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Church Printing: Methods for Sharing Your Church's Message in Print

Just like the spoken word, a printed message can be extremely powerful. Like a well-crafted sermon, printed words can educate, inspire and change lives. But printed words actually have an advantage over those delivered by an orator, because a message in print exists in tangible form and can be easily reproduced. This allows the message to reach many people who might otherwise not have been reached.

The desire to reach out and connect with others is why so many different methods of print communication are used by churches, ministries and religious organizations. Some forms of print communication are created for members, but a large portion is aimed at visitors, potential members, and specific groups within the community.

But regardless of the focus, all forms of church-based print communication should have certain characteristics. First, the message should be clear and simple. Second, it should be relevant to its intended audience. And third, it should be a positive, hope-filled message.

Below are the methods of print communication we see on a regular basis…

This colorful card extends a welcoming invitation to the community

Flyers and Cards - Flyers and cards are very simple forms of printed communication. Both are generally created as single, unfolded sheets of varying dimensions, though cards are thicker and smaller in size than flyers. The printing may be on one or both sides.

Intended for quick, affordable and straightforward communication, church flyers and cards are commonly used to announce an upcoming event, provide an invitation to a special gathering, share a bible story or verse, or relay a brief overview of the church's mission.

Depending on the message, flyers and cards may be used for members or non-members. Also, flyers and cards are most commonly distributed person-to-person, or they may be displayed in a rack or pew for people to help themselves. Sometimes, cards are designed as door hangers for use in neighborhood canvassing.

Brochures - A brochure is a printed document that is made up of multiple panels, either by folding a single sheet or joining multiple sheets. Many churches and religious organizations create a variety of brochures for promotional and informational purposes.

A brochure is generally created to introduce the church's history and philosophy. It is provided to guests and potential members who have little prior knowledge of the church and its purpose. As such, it is often part of a welcome packet to visitors and new members of the community.

Brochures convey information best when designed with colorful images and minimal text. Lengthy brochures may be somewhat intimidating and could become counterproductive. Also, personal testimonials from current church members are very compelling elements to include in a brochure. In addition to being concise and audience-focused, a brochure should contain multiple methods of contact such as physical address, phone, email and website.

A calendar provides year-round exposure

Calendars - A calendar provides continual exposure to your church and its message…24 hours per day, 365 days per year. In most cases, calendars are displayed in highly visible locations and referred to often. This means your church's message will be seen over and over again.

In addition, calendars make great gifts to congregation members, newcomers and visitors. Calendars also have tremendous appeal for church fund raising. If you are planning to print a calendar for the coming year, it is advisable to get your printer involved as early as possible. This will give you more time to understand all your options and make the necessary decisions. Creating a memorable calendar takes a little planning, but the results can be amazing and long lasting.

Many calendars, particularly wall calendars, use professional photographs and design elements to create a variety of spiritual and inspirational themes. You only need to add the name and message of your church or ministry to personalize these calendars. Creating a calendar this way is very economical, especially for smaller order quantities. You get lasting impact for minimal cost.

Postcards - A custom-printed postcard is a very simple and economical way to reach a specific audience. Extremely versatile, a postcard can be used as an introduction, an announcement, an invitation, a thank you or a reminder. It can also acknowledge a special occasion, such as a birthday, or be used any time just to let someone know the church is thinking about them.

Postcards are available in a variety of sizes and can be printed with any image, design or message you choose. Full-color and oversize postcards are very popular because they stand out from a pile of mail and grab attention. In addition to the printing, your printer can often perform the postage application, addressing and mailing of postcards for you.

Newsletters - A professionally-printed newsletter helps a church or ministry flourish because it keeps people informed about what is happening week to week. A newsletter provides a regular message from church clergy, as well as a systematic method for announcing upcoming events, activities and fund raising efforts. A newsletter also helps build fellowship by reporting interesting news, profiling families or individuals within the congregation, introducing new members, highlighting milestones and anniversaries, announcing births and memorials, and so on.

A newsletter doesn't need to be lengthy, but it should be distributed in regular intervals, such as every month or quarter. To maintain a fresh yet enduring presence, it is better to send out less information more frequently than more information less frequently.

Most newsletters are created from a large sheet folded into several smaller panels, like a bi-fold or tri-fold, or from several sheets bound into a thin booklet. Either method can be designed as a self-mailer to streamline distribution. Just like with postcards, your printer can likely perform the postage application, addressing and mailing for you.

Booklets - A booklet is a small, multi-page document that is almost always assembled with the saddle-stitch binding method. Saddle-stitching is ideally suited for booklets because it works best with lower page counts and it is the least expensive binding method.

Churches and ministries use the booklet format for a variety of messages. Booklets are commonly used for informational and educational purposes, as well as for daily prayers and verses, scripture memorization, stories of positive thinking and personal growth, devotional guides and other inspiring subject matter.

Booklets are particularly popular for outreach programs because they contain a lot of information yet can be created in a very compact size. This makes them very easy to distribute by hand or by mail.

A directory enhances fellowship among members

Books - Compared to a booklet, a book is designed for a much longer life span. A book is usually much thicker than a booklet and also has a more durable cover. Books can be created with a variety of binding methods.

One of the most common books produced by a church is a member directory, which contains the names and contact information for all the leaders and members of the church. A member directory provides the opportunity for congregants to contact and get to know each other.

The book format is also used to share the history of a church or religious organization, which is often written to commemorate a milestone anniversary. Books are also used for spiritual journals, collections of poetry and biographies. Like calendars, books are very well-suited for church fund raising.

Free-Standing Banners - A colorful, free-standing banner is a great way to draw attention in a church lobby or at a spiritual gathering. At the church, banners can announce an upcoming guest speaker series, a pageant or production, the start of vacation bible school, or other important events. At a conference or retreat, a banner can display your church's greeting or other welcoming message.

Most contemporary banners are easy to transport and store very compactly. When they're ready to be set up, they easily telescope, expand or unfurl into a full size banner. Retractable banners are extremely popular because they provide maximum visual impact from a very compact space. Self-contained in a sturdy base unit, these durable fabric banners rise vertically to create an attention-getting display.

If you are part of a church, ministry or religious organization that communicates in print, get in touch with Formax Printing Solutions. We print a variety of items - books, booklets, newsletters, mailers, event programs, educational materials, etc. - for churches and religious organizations and would welcome the opportunity to assist you as well. Also, we know the importance of working within tight budget constraints and can offer a variety of money-saving suggestions. Just give us a call when your next print project arises.

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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