The fact is, most church newsletters do little to nothing to help grow a church… in fact, many church newsletters we’ve reviewed may be a part of the reason why a church isn’t growing.
Here are a couple of do’s and don’ts to help you develop a newsletter that will at least aid your church growth efforts. In this case, we’ll start with the don’ts first.
- Don’t berate your congregation or chastise your leaders or belittle anybody in your newsletter. Sadly, this is #1 on our list because we’ve seen so many pastors use their newsletter articles as bully pulpits. Use your grandmother’s common sense. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
- Don’t write up synopses of how well past events went. And especially don’t write up synopses of how poorly past events went. Think to the future.
- Don’t make announcements in the newsletter that pertain to a limited segment of your congregation. Board members shouldn’t be depending on the newsletter to remind them when the next meeting is. The leaders of the board and committees and teams should be doing the reminding in a more personal way. (However, it’s perfectly okay to put meetings on the church calendar – even the one being published with your newsletter.)
- Don’t use your newsletter to publicly thank people instead of taking the time to personally write a thank-you note or to thank someone in person. A public thank you has little impact, but a handwritten note will blow people’s minds.
- Don’t overcrowd your newsletter. If it looks crowded, no one will read it.
- Staff and other leaders who write articles for the newsletter should write helpful “how to” articles. For instance, the pastor could write an article on how to pray at work – the article should either foreshadow the upcoming sermon series or further the effect of the current series.. The children’s director could write an article on how to engage children in interesting spiritual conversations. The worship leader could write an article on how to engage in one-minute worship retreats during your commute. Articles should be of interest to prospective visitors and guests.
- Use the articles for blog posts on your website.
- Create ads for upcoming events. Don’t depend on verbose prose about the upcoming retreat. Design a display ad that’s not only attractive, but eye-catching as well.
- Make sure every single article and ad is relevant to your readers – especially your readers not currently in the church.
- Send the newsletter (by email or snail mail) to every visitor who crosses your threshold. Don’t take them off the email list unless they ask to be removed. Don’t take anyone off the snail mail list until they haven’t been heard from for over a year.
Question: What are some other guidelines for producing an effective newsletter? Share your tips in the Comments section below.