The church loves print materials! Historically, church communication revolved around the bulletin. When announcements were made, often a bulletin was referred to. Why? Because it was the only way for families to be reminded of ministry activity.

But problems come with print materials: they take a lot of time to prepare, they cost a lot to reproduce, they get misplaced easily, and they get outdated quickly.

And when they do? It’s impossible to supply a corrected substitute to replace the original. Another more obscure issue with print materials? You can’t track if they’re read — or even how much time is spent with them. We often fall into an unfounded confidence of “because I gave them a print handout, they will know.”

Today, most people prefer to go to the internet and discover the information rather than find where they put the handout. But the problem with websites? Older demographics resist them.

So, since most churches are comprised of many older people, print handouts are around for at least another 10+ years. So, let’s discuss ways to create effective print handouts:

1. Know who the intended audience is.

Understand who you want to pick up and digest the content of your handout. Imagine they’re in front of you with very little time.

2. Discuss what the purpose of the handout is.

Since your audience has mere seconds of attention span, know the most important information and what they need to know. It all goes back to who the handout is intended for and what they would be attracted to.

3. Collect the required materials to serve the purpose.

Now, think of everything you’ll need to fulfill the purpose of the handout and ensure it is high quality.

4. Professionally layout the material.

Don’t have layout or design skills? Be careful. If something looks badly, it’ll reflect on the quality of the ministry behind the handout.

Other solutions? Ask a freelancer, hire a designer, or use prepackaged templates for a desired computer program.

5. Know foundational brand elements and use them.

This is critical! Every communication piece should build your church’s brand (what you’re known for). Know how logos should be used, color restrictions, and font restrictions. No restrictions? Then you don’t have a church brand (so fix that!).

6. Edit. Edit. Edit. Calm everything down.

The calmer it is, the more time someone is likely to spend on it. Since most have little time, they risk missing important information. Do whatever it takes to get them to spend more time.

Like great pictures that extend the story and captivate attention. Allow white space so nothing feels cramped. Don’t have any unnecessary word or concept. Keep things simple.

7. Concentrate on “what now?”

Your audience will skim over the handout quickly. If they’re interested at all, they’ll want to do something. Know what that is and make sure you’re clear.

Examples of call to actions? Register on our website. Call the church. Or bring a friend!