By Jonathan Howe
In addition to a weekly bulletin, churches have often used weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters to better communicate with guests and members. As costs to produce newsletters have increased and budget funds designated for them have decreased, they have all but vanished from churches. Instead of replacing them with digital versions, many churches abandoned the practice altogether.
In doing so, another problem was created: bulletins and announcement times became overcrowded. The result was not better communication, but too much being communicated and less information being retained.
So instead of relying on a weekly bulletin or a brief 2-minute announcement time in the service, consider using an email newsletter to more effectively communicate with guests and members. Here are eight reasons your church should have an email newsletter.
- Email Newsletters Inform All Church Members, Not Just That Week’s Attendees — If you don’t make it to the worship service, you don’t hear the announcements. Because of the decline in the frequency of attendance, many church members are unaware of events or happenings at their church. Email newsletters allow you communicate to everyone at once.
- Email Is the Commonly Accepted Way for Organizations to Communicate— We receive emails from dozens of companies every week. Whether it’s a sale notice from our favorite online shop, an email about work, or a notification from a social network, we are used to getting emails and scanning them for important information. A church email newsletter is easy to scan for important information just like the hundreds of other emails we receive each week.
- Email Newsletters Allow for Comprehensive Information — If you were to get a separate email for each activity or ministry in the church, it would be way too much. One simple newsletter that covers all the ministries of the church is much easier to digest for church members than individual emails. Some age-level ministries may need their own newsletters, but not every ministry a church has needs a separate email.
- Digital Newsletters Are Cheaper and More Effective Than Print — As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, high production costs are one reason print newsletters died. Minimal production costs are one of the main benefits of digital newsletters. Many providers offer free email newsletter services for small lists. For bigger lists, even a paid service would cost just pennies on the dollar compared to a printed newsletter.
- Email Allows Immediate Action — This might be the most important reason to have an email newsletter for your church. With one click, members or guests can take action. Whether that’s signing up for a class or volunteering, registering for an event, or giving to a special offering, email offers the recipient the opportunity to act immediately without having to remember to do so later—like a bulletin or announcement in the service.
- Analytics Track What Gets Attention — This is related to the previous point. As the sender of the email, you can see what is of interest to those who read it. That can help you know where to place important information or what to include (or exclude) in future newsletters.
- Increased Awareness of Online Giving Increases Stewardship — If your church has online giving, reminding your members about that option in your weekly newsletter is a must. For those who may be traveling, a small button with the option for giving electronically may be the difference in giving or not giving their tithes and offerings.
- Included Devotionals Aid in Personal Discipleship — Finally, email newsletters should be used as a devotional aid of some kind. You can easily include devotionals, prayer requests, or daily Bible readings for use throughout the week.
If you are looking to start an email newsletter, MailChimp would be my suggested provider. And always remember to ask for permission (also known as “opt-in”) before adding someone to an email list.
Does your church have an email newsletter? If so, what benefits have you seen from it?
Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week, and the managing editor of LifeWayPastors.com. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.
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