“It was then he noticed a church bulletin lying on the trunk deck. Curious, he picked it up and carried it to the passenger seat. Brother Baker backed out of the drive and they settled in for the twenty minute trip to the golf course. Mark studied the bulletin with interest.”
By Tim Massengale
Mark pulled his battered golf clubs from the back seat and carried them over to Brother Vernon Bakers light blue town car.
“Pop the back, Elder. I’ll put these clubs in and we’ll get on the road.”
The elderly pastor pushed the button and the trunk snapped open. Brother Baker’s clubs were there, new and shiny, as if anticipating their day on the greens. Mark settled his clubs in beside them. It was then he noticed a church bulletin lying on the trunk deck. Curious, he picked it up and carried it to the passenger seat. Brother Baker backed out of the drive and they settled in for the twenty minute trip to the golf course. Mark studied the bulletin with interest.
“What is this, Elder? Is this your weekly bulletin? Do you do this every Sunday?”
The bulletin was two sheets of standard photocopy paper folded in half and saddle-stapled in the middle. This created a little eight-page magazine. The cover and back was in full-color. The inside pages were black and white with lots of photos and short articles. It was obvious that someone has spent considerable time designing it.
“That’s our monthly bulletin that we give to all our members. We also send it to our visitor mailing list each month. It’s a key method of staying in touch with our best prospects. We send out almost three thousand copies every month.”
Mark glanced up in surprise. “Three thousand? Every month? Wow. That must cost a lot! Why all the effort? What’s so special about your bulletin?”
“Remember me telling you about our prospect list several months back while we were out fishing? We have been building this list for years and it’s now over 8,000 names. We send the monthly bulletin to all our past visitors. If they visited our church for any reason – church services, socials, special activities or events – we send them our monthly bulletin. We have had excellent success with this.
Mark did not look convinced. “What do you mean by success? What do you get from this bulletin that a flyer or brochure would not do?”
“Flyers and invitational brochures are fine, but if you send them every month they quickly lose their effect. After a point they just toss them in the trash without a second glance. This little magazine here different. We constantly get feedback from those who get it that they look forward to it every month. And by success, I mean we get return visits. Every week we hear comments from visitors saying they read about a particular service in our bulletin. Getting your visitors back is important, Mark. Do you remember why?”
Mark nodded. “You said that in your church few receive the Holy Ghost the first time they come – I think you said less than six percent – and that most visitors come three or more times before they make their way to the altar. So if we want folks to receive the Holy Ghost we have to get them back again.”
Brother Baker nodded. “Almost 100% of our converts come from our visitors. They are the most important people in our city. We do everything we can to get them back. Do you remember the four things we do in our visitor follow-up ministry?
Mark grinned. “Sure! We try to do the same in my church. We call the visitor within 24-hours of their visit. We send them a letter within three days. We then knock on their door within seven days. Then we add them to our computer prospect list for mail-outs and invitations.”