Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 27, 1952

A Church Bulletin?

Doyle F. Earwood, Terre Haute, Indiana

Is a church bulletin worth all the work and money involved in putting it out? This question comes to all congregations and preachers who labor in such an effort.

I believe that after twelve years of experience in working on church bulletins that they are worth all the labor and money involved. This has been the experience of the majority of preachers and congregations that I have talked to concerning church bulletins.

At Fifth Ave., in Terre Haute, we mail out something over 800 bulletins each week to members and prospects. The cost is approximately $4.00 a week. The Southside congregation in Terre Haute mails out about the same number, I believe. I believe a bulletin is worth the effort for the following reasons:

The bulletins published by the congregations in this area always contain an article by the preacher or taken from a religious paper to stimulate the congregation to do more in the Lord's work. Our bulletin, "The Salute," has one article each week to church members and one to the person who is not a Christian. These bulletins are passed around to neighbors and relatives who are not Christians. Also, it is mailed to prospective members and to members who are no longer faithful in their Christian living. The bulletin coming to the home each week has kept before these people the obligations that they owe unto their God. The result has been gratifying. God's word does not return to Him void whether preached orally or by the written word.

Members and visitors get restless when the announcements are too long and a bulletin takes care of most of the announcements. The congregation is called on and expected to make announcements of all meetings, etc., in the area and to read letters of thanks from members and outsiders who have been helped by the congregation in various ways. If these are not recognized, feelings are hurt, and the congregation is hindered to a certain extent in the good work it is doing. A bulletin board is a great help but does not get all the announcements that should be made by an active congregation. A church bulletin solves this problem almost one hundred percent.

In almost every congregation, the sick and the shut-ins feel that they are overlooked in the work of the congregation. We have an unusually large number of these all the time and it is impossible to mention them in the public announcements without taking too much time from the worship service or neglecting this entirely and as a result no visiting is done. We have members that watch for these announcements and either make them a visit or send them a card to let them know that they are not forgotten.

Many members do not take a religious paper and know nothing of the good work being accomplished in other places or the problems that confront the brotherhood today. I have found that generally speaking, the most active members who have vision in a congregation are the ones that read one or several religious papers. All will not take religious papers and a bulletin meets this vital need to a certain degree. The preacher is helped in his work by reading what is being accomplished by other congregations and his vision is enlarged. The elders in the congregations here also receive the bulletins from other congregations in this area.

A church bulletin to be effective must not (a) be a publicity agency for the preacher to keep his name and work before a congregation; (b) to ride the preacher's "hobbies"; (c) to please a few influential members, or (d) be a medium through which the preacher or disgruntled members have "an ax to grind."

It should not consume all the preacher's time or some other member's but be a cooperative effort of the congregation by several assisting in the work and it becomes a joy rather than a burden. When it is filled with sound gospel teaching to both saint and sinner it will result in untold good in the Lord's work. It should carry all the necessary announcements of the congregation and be written in a style befitting the dignity of the Lord's work. They should not be handed-out just before the services to be read during services and to clutter the buildings and grounds. We mail ours out each week and feel that the money is well spent in the work of the congregation.

Yes, I sometimes get tired of putting out a weekly bulletin but when we miss a week and receive numerous letters and inquiries asking why and telling of the good that they have received from reading it and passing it on to others, we feel that it is worth all the effort.