2/3’s of Congregation WASTES the Bulletin. #Crazy

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2/3’s of Congregation WASTES the Bulletin. #Crazy

I walked toward the Worship Center this past Sunday. An usher briefly caught my eye and handed me a ministry guide. I didn’t really want it but I felt like I had to. Ushers/greeters are good like that. It’s like they’ve been challenged to give away the most in order to win something. 

We started calling it a “Ministry Guide” awhile ago since calling it a “bulletin” started sounding like an old dying pamphlet that no one wanted. Some churches call it a “Worship Guide” to make it sound hip. Reality? Most don’t care what it’s called, they don’t want one. And every Sunday I find myself wondering why I ended up with it. 

Our church (quite wisely) slimmed the size down from a monster brochure to a small mini-flyer. At least they’re saving money. But I still don’t want one. 

Before our Bible Fellowship Class started (after service), I thought, I should flash poll the 60 people that were present. We’re a multigenerational class (20’s-60’s) so we’re a wonderful cross section of our church. Half go to the “blended” service and the other half go to our contemporary service (both have the same bulletin). This was NOT scientific; but based on church conversations it’s very typical. 

My findings:

  • 92% Received a Ministry Guide
  • 23% Glanced at It During/Before the Service
  • 8% Read Last Week’s Guide Sometime During the Week

Based on my quick survey this morning; only (about) 1/3 used the bulletin for its purpose (to communicate). Almost 70% totally had NO USE for the Bulletin. 

Stop the waste and madness! Print communication is dying. What should you do? 

  1. Stop forcing people to take one. Stop wasting money on a flyer that most people simply throw away. Let greeters actually greet. Put a table out so people can pick up a bulletin IF THEY WANT ONE! You’ll be surprised how few are taken.
  2. Make your Worship Guide as small as possible. Only put “congregation-wide” or “brand-building” announcements in it. And make the flyer much smaller. Think of the resources saved!
  3. Ensure your website is current AND accurate. The world’s switching to a digital hub from the old-school print hub. Make sure your web is reliable and people will use it when they want information. It’s easier than “finding” the bulletin you probably threw away. Plus you can cluster announcements for age groups and interests and remind through email.

This post originally appeared for the digital Worship Facilities Magazine. Mark MacDonald is a regular writer for this and other national publications.

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