Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Church newsletters aren’t well-known for being entertaining. In fact, many of your members probably don’t even glance at it, whether it’s print or email.
You may dream of creating a must-read church newsletter. You know, the kind that people look forward to and share with others. This doesn’t have to be a dream.
By revamping your newsletter, you can go from bland to amazing in no time. You might even find that if you offer an email subscription, your church grows both offline and online.
Table of contents
- 1. Make It Useful
- 2. Avoid Getting Too Wordy
- 3. Include The Basics
- 4. Add In Images
- 5. Get A Little Funny
- 6. Use A Variety Of Content
- 7. Check Out The Competition
- 8. Ask Your Members
- 9. Make Information Unique
- 10. Let Other People Contribute
- 11. Avoid Being 100% Serious
- 12. Empower Readers To Take Action
- 13. Go Digital
- 14. Have A Purpose For Each Newsletter
- 15. Skip The Bland Subject Line
- 16. Go Beyond Just Events
- 17. Encourage Sharing
1. Make It Useful
People have information overload on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis. Your newsletter has to stand out and be something that’s useful to your members.
Many church newsletters follow the same format:
- Quick word from the pastor
- List of upcoming events
- A call to volunteer
- Results of the last event
- Scripture or suggested reading
For the most part, all of this is information they already know. There are likely flyers up at the church about upcoming events. If you have a church website, all the events should be listed there too.
Overall, it’s just not an overly useful newsletter. Think about things that would actually help your members. Adding a short Bible study, links to suggested blog posts (your own and others), family-friendly area events (not just church), prayer requests and so on are all useful things to include.
2. Avoid Getting Too Wordy
Most members aren’t going to want you to hand them a book for a print newsletter. Of course, they don’t want to scroll forever either when it comes to email.
Keep your newsletters as short as possible. Divide each one into short, but useful segments.
For email, use links to send readers to extra resources, such as events (just list the next upcoming event in the newsletter itself), a blog post Bible study, interesting Christian articles and a video of your last sermon.
Think of it this way. If someone gave you 100 words to read versus 1000, which would you be more likely to check out on a regular basis? As a busy person, you’d probably choose the shorter, especially if can be just as useful.
3. Include The Basics
In an effort to get creative and create a must-read church newsletter, some churches leave out the basics. There are some staples that should stay in your newsletters, such as:
- Volunteering and fundraising
- Church updates (if needed, such as status of a new building project)
As long as you include some simple basic information, then you can get as creative as you want. Just make sure your members are enjoying your creativity.
4. Add In Images
No matter what formats you use for your newsletter, you need to break up the text. Too many lines of text together can blur, especially when it comes to mobile and older readers. Adding in images helps break up blocks of text and allows readers to quickly find the information they’re looking for.
Plus, people remember what they read better when it’s associated with an image. In fact, people remember 80% of what they see, but only 20% of what the read.
Mixing images in helps members actually remember what they read in your newsletter. This also makes them much more likely to want to read your next issue.
The great thing is churches can access plenty of free and low-cost graphics to use for print, email and web-based newsletters. Find the best church graphics with our post about free and premium options. For the more artsy types, we also wrote a post on the best free platforms for creating your own church graphics.
5. Get A Little Funny
People love to laugh and it’s good for you. For a must-read church newsletter, make it funny. Start each newsletter with a cute Christian-friendly joke or short anecdote. You could even create your own funny comics or see if a volunteer wants to do this.
Funny things give people something to look forward to, especially if they’re feeling down about the world around them. Plus, people love to share things they find amusing.
If you’re looking to expand your church’s reach, give your readers something they’ll want to share. It may all start with a joke, but it could easily get numerous non-members checking out your newsletter. Locals may decide to check out your church in person while non-locals may start following your church online.
6. Use A Variety Of Content
The best way to create a must-read church newsletter is to use a variety of content. Thom Rainer offers up 10 suggestions, including:
- Something to share on social media (helps with church growth)
- Upcoming sermon title
- Worship songs coming up (makes it easier to prepare and participate)
- An inspiring note from the pastor or another church leader
- List the most important upcoming dates
- Daily Bible passages (can include a week’s worth in a single newsletter)
- Scripture to remember and study
- Inspiring links
- Major prayer requests or needs
- Volunteer opportunities and requests
While you don’t have to include all of these, this is just a list of ideas. Some other suggestions include:
- Something funny
- Answers to questions from your members
- Volunteer spotlight (it’s good to recognize volunteers for their hard work)
- Inspiring story from a member
As mentioned before, get creative. Your newsletter should be engaging and fit the needs of your members.
7. Check Out The Competition
Most churches have newsletters, but some obviously stand out. So, check out some of those to see what makes them different. Communicate Jesus has a great list of church newsletter examples for you to download from actual churches.
You don’t have to copy them to create a must-read church newsletter. Instead, let those examples inspire you. You can learn everything from types of content to effective ways to format your newsletter.
8. Ask Your Members
Your church newsletter is for your members, so why not get them involved? Ask them what they like and don’t like about your current newsletter. Talk to them about how often they read it.
Create a list of content ideas and present it to them. Have them vote on what would be most important and useful to them. Also, ask for suggestions. You’d be amazed at just how helpful your members can be when you give them a chance to provide feedback.
Also, continue asking for feedback as you craft a great newsletter. It may take multiple tries to get it just right. But, be patient and it will all work out.
9. Make Information Unique
Is your church newsletter just reiterating exactly what’s on your church’s physical bulletin board and your website? If so, why does anyone need the newsletter?
Add something completely unique to your newsletter. Having exclusive content makes your newsletter go from “why bother” to “can’t miss.” Links to great content, a special message from the pastor and even a custom joke all give readers a reason to pay attention to the newsletter.
10. Let Other People Contribute
Sometimes church newsletters are boring simply because church leaders don’t have the time to do anything else. You have an entire church family ready to help.
If your members are involved, they’ll feel it’s definitely a must-read church newsletter. Ask them to contribute stories, links, anecdotes, volunteer updates, fundraiser news, area events and questions to answer.
Create a small group of volunteers to go through the contributions and choose what to include. If you get a large number of contributions, you may want to only ask for contributions every few months.
11. Avoid Being 100% Serious
The world is already too serious. Make your church newsletter a mix of serious and light-hearted. If you have prayer requests for a dying church member, also include a story of someone who beat the odds or some sweet, inspiring story.
If members always feel down after reading your newsletter, they won’t want to pick up another one. Instead, mix things up to give your members a much better variety of content and even lift their spirits.
12. Empower Readers To Take Action
What should a reader take away from your newsletter? Ask them to take action when they’re done.
For instance, you could ask them to do any of the following:
- Help at least one person this week
- Pray for a stranger they’ve seen lately
- Start a prayer and/or gratitude journal
- Memorize scripture
- Volunteer, either at church or in the community
- Share one inspiring story on social media or face-to-face
You’re not asking them to do homework, but just to take some type of action. This helps them to grow even more in their faith.
13. Go Digital
If you don’t have a digital version, now’s the time to start. If you’re trying to expand your reach or even just appeal to younger members, you need to create a digital church newsletter.
This can be strictly email-based or available on your church website too. Many churches ask that site visitors sign up for the newsletter. This is why it’s important to have more than just church-specific news in your newsletter.
Of course, you shouldn’t ditch your print version. Some of your members may not even have access to the Internet or understand how email works and that’s fine. A print and digital version allow you to interact with all your members.
14. Have A Purpose For Each Newsletter
Much like a sermon, have a theme or purpose for every newsletter. For instance, you might have an entire newsletter focused around God and animals. Or, talk about grief or anger or any other emotion.
A purpose makes it easier to find the right content to add. Plus, if you know upcoming themes, it’s easier to ask for related contributions for your members. At the start of each month, list your themes and ask for contributions. This makes it easier for your members to stay on topic.
You can talk about the upcoming themes at church or in your church’s blog. This gets your members excited and helps to create a must-read church newsletter.
15. Skip The Bland Subject Line
For email church newsletters, you need a catchy subject line. It’s not unusual for people to dozens and even over 100 emails per day. Your church newsletter might get passed over if it just says “This Church Newsletter.”
Instead, give some indication of what’s in it. For example, a subject line might say “Winter’s Really Heating Up At Church Name” and include details about fun winter events, stories that warm your heart and more.
You could even use your newsletter’s theme to help inspire the subject line. Just make sure the subject line still has something to do with your church so it’s immediately obvious who it’s from.
16. Go Beyond Just Events
If you have a busy church, it’s easy to get caught up just listing one event after another. Even if you have 20 events coming up, you don’t need to list them all in a single newsletter. Instead, list the most important or urgent save the date events.
Ask readers to visit your church’s Events page or contact a certain number for full details of upcoming events. You could also hand out a special Events flyer at the beginning of each month for members to keep track of what’s going on. This could be a calendar format with special events, fundraisers, important meetings, volunteer opportunities and anything else members might need to know the date for.
17. Encourage Sharing
Finally, a must-read church newsletter should be shared. Encourage your members to help your newsletter reach more people. If it’s a print newsletter, ask them to share it with a friend or family member. Make it easy for them to share links to the digital version on social media or even forward the newsletter to others.
For even more help creating a better church newsletter, use Mobile Cause’s guide and free templates. The templates are a great way to get started and create a newsletter your members will love much faster.
Want a church website to go with your must-read church newsletter? See how our church website services help you create an engaging site that will inspire visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
Wonderful information. Thanks a bunch!
Thank you a good start
The seventeen points for establishing a church newsletter are thoughtful with meaning, understanding and clarity.
This information will be a great asset to me as I get started on the newsletter.
Thanks, Curtis! We are so glad it was helpful.
Wonderful information, very helpful for we are starting a newsletter for the first time.