The Ultimate Guide to Church Newsletters: Best Practices and Examples

Ready to connect with your congregants? Church newsletters are great for sharing information, building a community, and getting more regular church attendance. In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about crafting the perfect church newsletter. We'll also share some examples to inspire you!

12 minutes read
The Ultimate Guide to Church Newsletters: Best Practices and Examples

Whether you’re looking to start a newsletter at your church or simply revamp your existing one, it can be tricky to know where to get started.

What does a church letter need to include? And what do you want it to include?

When should you send it? Who should you send it to?

In this article, we’ve got answers to those questions and more. We’re presenting this ultimate guide to make your life easier. After all, don’t you want to spend less time thinking about your newsletter and more time spreading the gospel?

We’ll help you create great newsletters that your church members will look forward to seeing in their inboxes. 

Why Your Church Needs a Newsletter?

You might be wondering…why is sending a church newsletter worth my time and effort? There are several reasons why sending a newsletter is so crucial.

1. Build a sense of community

Staying in touch with your congregants means they’re continuously connected with the church and church leaders.

2. Keep your congregants apprised of your activities

On a basic level, a church newsletter is a way to share information about your regular services, upcoming events, and any changes or important notices. Most churches usually include an itinerary for the upcoming weekly service.

3. Reassure congregants who tithe

This isn’t something you come out and say in your newsletter; rather, by staying in touch, you’re reminding congregants that their support is vital to the well-being of your church and its activities.

Donorbox Church Fundraising

4. Encourage immediate action

Sure, you might ask for volunteers in person at church, but you’re more likely to get a response if you also include a call like that in your email newsletter, with an easy-to-click link and clear instructions.

5. Use analytics to see what works

Sending emails allows you to see how your audience responds to what through opens and clicks. Do they respond better to different subject lines? Or do they like to read more about one topic than another? Analytics can help in other areas too.

6. People prefer newsletter updates!

In a study conducted by ​​Nielsen Norman Group, 90% of respondents preferred to receive updates via newsletter versus social media.

Sending newsletters is an important and easy way to keep connected and share the news.  

Typical Structure of a Church Newsletter

In the end, it’s entirely up to you what your church newsletter includes. You’ll find a rhythm that works for your church and your congregation. However, most church newsletters contain the following similar elements:

  • Note from the pastor. A greeting, a word of wisdom, a quick update—something personal!
  • Calendar of upcoming events. Highlight any changes or itineraries for upcoming weekly services here. You can even mention the theme of each service.
  • Call to volunteer or donate. Here you can include any information about your volunteering needs. This is also a great place to include a link to your online donation form.
  • Congregation news. Ask your congregants to share the news with you to include in the newsletter. This is a great place to announce marriages, births, and other big, exciting life events to make your congregants feel more connected with each other.
  • Scripture. Include some scripture or other suggested reading.
  • A few good, interesting photographs. With all of your announcements, be sure to include some good photographs for visual appeal.

Pro tip: Just like with a nonprofit, it’s important to establish a recognizable brand for your church. Your brand is not only things like the colors you use in your logo and on your website but also things like your attitude and the energy of your church. Are you more serious? More laid back? More approachable? Whatever the case may be, be sure to keep your branding consistent throughout the content you choose to include in your newsletter.

As long as you include some of these elements in your newsletter, you’ll be generating the kind of content your congregants will come to expect.

Who Writes the Church Newsletter?

Once you figure out what you’d like to include in your newsletters, you need to establish who will be in charge of writing and compiling the newsletter.

Image shows two people sitting on steps and writing their church newsletter.

This of course depends on your church management structure, how many staff members you have, and the overall share of responsibilities. You don’t want any one person saddled with too much work!

When it comes to your church newsletter, it’s best to delegate the work to team members who have corresponding skills. Consider breaking up the tasks as follows:

  1. Logistics. Someone should be in charge of scheduling when the newsletters go out and handling the system for distribution. Common email management services for church newsletters include Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and WordFly. Usually, it’s best if you leave the logistics up to your church administrators.
  2. Writing articles. This should fall to multiple people, but the bulk of the content should be provided by the church staff and leadership. Your pastor can also occasionally provide content.
  3. Scripture. As mentioned above, you can include a scripture or suggested reading in your newsletter. This should come from your pastor.
  4. News. Most of the news you include about church members will be written by your staff or leadership—but sometimes you can even ask church members to write their own news! This helps your congregants feel more connected with each other.

Of course, your content will vary based on the type of newsletter you send out, too.

5 Types of Church Newsletters

Here are five common types of newsletters churches send out. Your church may choose one or two types to send, or you may end up sending all five!

1. Weekly, monthly, or quarterly church newsletters

These are your regular newsletters. The frequency depends on how quickly you can get new content. Ask yourself these questions to determine which interval makes sense for you:

    1. How large is your congregation? Is there a lot of congregant news to share?
    2. Do you have new members regularly joining who need to be brought up-to-speed on your activities?
    3. Would you like to include an itinerary for your weekly services?
    4. Do you need more volunteers?
    5. Are you hoping to get more contributions by sharing your online donation form in your newsletter?

Depending on your responses, you might find that sending a weekly/monthly newsletter is the best choice for you.

Quarterly newsletters tend to be longer. They’re sometimes not as effective as touchpoints because they’re less frequent (and require more of a commitment in reading time from your audience!).

2. Fundraising newsletters

These newsletters are sent when your church has a specific campaign they’re hoping to fundraise for. Things like new equipment for an initiative, funds to update your building, or a new missionary fund.

Typically, you want to send your fundraising-heavy newsletters separately from your usual newsletters to highlight your request for contributions.

3. Announcement of special events newsletters

When you have a special event coming up, be sure to send out a specific newsletter to get your church members interested. Send these newsletters at least a month in advance to build momentum.

Pro tip: Start with a dedicated newsletter for your upcoming special event. It should share all necessary details – the reason behind hosting it, who should attend, if there are entry fees, the time, date, and programs. Then, until the event date has arrived, keep adding a section in your weekly newsletter about the reminder for the event.

4. Staff updates newsletters

If any changes happen with your staffing or church leadership, it’s a good idea to send out a newsletter announcing those changes and any transition plans. This helps your church members feel connected to the ongoing functioning of the church, and they’ll appreciate being kept in the loop. It’s also a chance to thank any staff members who might be moving on for their service.

5. Holiday newsletters

Of course, you want to wish your church members happy holidays! But if your church has special services for holidays, you also want to send a newsletter with any information they need. This is an opportunity to share scripture related to the holiday, invite congregants to bring their friends and family, and ask for end-of-the-year contributions.

No matter what kind of newsletter you intend on sending and when, we have outlined the 12 best practices for your church’s newsletter! Read on so you’ll know everything you need for your church newsletters to be successful.

Tips & Best Practices for Church Newsletters

If you’ve never sent a newsletter before, it’s hard to know the best way to get started.

No need to stress! With the right understanding, you can make the process of sending out church newsletters as simple as possible. Here are some practices to keep in mind as you build out your church’s newsletter calendar. Let’s dive in!

1. Choose optimal send times

It can be tricky to decide what time to send your newsletter. You want to send it at the best time possible so the majority of your email list gets a chance to review it, right?

Studies have found that the best days to send newsletters are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the day. When you think about it, this kind of makes sense. Mondays are a drag, Fridays and the weekends are reserved for relaxing and running errands. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday hit right at the times when people are settled into their week and may be more willing to open an extra email.

Graph showing the email opens by day of the week.

Graph courtesy of Word Stream.

Pro tip: Of course, one unique consideration for churches is the timing of weekly services. If, for example, your church has weekly services on Sundays and your newsletter includes important information about that week’s service, you’ll likely want to shoot for early Tuesday so your church members have plenty of time to review that information.

2. Consider sending frequency

The frequency with which you send your newsletter will depend on a few things:

  • Content. Are you including long, researched articles? Or quick, to-the-point news bulletins? Along with length, you need to consider the amount of work your content takes. If you’re including in-depth material that takes a while to generate, sending a monthly newsletter might make more sense.
  • Audience size. Do you have a huge email list? With a larger congregation, you might find that you have more to report on. It might make sense to send out two smaller newsletters rather than one large one.
  • Medium for sharing. Will your newsletter be solely digital? Or will you print physical copies to pass out at services? Or both? Whatever you choose, consider the resources required for both (an email manager, paper for physical copies, etc.) and decide what frequency is most reasonable for each medium.

Once you establish these elements, decide on a frequency that makes sense for your church.

3. Segment your email list

Segmentation refers to breaking your total email list down into specific segments based on things like location, demographics, interests, and more.

For churches, segmentation isn’t always as important as it is for, say, a for-profit business. That being said, segmentation can still be a great boon to your newsletter process!

If you ever intend on sending a specific kind of newsletter focused on a specific subject, you can always ask your congregants to sign up for that specific newsletter if it matches their interests. Then you would have a segment of your email list receiving both your standard newsletter and your new, specialized newsletter.

You might also use segmentation for things like volunteer calls if you have a group of especially dedicated volunteers that you want to target, or even for contribution requests if you know you have a group of strong donors who are likely to give again.

Pro tip: Segmenting also means that you don’t overwhelm everyone with multiple emails. Since 69% of email users unsubscribe when they receive too many emails from one business or nonprofit, it’s important to use segmentation with additional emails to avoid exhausting your overall email list.

4. Craft (and test) engaging subject lines

People are bombarded with emails. On average, active email users receive around 121 emails a day.

Your subject line is a chance to snag your recipient’s attention, so you want to craft one that will stand out.

How do you find out what kind of subject line works best for your audience? You test them, of course!

Start by crafting two solid but different subject lines. Then split your email list into two different groups and send the same newsletter to each group with a slightly different subject line. Then, using your email management software, determine which email had a better open rate.

Once you know what kind of subject lines your audience gravitates toward, you can easily get ahead of the competing emails with an attention-grabbing subject.

5. Set a clear objective

Your objective can be to share a piece of news, cover a specific topic, educate about a relevant issue, or begin an important conversation. You might also think of the objective here as a theme or idea you want to talk about.

Whatever it is, let your objective guide the content you choose to include in each newsletter.

6. Use formatting and visuals to draw attention

Getting your audience to open your newsletters is only half the battle. The other half? Creating a well-formatted newsletter that people want to read.

Here are some elements to consider adding to your newsletter:

  1. Headings. When you have broad, clear headings, it’s easy for your readers to scan your newsletter to see what’s in store for them.
  2. Subheadings. Similar to headings, including subheadings helps your readers move through your newsletter more easily. They also draw attention to the important information and help you organize your copy.
  3. Short paragraphs. When someone is reading an email – especially if they’re on their phone – they want the reading experience to be easy. Short paragraphs make for easier reading than long ones.
  4. Bold important text. This guides your reader to the most important text.
  5. Interesting visuals. Do you have a graphic to show how new attendance has spiked lately? A series of photos from your last big event? Breaking up the text with visuals helps keep your reader focused (and not overwhelmed by a wall of words!).

Creating visual interest in your newsletter means your church members are more likely to read it and more likely to get the info you’re hoping to get across.

7. Use a conversational tone

One thing your audience really doesn’t want to read? A very serious, straightforward newsletter.

Of course, you’ll need to change your tone depending on the content of your newsletter. Sometimes you do need to be serious! But most of the time, a conversational tone is more fun to read and more welcoming.

8. Feature volunteers

Your volunteers do a lot for you—remember to give them a shout-out in your newsletter! This not only rewards current volunteers for their hard work but reminds those who haven’t volunteered yet that you’re always looking for help.

Image shows a group of people collecting food donations.

Pro tip: Consider including volunteer profiles highlighting an individual volunteer’s service, interests, background, and more. This helps build a sense of community within your congregation.

9. Use multiple distribution channels

We briefly mentioned distributing your newsletter via your email management system and handing out physical copies in person, but remember there are other distribution channels you can take advantage of. Things like:

  • Hosting the PDF of your newsletter on your website
  • Sharing a link to your newsletter on social media
  • Mailing your newsletter (note: this can get costly!)
  • Texting the link to your newsletter to your recipients

Depending on your needs, you might choose two or more distribution methods to make sure your audience gets your newsletter.

10. Let community members contribute

One way to make sure your community members want to read your newsletter? Let them contribute content!

Asking for stories, updates, announcements, anecdotes, and more from your congregants both promotes that all-important sense of community and takes some of the content-generation pressure off of you.

Plus, it’s fun for those who read your newsletter and for the person who gets to contribute.

11. Include volunteering and donation links

Part of your goal for sending your newsletter is to keep your congregation feeling connected and up-to-date about the goings-on in the church. But sometimes you have another goal in mind.

Whether you need to collect contributions to fund new hymn books or you’re looking for volunteers to help organize your church records, you’ll want to include clear and easy-to-find links to recruit volunteers and collect donations.

With Donorbox, you can easily link to your online donation form through your newsletter email. Once you customize your form with your campaign details, you can host it on Donorbox’s website or easily embed it into your website.

The Faith Miracle Church‘s donation form is an excellent example of a simple and recurring way to collect online donations.


Example of a church's Donorbox donation form.

Whichever way you choose to go with your donation form, including a clear, easy-to-find link in your newsletter means your congregants will be able to give quickly and easily.

Get Started With Donorbox

12. Include shareable social media content

By including some content your recipients can share on social media, you’re asking them to help you get the word out about your church. So the easier you make that content to share, the better!

Some ideas for shareable content include:

  • A graphic with information about your weekly services (being sure to format it correctly for Instagram)
  • A ready-to-go tweet
  • A link to your website with some easy copy-and-paste text

Your congregants want to share more about your activities, so use your newsletter as a space where you can give them a head start.

3 Great Church Newsletter Examples (With Samples)

If you still need some inspiration, here are some real-world examples to get you going.

1. North Point Church Weekly Newsletter.

North Point Church is based in Plainwell, Michigan, and aims to support the community through the ups and downs in life. We loved their candid approach toward their supporters, which made the newsletter look fun while still being very informative with financial information.

This newsletter has it all: a thought-provoking note from the pastor, important info about youth group programming, and information about their current fundraising campaign. Check the full newsletter here.

Screenshot of North Point Church's newsletter.


2. Faithbridge’s Online Bulletin.

Faithbridge Church, located in Spring, Texas, seeks to build an authentic community through convictions, persuasions, and opinions. They strive to be a bridge of faith to people every day.

We loved their modern take on a newsletter: an online bulletin full of interesting articles, information about upcoming events, and food for thought. Along with brief thoughts from the Bible teacher, they also have a link to a PDF with thorough discussion questions.

You can check out their online bulletin here.

Screenshot of Faithbridge Church's online newsletter.

3. First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach’s PDF Newsletter

First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach has a mission to nurture each congregant’s faith to do God’s work in the world. Serving the community is a big focus of their mission and work.

Their newsletter, “News and Opportunities,” reflects these values by offering in-depth information about upcoming services and programming. There’s also a whole section devoted to highlighting upcoming congregant birthdays.

This thorough newsletter is a great example of creating value for your congregants while sharing important news. Check out this church newsletter for amazing imagery and content.

Screenshot of this church's newsletter.

Final Thoughts

Donorbox has helped thousands of churches around the globe with effective features like customizable forms, text-to-give, and more. It also integrates seamlessly with communication tools such as Mailchimp to make your email campaigns easier. Learn more about how we empower churches in this short video!

There are many different ways to approach creating a newsletter for your church.

Remember to keep your brand in mind when you get started. You’ll also need to be realistic about the content you and your team can produce regularly.

And lastly, the most important part: remember to make a newsletter that your congregants want to read.

With the right practices in mind and a good toolbox under your belt, you’ll get your newsletter programming up and running in no time.

For more church management tips, check out the rest of our Nonprofit Blog.

Lindsey Baker

Lindsey spent years wearing many hats in the nonprofit world. Whether she was helping arts nonprofits with their messaging and content, planning a fundraising gala, writing an NEA grant proposal, or running a membership program with over 400 members, she learned how to navigate – and appreciate! – the fast-paced world of fundraising. Now, she loves sharing those hard-earned lessons with the Donorbox community.

  • linkedin

Join the fundraising movement!

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive the latest blogs, news, and more in your inbox.

Join a 30min Demo to see how Donorbox can help you reach your fundraising goals!
Join a 30min Live Demo to see how Donorbox can help you reach your fundraising goals!
Breng je Donatie ervaring naar een hoger niveau
Increase tithes and offerings for your Church
Donorbox MinistryMatters is trusted by impactful Christian organizations around the world