Designing Worship Leaflets

As we look toward the fall and the beginning of the program year (and yes, we know that “program year” is not a liturgical term), you might want to rethink your service leaflet.

When was the last time you evaluated your service leaflet (or
bulletin)?

Have you looked at it like a visitor might?

Does it contain “code language?”

Do you print the whole liturgy, hymns and all, every week? If so, why?

If not, how do you decide what to include?

I have visited a great many parishes throughout my church life
and have seen many service leaflets – some very helpful and
some not so much.

Some parishes print the entire service every week so that parishioners don’t have to juggle books. With a Book of Common Prayer and, possibly, three hymnals, this can be an issue, particularly for visitors. However, this can be expensive, not only for the office budget, but also for the environment. A good compromise might be to print the whole service on the days on which you expect a large number of visitors— Christmas Eve, Easter Day, baptisms, etc. Other parishes print a very bare bones leaflet, a practice which can be very confusing to parishioners and visitors alike.

I am going to propose something in between – a via media of service leaflets. The philosophy behind this approach is that using the prayer book is a good thing. Unfortunately, our liturgy sometimes skips around in the prayer book in ways that can be confusing. For instance, there seems to be no reason to direct folks to the prayer book for a one sentence response (Opening Acclamation) when they don’t have another response until several minutes later, by which time they have put the book down to pick up the hymnal. Why not print the Acclamation and the congregational response in the leaflet?

What follows is a mock up of a service leaflet with comments inserted as to the purpose of each decision made. There may be many disagreements with some of the decisions made, but my principal point is that we need to think these things through and be intentional about what we include and what we omit.

So have at it!

For more detailed information, click HERE.