Bulletin Nonsense in Many Churches
Many churches have thrown the traditional bulletin out the window, replacing them with "Worship Guides" or bulletins without the information members and guests really want. This creates a confusing state of affairs appearing to substitute meaningless change instead of meaningful change.
What Do People Want
Nationally noted church consultant Thom Rainer recently performef an informal survey of church members asking a simple question, "What do you want in a church bulletin?". His findings were astounding, going against the grain of the direction of what many churches are now doing.
Rainer's top 5 findings, in order of response, are listed below.
Respondents have little patience with bulletins filled with incorrect facts or grammatical errors. They are looking for a quality handout, worthy of their church's name, and in touch with our times.
Members are looking for space to write notes regarding the sermon. Many take these notes home for study. They're also looking for helps, outlines, and reference. This surprised me because I think they're a distraction.
Order of service
Without this, members and guests have no idea of what's coming, who's participating, and a time-frame of the service. Regardless how many pastors think they're being very modern by dispensing with this information, they're upsetting large numbers of people by doing away with it. As a professional church visitor, I find it very confusing, as would any guest, to understand what is going on without a reference as to what is planned.
This was a real surprise to me but members appear to like this data. It's a sign of health in the church. A pastor should not spend time berating giving patterns. Inclusion of giving data solves that issue.
Members indicated they don't mind some announcements in the bulletin, but would rather see them on a screen or video before or after the service, or on the church's website. Too many churches have pages of announcements to the point one has to literally wade through them.
I urge churches and pastors to reexamine this issue. Many in our local area appear to have leaped before they looked. There is abundant information and studies available to help such as the aforementioned Rainer study. To link to this study click HERE.