By Jonathan Howe
Every church can and should have some kind of email communication or newsletter for members and guests. And while many churches may do a monthly newsletter, a weekly newsletter might be most effective because of the infrequency of attendance by many members.
So if you’re going to have a weekly newsletter, it’s good to know what to include and what not to include. Below are 10 suggestions for your weekly newsletter. You don’t have to have all 10, but these serve as a good starting point as you build your newsletter.
- A word of encouragement from the pastor. The pastor’s note does not have to be long. A couple paragraphs will suffice. But it’s always best for members to hear from the pastor (or another staff member) each week in the church newsletter.
- Important upcoming dates. Include your important dates—church-wide functions, special events, holiday celebrations, etc. This is neither the time nor the place to list every little thing going on at a church. You don’t have the room, and it will overwhelm the reader.
- The upcoming sermon title and text. Inset boxes or sidebars are the perfect location for this. By listing the sermon information for the coming week, your members can be more prepared for the proclamation of God’s Word each week. They can also pray for the pastor during sermon preparation.
- Worship set list for the upcoming Sunday. This is very similar to the previous point. By listing the worship songs for the coming Sunday, attendees can be more prepared to worship through music. A link to a Spotify playlist is one simple way to accomplish this.
- Scripture for memorization. Scripture memorization is a lost spiritual discipline for many Christians. By having a weekly or monthly verse to memorize, you can foster this discipline in your church members.
- Daily Bible reading for the next week. Like memorization, you can keep a list of daily Bible reading passages in front of your members. You’re more likely to have members stay engaged throughout the year in Bible reading when they are constantly reminded about what to read.
- A volunteer feature. Churches often have difficulty finding volunteers for ministry. The more you feature volunteers and remind members about places of service, the more likely you are to have members who are open to serving.
- Sharable social media content. Create action steps in your church newsletter for those reading to share some of the content. Provide pictures or sample tweets for members to share on their personal social media accounts. The easier you make it for members to share, the more likely they will follow through with it.
- Excerpts or links to relevant news or articles of encouragement. We constantly get requests to feature posts from ThomRainer.com in church newsletters. We always grant permission, and all we ask for in return is a link to the original article. This is a common practice; so if you see something on a site that you want your members to read, use a paragraph or so of it and link to the site so they can read the full article.
- Prayer emphases. Newsletters are perfect for coordinating prayer in your church. While I would steer clear of listing all the prayer needs in your church, choose one or two major prayer initiatives to ask members to pray for.
Again, a newsletter with all ten of these might be too much, but you will likely know what content works best in your context. I encourage you to try implementing these and see if member engagement with your email newsletter increases.
Do you include any of these in your church newsletter? What else would you add to this list?
Where I serve we do a traditional paper newsletter monthly. It’s long and I know few of our members read it, partially or entirely. Your talking about a digital newsletter in your article… something I’m less familiar with but eager to transition too.
So, how about a sample of some good digital newsletters for guys like me?
I’m sure some of the readers can link you to their examples.
You could always use mailchimp and repurpose your newsletter content into an email newsletter.
While it is great to see more churches employing social media and e-newsletters to keep their congregations informed and connected, it is heartbreaking to see so many churches considering their efforts successful when they publish only electronically. Unless 100% of their parishioners are technologically savvy enough to receive electronic postings and newsletters AND feel comfortable reading these postings and newsletters on their computer screens, I suggest that the churches are fooling themselves and short-changing their congregations. Not providing a paper option for parishioners who may prefer to receive their information this way seems foolish, at best.
I would suggest pictures. Many people are visual first, and a picture of a recent event or activity, especially if children are involved, is very attractive. It will move people through your newsletter if you include relevant pictures/