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Save Money, Toner, Paper and Possibly Sanity, and Get High Quality Bulletins

August 25th, 2008
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

Many congregations think that they can save money by printing their own bulletins and design them themselves. Several factors however actually might mitigate against this theory. First, a professionally designed bulletin cover requires the use of pre-made graphics, photos, and other such designs, which do not necessarily come cheap. Second, a bulletin specifically designed to support the Lutheran Service Book three year lectionary, with cover image and options for what is on the back is already available. Third, printing out color bulletins, or any graphic intensive bulletin, for that matter, consumes both toner cartridges, paper and valuable staff time. A better alternative is to subscribe to Concordia Publishing House's Every Sunday Bulletin Service. Here are a couple of whimsical videos that make a good point! For more information on CPH's ESBS program, please call 800-325-3040. Or visit the "Save the Copier" web site. Here are a couple whimsical videos that make these points.

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Categories: CPH Resources
  1. August 25th, 2008 at 11:37 | #1

    Except… I don’t use the three-year lectionary. I haven’t checked lately, but as of five and ten years ago, nobody was publishing bulletins using the historic (one-year) lectionary. I have always wondered why, considering that a good number — probably over half — of my fellow ELS pastors seem to use the historic lectionary, too, as found in our Hymnary. Why? It may have something to do with this ELS General Pastoral Conference paper by Rev. Alex Ring. In any case, it has resulted in my streamlining and automating the bulletin-generation process as much as possible, so that lectionary texts are automatically generated and included for each Sunday in the Church Year (using NKJV). There are disadvantages, of course, like the time needed to select a cover image from my cache of church-year artwork, though this is balanced with the advantage of putting the church-specific contact information on the cover too. The chief disadvantage is aesthetic. To save money, the printing is monochrome only. Colored paper helps, but without the pizzaz of 4-color printing.
    McCain: Ah, yes, the ongoing challenge of “answering the mail” on bulletins for one year lectionary purposes. It is kind of a perfect storm of reasons why we can’t make a go of it
    (1) Which one year lectionary? There are several iterations on it, and not complete identical 1-year used by everyone who uses it. That’s problematic.
    (2) Small numbers. The only way we can make bulletins work, financially, since the per bulletin revenue is so small, is by selling sufficient quantities of them. That’s hard to do with 1 yr. since there are relatively few congregations using it and the membership of those congregations trends toward the small congregation, hence, we can’t get a large enough “critical mass.” to make it work.
    (3) Then there is the question: which Bible translation? ESV, NIV, ESV, NASB?? There are a variety of translations out there in use, so…no uniformity there either.
    Frustrating? You bet. But that’s the situation we are dealing with here.

  2. Ryan Fehrmann
    August 25th, 2008 at 14:02 | #2

    We are going to print our own Worship Bulletins since we use the one-year series. True there are variations on the one-year but going with one, say the LSB or TLH one-year (we use LSB one-year), would be an improvement over using the three-year series. We still print the front and back of the bulletin even with the nice pre-printed color graphic, and our ink is free, so the cost and “wear and tear” is not an issue.

  3. Ryan Fehrmann
    August 25th, 2008 at 15:14 | #3

    Oh, by the way… I don’t want my above post to in any way look like I’m not appreciative for CPH. I thank God for having the publishing house, the resources they produce, the Hymnal, the upcoming Treasury, yes the ESBs, and the direction the leadership has taken it in the 21st century.
    There are resources for the One-Year series, just not as much as a regular user would like, but it is a conscience decision to go with a less supported lectionary (but not less supported in the wealth of historic resources!) and all should count the cost.
    Still always good to speak up, enough badgering sometimes gets results ;)

  4. August 25th, 2008 at 15:22 | #4

    The ELCA church here in town uses the CPH bulletins. Naw, we weren’t attending there – my husband and I were there during the week attending to an organ repair.
    But our own church doesn’t use them. Not sure why; we do use Growing in Christ and CPH’s offering envelopes.
    Cute videos.

  5. August 25th, 2008 at 16:11 | #5

    Two comments:
    1) If Judy is seriously having that problem she’s not doing it right! LOL, I’m a graphic designer and photographer AND the church secretary and the copier is not the way to create graphics or bulletin covers. Also, I think most churches end up subscribing to graphics sites or buying graphics that they can use over the years and inside the bulletin and newsletters. Some of these are very appropriate to the liturgical season and look great too. Granted, not all churches are as blessed as we are to be able to spend the money on the CPH bulletins and on graphics periodically, (and they don’t have me – i’m working on humility) but I really hope other church secretaries aren’t doing it Judy’s way.
    2) In both videos, what I feel was the absolute WORST cover of the year was the one shown in a flattering light. But I suppose the intent of the video was really to sell the bulletins to those churches who opt for no bulletins and just go with screens. In that case, it probably was the best cover to choose from since that’s generally their focus anyway… $$$ and more $$$.
    But those complaints aside, I do like most of the bulletins and would likely design something similar to the more classic ones if I needed to. I also appreciate that a previous complaint of mine to CPH was taken seriously – of course I’m sure most of the other customers also complained… and that was about the teeny tiny print of the texts of the day after changing to ESV when there was white space still left on the back. Also, they truly are economical. Broken down, each sheet ordered is not much more than a regular sheet of paper run through the copier and it does save on staff time.
    Wait, one more complaint… can the bulletins stop progressing to the generic protestant side? It’s really a shame when we end up not wanting to use a dozen or so per year.

  6. Rev. Christopher M. Fincher
    September 14th, 2008 at 14:20 | #6

    Awkward congregational size is a problem in my dual parish. Each congregation was subscribed to a different version of the Every Sunday Bulletin Series, but fully a third of the fixed-number subscription was going to waste at each location every week. One box was not enough for both congregations, but two boxes was far too many. Solution? We moved to the downloadable bulletin inserts and a monochrome bulletin cover so we could print exactly the number we needed. Then the price of the downloadable inserts more than doubled to the current price of $40.00 a quarter, which effectively did away with any benefit we were reaping. As my time is already paid for and the number of copies is not huge, it seemed to me that my time would bes well spent putting the bulletin together myself, and the congregations agreed with me.
    I realize that this is not the usual state of affairs. There are what I am coming to see as a large minority of churches that cannot be served in a cost effective way by a publishing house and who in turn find the resources offered to be less cost effective on their end than could be desired. I have no solution to offer to our situation except the one we are currently using. The process of compiling my own propers, all public domain or ESV handled in accordance with the publisher’s instructions, has proven to be a central part of my homiletical process, and not a burdensome task at all.

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