how to spice up your church newsletter

Between the new project I’m doing for Standard, my regular Buzz column, managing Christian Church Today, and compiling weekly news about the NACC and its speakers, I read a LOT of church newsletters.

They typically include the same things—a note from the senior pastor promoting the new sermon series, announcements of baby dedication day or a youth group fundraiser, small group sign-up info, a link to the church’s Facebook page, an ad for some program created by Dave Ramsey, a quote from some book written by Max Lucado.

Predictable. A bit …


going postal

Letters, we get letters…..Actually, I rarely receive any about my writing. I’m quite fine with this—although some affirmation would be nice now and then, people usually write only when they’re unhappy, so the absence of mail about my Buzz column usually indicates I’ve at least gotten my facts straight.

My recent “Share Dance” Buzz entry didn’t have any inaccuracies, but it did get me one note. (Actually, an email—no one writes letters anymore, even critics.) “Share Dance” talked about a homeless ministry in Pittsburgh and its recent “sock hop” which included 1950s-style music and dancing. (Yep, you know where this is going.) The theme also fit with the ministry’s …


We all say we don’t “have time” for various things, but lately I’ve replaced that phrase. I now say I don’t “make time” because I’ve become increasingly aware of the abundance of time, even for those of us who claim to be the busiest.

Somehow we usually accomplish what’s most important to us; protestations that we can’t often mean we don’t want to admit where our real priorities lie.

For example, here are the necessary things I did today:
–Washed two loads of laundry
–Completed a major chunk of a consulting project due next Friday
–Wrote most of a Buzz column for Christian Standard
–Balanced my checkbook (to the penny, thank you)

Here are unnecessary …


Extra, Extra

In addition to this blog, I also write the every-other-week “Buzz” column for Christian Standard and I compile news tidbits for the weekly CS enewsletter.

Once in a while I find more than enough material for both assignments, but most weeks I’m hustling to find good up-to-date stories about unusual or innovative ministry.

That’s not because our churches aren’t doing creative things—it’s because we’re so darn independent and it’s hard to find out about them other than word of mouth.

So if your Christian church or church of Christ is breaking new ground in some area or doing something original, please drop me a line at buzz@standardpub.com. It doesn’t …


I conducted an experiment today.

Every few weeks the Christian Standard staff sends dozens of church newsletters for me to look through in hopes of finding interesting or inspiring ministry stories for Buzz. This week’s shipment included 79 church papers from around the country. I counted them up and then tracked the following:

These newsletters included a variety of announcements or articles—22 church camp promos, 13 CIY conference trips, nine golf scrambles, eight movie or game nights (not including Good Friday showings of The Passion), five appeals for recipes for church cookbooks, half a dozen paintball or laser tag tournaments, 31 women’s brunches/teas/”wear a hat”/”bring a purse” events, 23 seniors potluck dinners/bus …