How do I make a digital bulletin? [2020 Edition]

Why would I make a digital bulletin?

Most people have a love/hate relationship with their church's bulletin. Making them is a thankless job, and it can often be a lot of work. But even if your members don't say it, a lot of them do appreciate the work that you put in. So don't lose hope!

However, in our post-COVID19 world more people are starting to question whether handing out bulletins every week is still a good idea. You and your staff are going to have to decide what works best for your congregation. In light of the complicated decision, a lot of churches are opting to use a digital bulletin instead.

Digital bulletins have a lot of advantages over paper ones:

  • Digital bulletins are "contact-less", which reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Digital bulletins can be interactive, with links and registration forms.
  • Digital bulletins have no content length restrictions.
  • Digital bulletins won't be left behind in the pew after service.

  • Members who can't make it to church can still access a digital bulletin.

  • Digital bulletins don't have to be printed; saving money and reducing paper waste.

How do I make a digital bulletin?

There are a variety of ways to make a digital bulletin. Each has their own set of pros and cons. Outlined below are a few of the most popular ways and how to get started.

1. Upload PDF version of printed bulletin

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to get started with a digital bulletin is by simply uploading a PDF version of your print bulletin. If you are already making a printed version, simply save it as a PDF, upload the file to your website, and share the link. Your members can then download the PDF on their computers or phones.

Pros
  • No additional work
  • Consistent look/feel with print bulletin
  • No additional cost
Cons
  • Not user friendly on mobile devices
  • No clickable links
  • Members have to be told where to find the file to download

2. Use your church's website

Another easy way to get started with a digital bulletin is by creating a page on your church's website where you can post the information that is contained in the bulletin. Your members may already be going to your website for other reasons and finding the bulletin can be convenient.

Pros
  • Consistent look/feel with church's branding
  • No additional cost
  • Able to link to websites and registration forms
Cons
  • Requires knowledge on how to update the website
  • No history of previous week's bulletins
  • Members have to be told where to find the page
  • Have to make print and digital bulletin seperately

3. Use your church's app

If your church has an app, you probably already have a digital bulletin! For your members that have your church's app installed, finding your digital bulletin is very easy. Some apps even have to ability to send push notifications to your members when you publish your bulletin.

Pros
  • Consistent look/feel within church app
  • No additional tools needed
  • Able to link to websites and registration forms
Cons
  • Requires ability to update the application
  • Members have to have the app installed
  • Maintaing apps can be costly
  • Only available on mobile devices
  • Have to make print and digital bulletin separately

4. Use your church's social media channels

If your church is active on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) posting your church's announcements can be a good way to reach your congregation. Most of your members are on social media already, and may even be following your church's account. Posting on social media is a good way to reach people where they already are.

Pros
  • Meeting your members where they are
  • Able to link out to websites/registration forms
  • Able to have two-way communication about announcements
  • Members can easily share content with others
Cons
  • Members have to be following your church's accounts
  • May need additional software for scheduling
  • May alienate non-members
  • May have content length restrictions on some platforms

5. Use a digital bulletin service

The final option is to use a bulletin service like bltn. bltn allows you to make your print bulletins and digital bulletins all in the same place. It uses standard text messages to send your digital bulletins to your members at the time of your choice. For more information, click here.

Pros
  • Able to make print and digital bulletin with the same content
  • Able to link out to websites/registration forms
  • Members are sent the bulletin instead of having to go look for it
Cons
  • Requires members to send a message to receive the bulletin
  • Requires paying for a subscription

Final Thoughts

There are quite a few options when it comes to digital bulletins; each have their own set of pros and cons. The one that will work best for your church and congregation will vary, but you should put some thought into whether a digital bulletin will help your members through this season of your church's life and beyond.