I was the wife of a pastor for 17 years until he recently changed vocations. We then found ourselves as regular attendees at a new church. Even though we already knew some people at the church, it still took some time to find our way. The ironic thing is, we know church. We know how it functions, how people get connected, why church exists, and we even know some of the more esoteric language of church.
We know these things, and we still felt a little lost, so it made me wonder how those completely new to the church must feel when they walk through the front doors on a Sunday morning.
One of the ways churches can ease a newcomer’s anxiety level is by using worship bulletins. Here are six ways worship bulletins help welcome others:
1. Worship Bulletins are the second greeting to newcomers. After a hearty welcome from greeters and door holders, visitors are handed a bulletin that affirms the message, “We are glad you’re here.”
2. Worship Bulletins help navigate the service. Because churches customize and print their own order of service on the interior pages of a bulletin, visitors know what to expect. From when to stand and sing, to when to bow heads to pray, bulletins take the surprise out of a church service.
3. Worship Bulletins offer a context for other happenings in the church. On the back side of bulletins, churches can choose to print announcements, meetings, group get-togethers, and more. This kind of information helps a visitor understand what goes on beyond the service as well as the care and concern extended beyond the church walls.
4. Worship Bulletins can become an evangelism tool when they invite visitors to get involved in like-minded groups. For example, after a group leader had an announcement placed in a Sunday bulletin about a board game get-together, several unchurched people decided to get involved. They eventually gave their lives to Christ and became part of the church family.
5. Worship Bulletins can minister to the newcomer. Beautiful images, from tranquil nature scenes to people expressing care toward one another or a special individual being celebrated during Black History Month, draw in the viewer and help them connect at an emotional level to their surroundings.
6. Worship Bulletins offer words of encouragement. One bulletin might capture a Scripture. Another bulletin features lyrics from a truth-telling worship song. Reflections Bulletins offer a devotional on the back side. In all these ways, the newcomer can be captivated by the love and grace of God.
When we stepped back into the church as attendees rather than staff, we were grateful someone shook our hand, welcomed us, and handed us a worship bulletin.
What are ways your churches use worship bulletins as a tool for welcome and outreach? We would love to know!
About the Author
Tammy Tilley has compiled and edited numerous books, has written for dozens of print and digital publications, and even co-founded a lifestyle magazine for the town where she once lived. Currently she lives in Anderson, Indiana where she is an adjunct writing instructor at Anderson University and an editor and writer for Warner Press.