, you can put a snippet on the newsletter with a link to the text in its entirety. This allows you to keep the newsletter short and easily readable.
*Using video and links in your text also have the benefit of keeping your reader's attention by making the newsletter more interesting. I know, personally, I really like it when I am reading an article and there is a video to break it up. It doesn't need to be long, just enough to give your readers a diversion from reading the text. Interactive elements are available today so use them to make your newsletter a more interesting resource of information.
In this post, the information we share will be relating to a digital church newsletter.
Communication is vital within a church. People want to keep up on what's going on and feel connected to the leadership as well as to the other members of the congregation.
A church newsletter is a great way to communicate with your members, and probably the best way to do it online. (Robert Carnes) You may counter that idea with "what about social media?" Social media has its place for a church, but a newsletter has a definite advantage. *You can reach your exact target audience, such as your congregation. There are a variety of social media platforms and everyone may not be on the one you choose to post your news on. *You can't be sure it has reached everyone, whereas with a newsletter, you know it will end up in each person's inbox. Granted, you can't guarantee they will open it or read it, but we'll talk more about that later.
With a print version, you have to print it out and in many cases, pay postage to mail it. With a digital version, whether you are sending out a group email from your email platform or using a service like Mailchimp, you can do it for free, which is always attractive, especially to churches on a tighter budget. Mailchimp is free to use for the first 2000 subscribers.
Jonathan Howe, in his post, Eight Reasons Your Church Should Have an Email Newsletter, shares some good insight. It's a short article and worth the read.
Get Them to Read It
Now that we have looked at some of the reasons why to have a digital church newsletter, it's time to think about getting people to actually read it.
If you go to the trouble of writing and sending a newsletter, you want people to open it and read it. Here are some ideas from Jim Sweeney on how to get your church newsletter read. You can read his article in its entirety for even more suggestions.
- Share new info, don't just rehash what was said on Sunday from the pulpit. Make people feel like they may be missing something or they will be "out of the loop" if they don't read your newsletter.
- Short and sweet. Keep it short and easy to read. Use subheadings to make the different sections stand out. This makes it easy for people who want to scan it to find the topics they are interested in.
- Many voices. Get multiple people involved in writing it, as this will add some diversity and interest to the document. You can involve different ministry/outreach leaders and have them give an update on what's happening in their particular ministry. You can also include a message from the pastor in each edition.
What to Include
If this is sounding like something you would like to try incorporating into your communication strategy, what should you write about? Here are some things you can include in each newsletter.
- News – wedding/engagement announcements and photos or new groups starting in the church
- Ministry highlights – talk about a particular ministry of the church. Be sure to show photos and give updates
- Note from the pastor
- Special events coming up
- Member profiles
- Testimonials of God's answers to prayer
At our church, the secretary emails out a newsletter on the first of each month. It's very attractive and easy to consume. At this time, the newsletter is offered both in digital and print formats, but I am sure it will eventually go to all digital. It's a great way to keep up on things going on in the church and also read a monthly word from our pastor.
Consider add ing a church newsletter and get feedback from your congregation on whether they feel it is an asset to the church. If you use a service like Mailchimp, it's also possible to track how many people are opening it and clicking on links if you include them. It's a good way to analyze if your time is being well spent.
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