Online Church Bulletins: How to Create More Engaging Services

Every week, churches use an ancient technology to collect contact information and track attendance: paper bulletins.

In addition to supporting the recycling and waste management services in your community, those paper bulletins create a lot of tedious work for church staff (or a very patient volunteer who deserves some appreciation). Someone has to collect all those bulletins and manually enter the information into spreadsheets—because what good is all that information if it isn’t organized?

Thankfully, there’s a better way: you can create free digital bulletins with Faithlife. Collecting and organizing that information gets a whole lot easier, and your congregation stays more connected.

While you may not be ready to ditch your printer, technology is becoming increasingly valuable to churches. About two-thirds of your congregation has smartphones. The epitome of convenience is filling your pews every weekend. Your church can use that to your advantage.

Digital bulletins turn smartphones into assets, not distractions.

These online bulletins put your sermon slides right in the hands of your audience. You can even send people directly to the passages you want them to read.

And if you use Proclaim, you can create surveys and collect responses during your service.

Interactive surveys

Suppose your sermon wrestles with a significant moral dilemma—one that people are understandably divided over. How your congregation reacts to that dilemma could reveal what your church really believes—before and after you teach through the passage. A few months ago, Faithlife’s own Mark Ward used our survey system and a simple yes or no question to reveal what people believe about the Old Testament. After sharing insights into a difficult passage (Judges 11:30–34) Mark asked the same question again to see if people changed their minds.

Imagine what this could look like in your sermons. These surveys don’t require a show of hands, and no one has to awkwardly stand up by themselves or feel like the odd-one-out for sharing what they really believe. Because let’s be honest—people don’t answer when answering is too uncomfortable.

You don’t have to collect responses and frantically tally them before the end of the service—Proclaim Signals let you collect and display answers automatically.

Surveys help people interact with your sermon on a personal level, and they can also help you create conversation around the Bible.

But Faithlife bulletins aren’t just great for surveys, or for helping people follow along. You can also collect and distribute contact information, add calendar events, and even take the offering.

Digital connection cards

Every Faithlife bulletin automatically generates a digital connection card. Anyone in your congregation can connect to the bulletin and fill this out on their smartphone.

After the service, Faithlife gathers all responses into a neatly organized spreadsheet, so nobody has to manually take attendance.

In the bulletins tab, click “download” next to the bulletin you want attendance information from (only group admins can do this).

If you have Proclaim though, you can add downloadable contact information to your presentations. Say your church has a big potluck coming up. Or a work party. Or you’re preparing a mission trip. You want everyone in your church to have the contact information of the event organizer. Using Proclaim Signals, you can add that information to your announcement slide.

In your bulletin, this creates a section that allows your congregation to “download” a contact on their smartphones, adding the event coordinator straight to their contact lists.

Similarly, Proclaim also lets you create calendar events your congregation can download directly to their phone’s calendar.

Online giving

The lights dim. The sermon intro video plays. The ushers come forward with the offering baskets.
A small percentage of your congregation pulls out checks they carefully wrote before leaving for church. The rest of your congregation frantically scrambles to see if they have any cash left in their wallets.

Chances are that if everyone at your church gave what they could afford (Luke 21:1–4), or what they’re willing to give in their hearts (2 Corinthians 9:7), your church would never struggle to make ends meet. But there’s a lot of friction around giving, and it often makes this important spiritual discipline difficult to consistently practice.

Online giving makes tithing more convenient.

Convenience isn’t an obstacle to spiritual growth. The act of giving leads people to grow, not the process through which we give. It’s hard enough for people to look at their bills and resolve in their hearts to trust God and give what they can. When the actual hand off takes preparation (even something as simple as writing a check or taking out cash), or there’s only a small window each week to give, it makes it that much easier to tell ourselves, “Oh well, I’ll remember next time.”

When you link Proclaim to funds in Faithlife Giving, both programs work together to report finances beautifully. Just choose a giving slide in Proclaim, link it to a Giving fund, and watch the numbers load right into the design. See how to create your first Giving slide.

Start increasing your engagement

You can experiment with setting up your own free online church bulletins right now. Create your free Faithlife account and start a church group.

To get the most out of these digital bulletins, try it with Proclaim Church Presentation Software. You can get Proclaim free for 30 days, so there’s no reason not to see if it’s right for your church.

Get Proclaim free for 30 days, or learn how to create free online church bulletins.

Faithlife Proclaim: Simple, beautiful, powerful.

Written by
Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson is a writer for OverviewBible, where he uses Logos to explore the characters, groups, places, and books of the Bible. He has served in a variety of volunteer ministry positions, primarily through Young Life.

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Written by Ryan Nelson