The transition to digital bulletins can seem overwhelming. When is the best time to transition? How do you do it effectively? Will church members be willing to accept a new way of getting information? Since there is a huge digital transformation taking place in churches around the globe, there’s never been a better time to evaluate your bulletin.
Don’t kill the paper bulletin
If your church meets online only, a digital bulletin is the only option for church members. If you meet in person, understand that some members may still want a paper bulletin. Remember – ministry is about reaching people. Some users may not have a device or may prefer paper. By offering paper bulletins to those who prefer them, everyone can stay updated. Placing signs by the sanctuary door with a QR code is optimal to remind guests of the digital solution.
Change how you think about digital bulletins
It’s easy to look at digital bulletins as a digital version of your paper handout. Can’t you just upload a PDF file of your printable bulletin to your website and be done? While this is an excellent start for digital bulletins, consider the purpose of a bulletin. Paper bulletins provide a weekly update of current events in your church. It’s a snapshot in time of upcoming activities. Digital bulletins can be ongoing – supplying a link to your always updated calendar, connection card, and announcements.
In other words, look at a “digital bulletin” as an ongoing engagement experience. Encourage members to open this experience weekly in place of a bulletin, but they can refer to it for the latest information at any time. Because of this, explore the realm of possibilities beyond uploading the paper PDF to your website. How can your digital bulletin be an ongoing resource?
Find the right platform
Which platform is best for digital bulletins? Consider the following.
Using services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you could send weekly emails with a summary of upcoming events, a link to your connection card, and other relevant information. This method is the most proactive, bringing the digital bulletin to the church member wherever they are. There’s no action required after the initial sign-up process. The downside is that it may become an annoyance to some church members, and it’s not easy to refer back to later.
Perhaps the most popular option, a section on your website is convenient for everyone. Since there’s no sign up required, it’s easy for first-time guests to enjoy. A website has advantages over email: interactive features. Embed your pre-existing calendar for always up to date upcoming events. Offer connection cards and sermon notes directly in your bulletin. Post the link to social media, email it, or offer a QR code for quick access. Because of the flexibility of responsive websites, this is a favorite for many churches.
A church app or app platform creates an unbeatable digital bulletin. While there’s a longer onboarding process, apps have ultimate possibilities. Send push notification announcements. Try interactive prayer requests. Make the app your own. An app unlocks an immersive experience not offered by other platforms.
If your paper bulletin includes sermon notes, My Sermon Notes is an app platform with fill-in-the-blank notes as the flagship feature. Additional interactive features are the perfect compliment to create a killer digital bulletin.
Make digital bulletins accessible
Is your digital bulletin easy to access? If a first-timer walks into your church, how do they get started? Can they scan a QR code? Are there slides in the service pre-roll? Announcement on stage? Volunteers who can help? Put yourself in the shoes of a guest and make your digital bulletin inviting and practical to access.