Church Newsletter: How to Attract & Engage Your Congregation

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Church Newsletter: How to Attract & Engage Your Congregation
Try Publicate For Free Today
Read time: 13 min

The church newsletter is a central part to informing and growing your congregation.

But have you ever felt like your emails are missing something extra to keep people engaged?

Perhaps you can't get the design right?

Perhaps you're short on ideas for what content to include?

Maybe you're looking for what's working well for other churches?

Or you're just starting up your church newsletter and looking for the best tips.

Whatever your needs, we've got you covered in this post.

Let's get started.

Why Have a Church Newsletter?

Before jumping into all the tips you need to engage your congregation, let’s begin with why a church newsletter is important to have in the first place. 

A church newsletter can help keep the community together even when they aren’t in the pews. 

Church letters provide a way to:

  • Promote a sense of community.
    You can’t always be in front of your community physically, but for the times you aren’t, you can still stay connected via a newsletter. 
  • Keep congregants informed.
    From events to activities, fundraising and more, a church newsletter is the perfect way to share information about what the church is up to to drive engagement, attendance, and interaction.
  • Encourage action. 
    Not everyone can make it to church each week, but they still may want to support the congregation and its activities. You can add a call-to-action for volunteers and/or donations in your church newsletter.
  • Provide transparency. 
    It’s always nice for your contributors to know where their money is going. You can use a church newsletter to keep your community apprised of how their contributions are being handled, which can help to further promote additional donations.

Who Should Write a Church Newsletter?

Depending on the structure of your church, the people involved in its creation varies. 

A church newsletter should be a fun addition to someone’s responsibilities rather than a burden. So, when choosing the responsible party, consider the following:

  • Content:
    If you’re going to include links to blog or blog content within the newsletter, then it’s possible to ask multiple people on your church’s staff and leadership team to contribute writing. 
  • Scripture:
    If you’re going to include scripture or suggest a reading in your newsletter, it makes the most sense for your pastor to be in charge of this section. 
  • Distribution:
    Choose someone on your team who can schedule the newsletters and manage reviewing the analytics to see what’s working. With an online email platform, sending out newsletters is easy and may be done from whatever email provider you currently use for your regular emails. 

It’s also possible to have members of your community contribute to your newsletter. This is a nice way to let their voice be heard and boost involvement. 

How Long Should a Church Newsletter Be?

To keep engagement levels high, don’t try to squeeze everything into one newsletter. If it’s too long to read, people will drop off before getting to the end. 

It’s optimal to keep the newsletter between 500 to 1,000 words. Minimize paragraphs to 1-4 lines each. 

Fresh Tips for your Church Newsletter

Make it Visually Appealing

Nobody wants to sit through paragraphs of text.
Jazz it up with colours, images, GIFs, videos and quotes.

It not only keeps people engaged, it's fun, fresh and makes you stand out from the crowd!
You can also break up your newsletter by using headers, and photos to support your copy. But make sure you use tools such as Reduce Images and Pic Resize to keep the overall email size low.

More on why Image size is important in this email marketing strategy post.

Here is an example by Bay Life Church. They've broken up their email by:

  • Creating a standard header at the top with their logo and newsletter date stamp
  • A "what's on" this weekend with a main hero title and image "Breaking Free"
  • Shorter articles underneath with images
Newsletter as an example by Bay Life Church

Keep it Short and Sweet

So many of us are on the go these days.

On average, we receive 147 emails per day! That's a lot of noise to cut through.
If you want to stand out, keep your church newsletter short and sweet.
So it's not surprising that we all want information that's quick and easy to digest.

So how do you find the right balance?

Share little nuggets, link out to more

Instead of including a full interview. Why not share a snippet of the interview? Then redirect readers to a page on your website to continue reading the full interview.

Here, Uber share a great example of this. They use minimal copy with big call to actions encouraging users to link through to the website.

Uber newsletter example

Get Creative!

You don't have to fill your church newsletter with text. You could use a graphic, video (if supported) or GIF to tell your story. Check out this example by Harry's.

They created an awesome animated email by only allowing the clock face to move, simple but effective.

Newsletter example by Harry's

Create Lists

Like in the example below. Story Matters have broken up their newsletter with content lists. Introducing the article with a sentence and image, and links to click through.

Story Matters Newsletter example
Bonus: These examples are great. But creating the right church newsletter design can be time consuming. That's exactly why we created Publicate. It makes adding content to your newsletter easy. Try it free now.

Make It Fun

We're emotional beings. We need something to pull at our heartstrings from time to time, but we also need a little bit of humour. Mix serious content with a bit of entertainment!
Here are some church newsletter ideas:

  • Using funny memes or GIFs
  • Observational humour
  • Tap into pop culture
  • Adding videos of the time your church did a choir flash mob in the local town
  • Identifying common problems we can all relate to and then adding a punch-line

Here is a great example by Beta List. When a customer unsubscribes. They send an automated email injecting a little humour!

Beta List Newsletter example

Now let's dive into some ideas for your church newsletters.

Top 10 Church Newsletter Ideas

We want to give you the BEST Church newsletter ideas. Ideas that will attract new members and engage with the existing.

Not to mention inspiring people to become active members of your community.

1. Inspirational Topics and Quotes

Inspirational quotes can pull at the heart-strings of even the toughest bunch. Not only are they thought provoking but they also add another voice to your newsletter.

Quotes can comfort your readers if they are lost after a loss. Include words of healing, hope, love and abundance to uplift those most in need.

Like this one:

God will never leave you empty, he will replace everything you lost. If he asks you to put something down, it's because he wants you to pick up something greater.

Church newsletter quote

Something as simple and beautiful like this works wonders.

We created this quote using a tool called Canva. Which is a great way to create visuals for your newsletter.

2. Message from the pastor

Including a message from the pastor is powerful. It's the perfect opportunity to share stories and words of encouragement.

This is a great example by Passion City Church. Where Pastor Louie shares an inspiring message to his community.

Now, don't worry! We're not saying you need to create a fancy video like this. But what we do love about this message, is that it's unique, it's welcoming.

Bear in mind that messages to your congregation don't need to be limited to just the senior pastor. Ask others for input. Examples include:

  • The youth pastor
  • College pastor
  • Worship pastor
  • Children's ministry leaders.

Here's another one we love. From Pastor Mark Connor.

Pastor Mark Connor Newsletter Example

3. Use Other Voices/Interview People

We LOVE this idea.

Interview other teachers, choirs, musicians, authors and artists. It's not only great content, it makes the work so much easier for you.

The person interviewee creates the content with their answers to your questions!

Content like this is especially great if you have special guests coming to the church. It gets people excited, helps people to get to know each other and make lasting connections.

It's also great for attracting new members to the church. If they can see that you have exciting events coming up.

4. Church News

We all love to hear about the latest news that our community is involved in. It makes us feel proud and part of something, a family so to speak.

Content to include can be:

  • Current news stories about the local church
  • Community related events
  • New members to the team
  • Any celebrations worth mentioning within your church
  • You can also talk about any local, national or global news you've been part of

5. What's On

A short ‘what's on' is a great little roundup to include in your church newsletter.

It gives newbies an insight into upcoming events. But it also excites existing members with an calendar for the weeks/months ahead.

Depending on how frequent your church newsletters are and how large your church is. Include mentions of weddings, christenings, projects, concerts, shows & unique performances.

Here's a great example from CityLife. A highlight reel of the churches upcoming events.

CityLife Newsletter Example

6. Scripture of the Month

Some churches may wish to reflect a theme in their newsletter. You may highlight certain passages, support a sermon series or share a scripture.

Our top tip:
To encourage bible memory, add a different memory verse in each newsletter.

7. Videos and Pictures from Recent Events

Avoid using stock photos as much as you can in your newsletter.

Members want to see real-life action shots. Photos of worships, church fundraising days and other events.

If you can include videos or GIFs you're onto a winner!

According to studies,the average viewer remembers 95% of a message when it is watched. Whereas only 10% when read.

Bonus: Drag and drop rich media, like image and videos straight into your email newsletter. Try Publicate Free.

8. Church Announcements

This is a great opportunity for you to welcome new members or make any other announcements.

Keep things concise, easy to read and inject some personality!

Lighten up your newsletter with a little bit of humour. These funny church announcements really tickled us.

  • A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

If announcements are a little more formal, include the 3 W's. what, where and when and be clear about the main call to action - what action do you want people to take?

9. Church Community Events

Like most churches, people come far and wide to pray, to talk to god and be part of a community.

If you're active in the local community make sure you shout about it!

Not only will this be a guarantee way to attract new members. It keeps the existing church-goers happy if there are always lots of projects to get involved in. You want to promote social action, community empowerment and social inclusion.

If you've not yet embarked on local projects, here are our top 5 favourites!

  • Community Easter egg hunt: Keep kids (and adults!) entertained with an Easter egg hunt.
  • Local Heroes Day. Invite Police Officers, Firefighters and other emergency medical personnel.
  • Valentines Date Night: Provide free childcare for unchurched couples
  • Mother's Day: Launch a new parents group on Mother's Day to help new mums and dads in the local area to get to know each other
  • Christmas Carols. Host a ‘Carols under the Christmas Tree' evening. Serving marshmallows and hot chocolate afterwards

10. Going Paperless!

A lot of churches nowadays are saying goodbye to paper newsletters.

Not only is it bad for the environment it's costly too. Not to mention everyone has a smartphone.

Give a brief update about why you've gone paperless and how a new online newsletter will be the future!

This is a great opportunity to ask your existing community to sign up to the digital newsletter. You can also ask them for feedback, what they'd like to see more of, less of?

So What Next?

Hopefully after reading this you'll be able to give your church newsletter a real refresh.

As well as being inspired with all of the newsletter ideas to get you started.

Now that you have plenty of ideas, it's time to start creating your very own. At Publicate we have a simple, easy to use newsletter builder. Helping you to create beautiful church newsletters. Try It Free Here.