Church Newsletters: 15+ Awesome Communication Strategies

What are church newsletters?

Church newsletters are publications that inform readers of the current events in and around the church. They go by many names, including bulletins and magazines.

Many newsletters are passed out during the church service, but there are also email newsletters that allow members to receive news wherever they are.

Other names for church newsletters

Church bulletins
Church magazines
Church newspapers
Church publications

The Basics of Church Newsletters

What Should They Include?

News

The best church newsletters include news about the past, current, and upcoming events in and around the church community.

Itinerary

Most church newsletters include an itinerary for the week’s service with details about the songs that will be played and the passages that will be read for members to follow along with.

Scripture of the month

Some churches choose to highlight certain passages as they fit a sermon series’ themes, while others include particularly poignant passages in light of recent events.

Genuine Photos

It’s important to include photos of your members participating in events. The best photos are candid, genuine pictures of congregants laughing and worshipping.

A message from the pastor

Including a short message from the pastor, preacher, or other church leadership is an important part of every church newsletter.

Topics of inspiration

Many church members look to the bulletin for words of comfort or inspiration. Including short, uplifting passages in your newsletter is always a good idea.

Profiles of Members

Quite a few churches include articles in their monthly newsletters that celebrate church members and their good works in and around the community.

Contact information

In case your current or potential members need to get in contact with you, you should include the church’s email address, phone number, and mailing address.

When do you send newsletters out?

Question 1: How large is your audience?

A large church looking at their church's newsletter on their phones.

Larger churches

Larger churches may run into the issue of having too much to report too often. For instance, you may have 5 weddings in the span of two weekends. In order to give all of these announcements fair treatment, you may consider sending out weekly or biweekly publications.

Smaller churches

Smaller churches, by that same logic, may have fewer updates to report, and therefore would only need to send out a monthly newsletter. They may only have enough to fill up one bulletin a month, but that one bulletin will definitely be a quality publication!

Question 2: What info are you including?

A church member reads a church newsletter on her phone.

In-depth info

More in-depth articles and profiles on figures in the community necessitate thorough research, writing, and editing time. If you’re aiming to include top-notch content in every newsletter, you might find it best to stick to a monthly schedule.

Quick updates

On the flip side of that coin, if you’re merely including quick updates, upcoming events, and itineraries, you can more easily crank out a weekly newsletter. Saving all of that up for a monthly newsletter could become overwhelming.

Question 3: Who will be in charge?

A designated writer types up the church email newsletter.

A designated writer

If you have room in your budget to employ someone to be in charge of church communications, then you should absolutely take advantage of that and send out more frequent updates. It may also be a volunteer effort that’s coordinated by a few people.

Church administrators

If you don’t have a designated writer or volunteers to take care of the newsletter, you may consider lightening your church administrator’s load by decreasing the frequency of publication. To read more about the job of a church administrator, click here.

Question 4: Will you use email or paper?

A church sends out an email church newsletter with one of @Pay's email tithing buttons.

Email

It’s important that you send out an email newsletter in addition to your paper bulletin for all of your members who weren’t able to attend the service. This may mean publishing weekly as well as monthly.

Paper

Having a paper newsletter to pass out during the service means that you’ll have to create one for each week. Many of your constituents may enjoy this option in addition to your email newsletter.

Where do you send them?

Have greeters pass them out

Before or after each church service, have your morning greeters pass out the week’s newsletter or bulletin.

Send emails to subscribers

Make sure you update your subscriber mailing list as soon as you receive new email addresses from new or existing members.

Mail out paper newsletters

For those that request them, send out paper newsletters to keep the whole congregation in the loop.

Who should write your newsletter?

Church Administrators

Church administrators should be in charge of setting publication dates and working on the logistics of getting newsletters out on time.

Pastors, Ministers, Preachers

Pastors should contribute weekly or monthly articles to the newsletters, guiding the congregation through passages or sermon themes.

Staff and Leadership

Staff and leadership should be contributing the majority of the content for the newsletters, from articles to itineraries and more.

Church Members

From time to time, it’s important to include the words of your church’s members. Highlight at least one member a month to make them feel appreciated.

How long should a newsletter be?

Email newsletter length

When you’re writing your church’s email newsletter, make sure that you keep it under 500-1,000 words.

Also be sure to cut out extra words, but not images, and to minimize your paragraphs to 1-4 lines.

Paper bulletin length

As you’re putting together a paper newsletter, keep in mind that 2-3 pages should be the max. If you have more to say, you can print on both sides of the paper.

You may also want to break up articles into columns (as you would in a newspaper) to make it easier to read.

Practical Advice for Writing Church Newsletters

Best Practices for Writing a Church Newsletter

Perform A/B subject line testing

To make sure that your newsletters are being opened, it’s important to run A/B subject line testing. Pinpoint what resonates best with your congregation.

Use a personal tone in your copy

Newsletters should be written as though they were an informative conversation between one church leader and one member. Keep it informal and interesting.

Draw attention with formatting

If you have a particularly important point you want to emphasize, try drawing attention to it by using bold and italics sparingly throughout the newsletter.

Ask for direct feedback

You can’t improve if you never ask for feedback. Every once in a while, send out a quick survey to gauge how well you’re doing and what you could do better.

Link out to relevant content

Have you recently read an inspiring post on another pastor’s website? Be sure to link out to other relevant church content to keep your newsletter fresh.

Pick an objective for each letter

The best newsletters have a clear purpose (like informing readers or telling a story) behind them. Make sure your newsletter has an obvious point to it.

Tips for Stellar Newsletter Design

Craft a header with a logo

One of the first things readers will see is your newsletter’s header. Make sure it’s properly branded with your church’s logo, colors, and font.

Establish a color scheme

Maintaining a consistent color scheme throughout your newsletters guarantees that they’ll be easier to read and instantly recognizable to your members.

Use a sans serif font

While serif fonts, like Times New Roman, may work best for printed publications, sans serif fonts, like Arial, are much easier to read on the web.

Create subheadings

Few things break up a newsletter better than subheadings. Make your newsletter more scannable by adding headings and subheadings throughout.

Stack content for mobile users

Many of your readers will be opening your newsletters on their phones. Stack your content vertically to ensure mobile users can view them easily.

Balance text out with images

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Try to balance out large chunks of important text with meaningful images to enhance your readers’ experience.

Advice for naming your church newsletter

Use a traditional name

Perhaps you have a newsletter name that’s been around for longer than any of your leadership. If that’s the case, it’s 100% okay to stick to a tried-and-true classic.

Open up a naming contest

If you don’t have a great name already, or you’re short of ideas, you can always host a naming contest with a special prize for the winner.

Have the board take a vote

When it comes down to decision time, you may want to involve your church’s board. Allow them to vote on their favorite name.

Let the pastor decide

In case it comes down to a tie-breaker, you can let your pastor decide the name of your church newsletter.

Tips for increasing readership

Incorporate feedback

When your members see that you’ve incorporated their feedback into the church newsletter, they’ll be far more invested in your publication. People enjoy when their voices are obviously being heard.

Bonus: Having an open dialogue with your members means they’ll be more likely to engage across the board.

Encourage members to subscribe

Whenever you get the chance, encourage new and existing members to subscribe to your email newsletter. Take time before, during, or after services to gather email addresses for your subscription list.

Bonus: Pass around an email sign-up sheet at all of your church events and watch as your subscription list grows!

Add social media sharing buttons

Adding a social media sharing button (or two or three) to your email newsletters will increase the chances that your newsletter spreads to others who might be interested in joining your church.

Bonus: The more social media buttons you add, the more opportunities you’ll have to spread the Good News.

Click Below to Learn How @Pay Can Help

Learn more about how @Pay can help you increase tithing through your church newsletters today.

Enhancing Your Existing Church Newsletter

Track Key Metrics to Improve

Clickthroughs

Keeping track of clickthrough rates can help you determine and shape your future newsletters.

If more people clicked on certain types of content within your article, you know to continue writing that kind of content going forward. 

List growth

Each month, look back on your email list. If you have more subscribers this month than last, you know that you’re on the right track.

The larger your subscription list grows, the more likely it is that you’ll see an increase in church membership. 

Delivery rate

This rate can be calculated by subtracting the number of “bounced” emails from the total number of emails you’ve sent.

Your average delivery rate should be 95%. If it’s lower, it might be time to clean up your mailing list.

Forward rate

The more people who forward your email newsletter, the more potential new members your church may gain.

Track forward rate by including a call-to-action with a trackable link to forward the newsletter to a friend. 

Switch up your layout

Select another layout

Many email newsletter templates have several layout options within them. If you’ve been using the same layout for years, it may be time to change it up a little.

Play around with different layouts until you find one that adds a little more life to your church newsletter. 

Choose a different template

If you’ve tried switching up your layout, but you have yet to find something that works, you can always choose a different template.

Try to pick a template that has multiple layouts that could potentially work for your church down the road. 

De-clutter your content

Few things are more distracting to a reader than chunky blocks of text and cluttered content with no pictures to break it all up.

To optimize a reader’s experience, cut down on the number of lines per paragraph and the number of paragraphs in each of your articles. 

Update your calls-to-action

Whether it’s signing up for the latest retreat or giving to this month’s charity, it’s important that your calls-to-action remain up-to-date.

Switch up your calls-to-action at least once a month to keep readers clicking on them and following through. 

Look for fresh content ideas

Try out quote generating sites

Church email newsletter subscribers love quotes that they can walk away with. If they remember nothing else about your newsletter, they’ll likely remember the monthly or weekly quote.

In order to spice up your newsletter each month (or week), try using a site that generates fresh, applicable quotes on a regular basis. 

Give video content a whirl

Visual content, videos especially, can actually add a great deal of value to your church’s email newsletter.

The best email newsletters contain videos of pastors addressing the congregation, highlights from events, and any other pertinent clips. 

Conduct a round-robin interview

Instead of sticking with the same-old, same-old interview style, you can always try interviewing church members and leadership round-robin style.

Gather together a panel of interviewers (or interviewees) and ask an array of questions to get the most well-rounded responses. 

Host a content contest

Just as you can host a contest to pick a new name for your newsletter, you can also create a content contest.

The person who comes up with the best new ideas for newsletter content should get to guest author an article or two. 

Why you should use email software

Software allows you to send emails in bulk

You’ll likely have hundreds of subscribers once you get on a roll (thousands if you have a larger church).

It’s important to use an email platform that allows you to send out as many emails as you need without tipping off spam filters. 

You can find an array of templates

Most email software providers should offer some type of template for your church to choose from.

It’s crucial to find an email provider that offers the kind of variety and options that your church is looking for. 

You can schedule your newsletters

You may find that the best time to send out your church’s email newsletter is in the middle of the night so that it reaches your congregants first thing in the morning.

In cases like that, it’s nice to be able to rely on a service that automatically sends out your newsletter whenever you schedule it. 

Software lets you review analytics

If you can’t keep track of your email newsletters’ performance, you’ll never be able to improve your techniques.

That’s why it’s incredibly vital to find an email software provider that allows you to analyze your emails from multiple angles. 

Add a way to give or tithe directly

Email donation buttons

A church member sends a gift through a church email newsletter thanks to an email donation button.

Email giving buttons allow your church’s members to give without ever leaving their inboxes. All they need to do is select the amount they’d like to give, confirm their payment, and their credit or debit cards will automatically be charged.

The best part? It only takes 2 clicks for church members to tithe. 

Online giving portals

A church member views a church newsletter on his laptop and decides to give through an online giving portal.

Online giving portals also allow church members to give swiftly and securely. With @Pay’s suite of online and mobile giving options, your church’s members only need to input their info once to give across the platform.

The best part? You can insert the link anywhere within your newsletter. 

Learn more about how @Pay can help you increase tithing through your church newsletters today.