Extreme Faith Bulletin

July 22, 2005 by

You may have noticed that we launched a new section, Peer Review. In the past we’ve done some marketing reviews, but they were often scattered, not officially submitted, and not geared for an open critique. This time around we’re trying to be organized and get peer input so the reviews can actually help churches. Check out the details and submit your own church’s marketing efforts, finished or not.

And of course we don’t know everything. So it’s a peer review. That means you. Let’s keep it constructive and try to help churches improve.

So let’s get on with our first peer review.

Sample: Bulletin shell created for a message series called “Extreme Faith.”

Front and back:

Inside pages:

New Life Community Church
Asheville, N.C.
Created by Bryan Robbins
New Life Community Church averages around 450 people and mainly reaches families in their 30s. The printed bulletin is legal size (8.5″x14″) folded down the middle with inserts for message notes and a response/visitor card. Previously, all the bulletins had been in black and white, so this is a big step. So far the response has been good.


  • What’s working with this design?
  • How about the writing?
  • How well does it serve its purpose?
  • What could be improved?
  • What ideas could you steal for your church?
Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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9 Responses to “Extreme Faith Bulletin”

  • Betsy
    July 22, 2005

    OK, I’ll go first. Great work, Bryan.
    LOVE the grungy feel of the design. But it’s still pretty conservative, which is good. Kind of a middle-of-the-road approach, since this is the first time you’ve deviated from the norm.
    The copy is a little “churchy” (thank you for worshiping with us…we pray that you…Christ-filled day), but that may work for you and their target group. To me, it feels conflicted, with “CRUX” just a couple inches below, advertising “church for a post-modern generation”.
    If its main purpose, as a bulletin, is to inform, then it’s doing great. The information is arranged logically and clearly.
    Areas for improvement:
    This may be a personal preference, but it feels like there are too many fonts. I count four on the outside alone (not counting the logo and same fonts in different colors).
    Also, on the back, the “Keep in Touch” and “Serving the Body” (another “churchy” phrase, btw) column headings really should be aligned.
    Ideas to steal:
    Contact info on the back of the bulletin… we could definitely use that.

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  • Michael
    July 22, 2005

    I agree with Betsy…I think it carries the feel well throughout, and talks of the extreme look that’s so popular right now.
    I do think there are too many fonts…think if you can reduce it to 2 fonts + 1 for copy. I’d also like to see some of the font treatment carried into the headings.
    The only other thing I would suggest is in everything you do careful that you aren’t overdoing something that’s getting close to being overdone. The iPod look is getting there for example and so is the extreme grunge look…but that may be just my preferences showing…I like to take something and give it a twist.
    Great work! Nice to see something different and with an edge!
    Keep it up!

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  • Andrew
    July 22, 2005

    Like the previous two comments, I agree that there are too many fonts. I would definitely drop the bold font (Impact) for each of the staff areas and replace it with a bold version of your copy font.
    The background is a nice touch–it adds depth without being too overpowering; the copy is still very readable.
    I would align the columns on the last page and adjust the copy slightly: instead of “Serving the Body” — perhaps “Ways to Serve” or just “Serve.” And “Thanks for coming today…” instead of “Thank you for worshiping with us today”
    Overall, I think you are on the right track…

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  • Alex
    July 22, 2005

    Here is my shot at a critique, having not read any of the previous comments. These questions might provoke some thought, hopefully:
    – This looks nice, but does it accurately reflect the culture of your congregation? It looks grungy and extreme. Does your church reflect these concepts theologically and culturally?
    – It is clear you are aiming toward a younger demographic, but if attenders are in their 30’s, might this still be too young in design?
    – We surveyed bulletin use at my church and found that 80% of the bulletins are tossed after services. Ours, though not graphically the same, had much of the same information as this one. It is clear that what we put in each week became white noise. People were not using the folder as an info source. How do your people use the bulletin? How much value are you giving people through the bulletin?
    – While it is clear that there is some attempt to communcicate with newcomers, there is still a lot of churchy language in the bulletin i.e. ministry, evangelism, baptism, etc. Is there a way to communicate these important, life-changing concepts creatively to those that are non-believers? The bulletin might be the first and only print piece new people see on a Sunday, so it might be worth putting yourself in the shoes of seekers when choosing the language used in this tool.
    – We (the church) are great at communicating to the churched, but are struggle greatly at communicating well with those that could care less about it. How can you use your bulletin to have more of a valuable impact that enhances what you do Sunday AMs?
    – As for design, respectfully, this comes off contrived. This usually happens when design is disconnected from the culture of the organization. Design, ideally, should reflect who you are, not you are trying to be (but most likely aren’t).
    My church is still innovating in this area, but has a ways to go. Hope these thoughts are helpful.

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  • Greg Marquez
    July 22, 2005

    I’m not a graphic artist kind of guy so I may be out of my depth here. But just a few first impressions:
    -Too Much. Too much print, too much information.
    – Nice cover art. A bit dated, i.e. I’ve seen it somewhere before but probably most of your people haven’t. But why have a cover at all? Spread some of you information on to the cover. Welcome your visitors on the front cover, the first thing they see.
    – Do you want to be using the word “extreme”?
    – If the purpose of the cover is to convey what you’ll be teaching on I think it fails. And I’m probably more familiar with religious jargon than most.
    – All that said, I think it was obviously done with a great deal of care and artistic sensibility. And I applaud your courage in submitting it for critique.

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  • kevin
    July 22, 2005

    First off, thanks to everyone for giving some input and keeping it civil. And big thanks to Bryan for your willingness to be the first.
    I like what you’re doing as a whole. I disagree with Greg and think the cover is a great place to set the mood and intrigue people. You don’t want to muck it up with lots of text. I like how the background design gives a different feel to the piece. It’s not a boring, ridgid piece.
    My biggest complaint is the whole “extreme” idea. I think the whole “extreme” boat came and went a few years ago, especially “eXtreme” with the massive, grungy X. I think I’d go for something more original.
    But it sure beats a lot of bulletins, hands down.

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  • Anthony Ingram
    July 25, 2005

    Just a few thoughts: The bulletin is a mix of something for visitors and for current members so it is hard to be all things to all people and still do a GREAT job. I do like the use of “spatter color” but it can make some of the text hard to read. Some of the wording does sound a tad “churchy” (the Our Purpose info might best be left off of a bulletin – just like the personal address of an old church member who MIGHT not want their info broadcast to pure strangers) Last for now, I would prob not put info in the general bulletin about church finances.

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  • Kerry Graham
    July 27, 2005

    I believe the Sunday bulletin is a church’s most important communication tool — I’m glad you have put effort into creating something very nice.
    I would echo some other comments in that there are too many fonts. I can count five or six — try to stick with fonts in the same family. But I’m glad you stayed away from Times Roman!
    The “Purpose” seems a little out of place. Perhaps it is because everything is given the same “weight”, in that nothing is highlighted more than anything else. It might be more appropriate on the back.
    In the “Contact The Staff” section, I would tighten it up a little horizontally, or place some leaders between the columns to help connect the titles, names, emails, and extensions.
    Keep up the good work!

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  • Jeremy
    July 7, 2006

    I do the bulletin at my church, so here are a couple of thoughts…
    First, I love the overall feel to the bulletin. One of the biggest things we strive for is getting rid of the churchy feel to stuff. So, with that in mind, I’d change some of the jargon.
    Second, Always use a proofreader. I found a spelling mistake. But, I tend to notice stuff like that.
    Third, I like the graphical money chart on the bulletin. The congregation likes to know where the money stands. Also, it may prompt people to give when they see it’s low.
    I love the purpose section. I would change the wording to make it less churchy and more relevant to new people.
    A couple of things I wouldn’t do:
    I wouldn’t have the “Serving the Body” section at all. The churched and unchurched alike don’t care who’s working in the nursery, and the workers shouldn’t need a bulletin announcement to know.
    I also wouldn’t have different cards going to different places (meal cards left in seat, other cards going to welcome center). It is confusing for a visitor. It would probably be best to have everything go to one place.
    Finally, I’d eliminate the extensions for the staff. My guess is that your church members wouldn’t remember that anyway. E-mail is good though.
    I think that’s about it. Overall, VERY WELL DONE!

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Peer Review