The merits of having one or two specific bulletin inserts are:
1. They can help draw attention to special events or giving opportunities.
Recently in my denomination was Global Hunger Sunday. Special offerings were collected in churches across the country. One way this was accomplished was through special envelopes which were inserted into bulletins. These special envelopes drew attention to the emphasis and undoubtedly led to greater giving.
2. Pages for sermon notes are more portable when inserted.
Some churches print the notes on the back page of the bulletin. Others offer a blank page for note taking. Some churches offer nothing at all. But the most common practice is to have a half-page insert in the bulletin with the sermon notes on it. Attendees can then file the note pages for later reference.
3. Loose connection cards are more likely to be filled out.
If you want guests to fill out connection cards, make them simple, freestanding cards that can be inserted into bulletins. The less work guests have to do to fill out and turn in these cards, the more likely they are to do so.
There's a down side to having multiple bulletin inserts:
1. They can create clutter.
When there are multiple inserts, there are multiple opportunities for more trash to be left on seats. If you have multiple services, you likely have to sweep the sanctuary to clean up the leftover inserts after every service.
2. They are often wasted.
Like announcements, if the inserts don’t apply to the majority of the church, they will likely be ignored. All the work, time, and expense that go into a bulletin insert need to have a payoff. If the insert gets ignored, you’ve wasted valuable time, energy, and money.
3. They lessen the importance of special announcements.
If you never have a bulletin insert and all of the sudden there is one, it stands out. People take notice and understand that insert is important. If there are four or five inserts every week, nothing stands out. An added insert becomes just another piece of paper, and the impact is lost.
Your church ultimately has to decide which is best for it, but I would suggest limiting inserts to as few as possible.
Jonathan Howe is director of strategic initiatives of Lifeway Christian Resources.
This post was adapted from an article that first appeared at ThomRainer.com on October 13, 2016. Used with permission.
Keep your congregation informed about the rules for substantiating charitable contributions by ordering the 2017 Charitable Contributions Bulletin Inserts by Richard Hammar. The insert is designed as a one-page summary explaining the rules of most importance to church members and can fit easily in church bulletins, newsletters, or contribution statements.
This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."
Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.