Thoughts & Frustrations About Church Bulletins

I’ve never been overly fond of church bulletins.  In fact, they have always frustrated me.  I don’t like to know the details of a church service before it happens.  To me that’s like reading the plot of a movie or TV show, before you watch it — a recipe for boredom.  I prefer live spiritual action, rather than a programmed religious presentation.

In one seminary class on public worship, I was required to prepare a bulletin for an imaginary church service.  I wasn’t involved in a church that used Sunday bulletins, so I went to a big, mainline church and asked if I could have a blank bulletin for a seminary project.  They graciously gave me a few that were a light blue color.

When I typed the bulletin, I accidentally switched out the “order of service” and the announcements and got them crisscrossed on the “wrong side” of the bulletin.  When I got the assignment from my professor I had a “C” because my bulletin was the wrong color and because the announcements and the “order of service” were not in their proper places.

My frustration with bulletins has even caused me to act out.  Once I was leading a church service for a minister who was on vacation.  As I did my best to lead the congregation through the details of the “order of service” printed in the bulletin, I missed up 3 or 4 times and did things out-of-order.

At first the congregation was polite, then some were annoyed, and then a few people began to quietly chuckle in church.  Finally, in frustration, I tore the bulletin up and said something like, “I think I need to do this spontaneously.”  People were in shock.  But I sure felt better.

Even today, so many churches still print their program on that piece of paper that people pick up prior to the preaching.  However, not everywhere.

At The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, Tennessee we ask God to print His program, part by part, on different people’s hearts. Then as each person openly shares the part on his/her heart, God’s program beautifully comes together and we are all in awe.

Come see for yourself — Sunday mornings at 10:45, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207.

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About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. I have written two books: Mindrobics: How To Be Happy For The Rest Of Your Life and Your Sperm Won--Experiencing Your Value As A Championship Human Being. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I lead a non-traditional church in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the early church come to life in our time.
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3 Responses to Thoughts & Frustrations About Church Bulletins

  1. ruislip1964 says:

    What frustrates me in contemporary churches are the bulletins don’t seem to change from week to week, even though they are mainly announcements instead of an “order of service.” I have often complained at the greeters for wasting their time passing them out.

  2. david says:

    cheers! for no bulletins. growing up as a southern baptist I’ve always wondered why there was so much importance on the objects, people started depending on them like clock work and would get upset if they didn’t get one. Thank God, we have a father who is alive and speaking and doesn’t make himself pre-planed and boring every sunday morning

  3. I enjoy writing “Notes of Encouragement” in our church bulletins every week. I do not write something, just to be writing it, but I pray for the leading of the Lord for what will encourage people through out the week. We do not list what the Pastor will be preaching as we depend on the anointing and allowing the spirit of God to lead in our services. We allow open worship, the in-filling of the Holy Spirit, the laying on of hands for healing and the “emotional experience” with Jesus Christ. We encourage building a relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and do not quench the spirit of the Lord. I would venture to say that churches in general need to be more spirit-led than pre-planned. Being pre-planned does not give God the ability to “work” in the service, nor does it allow Him to “change” the pre-planned format to incorporate the working of His spirit within the lives of people who came to be changes by His presence.
    Thank you and God Bless you as you endeavor to follow His will.
    Kathleen Vandevender
    Medford Life Church
    medfordlifechurch.com
    Medford, Oregon

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