Save money. Ditch the Worship Guide.

Churches are looking to save money. Offerings are down and budgets are being cut. Sound familiar?

save_moneyLately we’ve received inquiries about what we consider the easiest thing to trim from a Church communications budget. It pains me to think that Churches want to communicate less — you have so much that should be said!

But if you NEED to trim a bit, here’s an idea. Ditch the Worship Guide!

We’ve talked to some churches who have effectively stopped producing them. Think about what the contents usually are: Upcoming events, order of service, requests for assistance (time and money), ministry opportunities. Most services take valuable stage time to tell the “important” things again. It’ll be an uphill battle for most churches, but I think that the Worship Guide is quickly growing obsolete.

  • A lot of Churches don’t list a detailed order of service any more: Instead, they list the sermon topic, scripture reference and anything “different” that’s going to happen in the service. Why not have that as a slide in your pre-service powerpoint presentation? Or produce a much smaller listing card that can be handed out. And when you think about it, why do you need this at all?
  • Most people don’t read the Upcoming events: I don’t have statistics, but Pastors tell me that people are constantly asking or calling to inquire about events that were mentioned in the service AND written in the bulletin. I know if you look around the service during announcement time, people are not paying attention. Something has to change! Perhaps a 5 minute video just before the service that “interrupts” the conversations, talks about opportunities of the week and introduces the worship time. Maybe even have various people telling their ages groups why they need to be involved!
  • The statistics in the Worship Guide are not great PR: Some churches still post the offerings, the budget, the shortfalls, the attendance, etc in the Worship Guide. I’m never quite sure who that info is for. Is it to encourage me? Discourage me? Motivate me to give? Wow. That’s not quite scriptural, is it? I should give because God wants me to, not because I see a shortfall. Also, if you’re doing outreach as you should be, unchurched visitors are attending regularly and I don’t think this is the information that they need to see. So, if you absolutely NEED to post it, do it on your website in a members-only area — or have a request form where people can ask for the information, which can be emailed. If you have a special email address set up with an autoreply, it’ll be totally automatic, you just have to update the information once a week.
  • Be sure to have a Calendar: Make sure you have an easy to use (and update) calendar on your website. Depending on age, people enjoy retrieving information online. Have several calendars based on age, or have color codes for different groups. Imagine the time saved when you can have the receptionist of your church remind people all the information is online.
  • E-Worship Guide: Start sending out email reminders on Thursdays. You can break your list down so pertinent information goes to the right emails. It can contain the “normal” information from the Worship Guide — or perhaps have a link to the 5-minute pre-service video. Be creative! But just remember that on average, people only read about 51 seconds on your e-blast.

And, of course, there will be many who don’t like this at all. Consider setting a print station (Computer and Printer) in the foyer of your church — people can print their own copy — or one of the greeters can offer the seniors to get one for them. Maybe even have some pre-printed based on demand. Pastors tell me, that when they do this, very few ever “need” one.

Final Words: Be sure that the members know that this is saving THEIR money and allowing the Church to use their budgets for greater ministries and outreach. And make sure that ALL communications have your Church look to them. We’d love to help you set up the system, so you can operate it every week!

Any other ideas? Comment and let me know!

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