I’m a bit over the topic of “print is dead.” To me, it’s a tired conversation and a rather pointless one.
Yes, print can cost money.
Yes, financial stewardship matters.
But caring for your guests and helping them connect matters. Integrating print and digital is one of the best ways to make your guests feel known as you connect them to their next step. You demonstrate that you see them as you provide basic information directly to their hands as opposed to pointing them somewhere else to find the information.
It’s a welcome mat that can’t be recreated.
As culture continues to morph over time, this may eventually not be the case. But we’re not there yet.
So what are the essential pieces you need to offer guests on Sundays?
Ah yes, the infamous bulletin.
There are strong opinions about this topic. You can find mine in greater depth over at Church Marketing Sucks.
Bulletins provide a great opportunity to summarize key next steps for the majority of your congregation.
Key word here? Well, it’s the word “key.”
The bulletin shouldn’t be comprehensive. When you give too many choices, people have a hard time picking any.
Design your bulletin as the start of a funnel. What are the key opportunities to connect for the majority of your audience? If people take that next step, is there an opportunity for them to make meaningful relationships? If so, that’s a great opportunity for them!
In addition, consider including some broader information about the church in summarized form. At my church, we include information about when students meet, a full list of service times, as well as what to expect when they visit our website.
Closely related to the bulletin is the connection card. When designed correctly, these provide an easy opportunity for people to connect to their next step.
But should it be printed or digital?
By now you may know my response, but for the sake of clarity: both 😉
Attaching your connection card to the bulletin is ideal, but perhaps for your church it makes more sense to place it on the seats or in seatback pockets. What matters most is that they are easily accessible.
I recommend only collecting basic information at first. The person’s name, phone, and email should be more than enough. If you ask for too much, they may not want to take the time to fill it out.
The back of our connection card includes some of the most common ways to connect, but also allows for them to inquire or share whatever they want – including prayer requests.
An Overview of Your Church
Believe it or not, there are still some people who prefer print over digital. Do they happen to be older? Yes. But do they matter?
A printed overview of your church’s ministries is super important, even if you only produce them in limited quantity.
Again, it’s all about providing a welcome mat to your guests. What will make their Sunday experience as easy as possible?
It’s a redundancy to what’s on your website, I know. But consider how it’s helping someone.
Handing these out is probably overkill, but perhaps you can host some copies at an information kiosk somewhere in the lobby.
An obvious choice, I know.
Most churches already know the benefit of using preservice slides. It’s an easy way to communicate with anyone already sitting in the auditorium.
If you’ve already got slides in place, consider how you can improve them.
A few items to consider:
- Less is more. Don’t overcrowd your slides with too much activity. Think header, sub heading, and call to action (a web link or something else).
- If using motion graphics/videos, keep it simple. Too much movement can be distracting.
- Be mindful of colors and sizes. If people can’t read it, they won’t take action. Older eyes struggle when contrast isn’t considered, so make sure to test your slides with some different people at the same level of lighting they’d encounter in the auditorium.
Use Shortened URLs
In your bulletins, slides, social media posts – everywhere. Always make sure that people could easily type your URL into their mobile device or desktop to take a next step.
Use memorable keywords as you craft these URLs. And definitely take care when using acronyms. If the acronym is challenging to remember for a guest, it’s probably not worth using. Consider using the first word of the acronym or something related to the topic.
Again. Digital matters. You should place a significant portion of your focus there – especially as you reach out to younger audiences. But don’t completely dismiss print as you welcome guests into your church.
Our job is to make people known as we connect them to a next step.
Did I miss any essential pieces that you offer your guests? Comment below with what they are!