From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

New Worship Bulletin

For the 3:16 campaign we’re using a new style of bulletin: an 8.5×14 sheet that includes a tear-off for registering attendance and prayer concerns. So far I’ve heard positive comments, especially in regard to prayer concerns. Once in a while folks will bring up prayer concerns vocally during worship; with the written concerns turned in to me, the volume has gone up! One thing that I appreciate about the “prayer concerns” tearoff is that people can indicate that they want the concern prayed for silently. I take it that these are concerns that are somewhat sensitive, and appreciate very much that folks still communicate them to me. In response, I’m making every effort to respond to these “silent concerns” personally within a few days after Sunday. I want people to know that though their concerns are not mentioned on Sunday morning, they do not go un-prayed for. One other positive aspect about these tearoffs is that we can identify first time visitors for special attention later.

I don’t know that we’re going to keep this format, however. It’s meant a reduction in the amount of information poured into our bulletin. We trying to make the bulletin as “visitor friendly” as possible, which has meant leaving out a lot of “insider information”.

So here are the questions I’m considering about the bulletin itself, and would appreciate any feedback, positive or negative, that you’d care to give:

  • What do visitors, or folks who are new at St. Paul’s want to see in a bulletin?
  • Is there other information we could ask for on a tearoff – information that a visitor would be willing to give?
  • How much do people hate inserts in the bulletin?
  • Does having artwork on the bulletin add anything worthwhile?
  • Would having the sermon scripture printed on the bulletin be worthwhile? Even if it had to be printed on an insert?
  • If tearoff bulletins cost more (say $20 per week) would that be worthwhile?
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8 responses

  1. Teresa

    I like the tearoffs because it is another form of communication from pew to pulpit. Why would someone hate an insert – what does it do to them? More paper to take home? I like to read along in the bible while someone is reading the scripture – I understand it better that way.

    April 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm

  2. Earl

    Thanks, Teresa – would having in insert with the scripture printed in it be preferable to having your own Bible?

    April 5, 2008 at 8:37 pm

  3. I would love to see the sermon scripture printed in the bulletin -next to or under the “Sermon”, if freed up space by eliminating the art on the front page this would probably give enough space if they are lengthy. This may be the only time some people even see scripture in print, besides on the screen.

    I miss not having a title for the sermon in the bulletin; this helps me focus on what will be preached or makes me ponder a bit ahead of time. A sermon title and the scripture would be great! An insert would work too, but having it typed in the bulletin we couldn’t miss it as we follow the service.

    Do you think everyone has their own bible or could money be budgeted for free bibles for families or individuals who don’t have one?

    I do like having a place to put prayer requests, silent or spoken. Maybe a small paper slip inside the bulletin to continue this nice addition, if the tearoffs are discontinued, or a pad of paper in the pews for this purpose.

    I personally don’t think a full front page of art work is necessary on the bulletin if it is prohibiting the amount of announcements deemed helpful.

    The tearoff is nice and in the grand scheme of things $80-100 per month probably isn’t that bad. Seems like everyone has the knack of filling them out now, but new people would need to be told each week.

    The services are wonderful and we are immersed in The Word from beginning to end. This is spot-on where we need to focus our hearts, souls, and minds! Prayfully, this will spark some to seek God more fully by reading their bibles at home.

    Talk to you soon

    April 6, 2008 at 8:21 pm

  4. I don’t know what happened to the first sentence of my reply above, but the grammer is pathetic? Sounds like I am just learning English???? Too many thoughts flowing at once is my only excuse! HA

    April 12, 2008 at 9:11 pm

  5. Becky

    What about the page number (in pew Bibles…you know the ones that look so “new”) of each scripture? Saves paper, and if you ask folks to “follow along” they probably will. I think becoming comfortable with flipping through the Bible is nothing but good! Power point is fine, (especially for those “tekkies” out there, but when you flip through the Bible itself, sometimes other verses “grab you” and you may decide to look into that later…again, all good! But, gosh, what if we needed to buy more Bibles…eek! Maybe folks would have to bring their own?
    Even better!!

    April 13, 2008 at 8:03 am

  6. Very good point – I like the idea of page numbers, so not to intimidate those who aren’t familiar where the books are.

    So, either more bibles in the pews (would we look up the verses individully) or we could encourage people to actually bring their bibles to church and still have plenty in the pews for those who don’t until it is routine. Think the roof would fall in?

    April 13, 2008 at 10:53 am

  7. Deanne

    As you know, I’m a big fan of the blog idea – so glad to see you started one! 🙂
    I think the 3:16 bulletin is great. It’s very ‘professional’ – which is a compliment in my eyes! I love the tearoff though, as you so adeptly pointed out last week, SOME of us never fill it out. I do intend to use the prayer concern section at times and really like the checkbox for silent prayer. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would shy from asking for prayer from the congregation – so this would allow me to share some concerns, get a little extra help, and not reveal everything to everyone. I do really like the idea of the sermon title and scripture. Repetition via multiple mediums is another great method for adult learning.

    April 13, 2008 at 8:03 pm

  8. Teresa

    I don’t think people will be responsive to bringing their own bibles to church – too baptist. I like the page #’s of the scripture – good idea. I do like the tear-offs, even if it costs more money. Cut down on artwork if needed for more space.

    April 29, 2008 at 9:53 am

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