More great church inventions

Previously, I wrote an article on the wonders of the bulletin insert; today we look at another great invention of the church: the newsletter, particularly, the pastor’s article.

Church newsletters take many different shapes and forms.  Some rival the New York Times based on the amount of ink and paper that they consume; others are leaner in terms of the number of pages.

All church newsletters are going to contain two staples: a calendar for the coming month, or quarter, and an article written by the Pastor.  At the congregation I serve, the newsletter is one page, on one side is the calendar (the news) for the month, on the other side is my article (the letter).  Others will include articles by others giving news on the women’s group and the youth group and the men’s group; not to mention several pages of missionary news; but when it really boils down to it: people read the calendar and they read the Pastor’s article.

Now the Pastor can write his article one of two ways: either he can use it as an extension of the bulletin, including announcement and advertisements for things that are coming up, or he can write an actual letter to the congregation which is more along the lines of a devotion or Bible study.

I follow the latter, which is what makes the newsletter such a great invention.

When people hear a sermon, they naturally are going to latch on to some points and forget others.  When people leave the church and go home, those points that they remembered are going to become mingled with other matters of the day.  In the end, by Wednesday, let alone Friday, the sermon that was preached on Sunday, which the hearer originally took away a few points on, may now be down to one point, which may or may not have been the
point of the sermon.  And if you were not in church to hear the sermon, then you have nothing at all.

Now consider the newsletter, which I like to call the sermon that you take home with you.

The Pastor’s article in the newsletter is the sermon that you can keep going back to everyday; the sermon that you can take notes on and review any time you want.  Not only
that, the newsletter article is the sermon that can be copied and given to neighbors and friends and relatives.  And the newsletter is the sermon that can be mailed to in-actives, preaching the Gospel to them in their various stages of life.

The newsletter article that focuses on Christ, and not a soup supper, is the newsletter that carries the Gospel to people whenever they need it.  It is the sermon that preaches just as good on Sunday as it does on Wednesday and Friday.

Is there room for advertisements and announcements?  Sure, that is what the calendar is for.  The Pastor’s article needs to convey Christ through and through.

The ultimate question about the newsletter article for the Pastor is this: does this article matter at the end of the month, or will it be thrown away?  I would rather have a short newsletter that people want to save because they can keep going back to it and hear Christ speak to them rather than have a long newsletter that is useless at the end of the month.

The Pastor’s article in the church newsletter is a great invention; it is the sermon that keeps on preaching.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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