News In Pews Subscription
News in Pews
United Methodist Communications provides an electronic template, which allows your church to create your own, high-quality newsletter. All you need is a computer that runs Microsoft Word, a printer,digital images(optional), and news and information from your congregation.
Each issue will provide you with churchwide news and information and spotlights on how your giving to churchwide projects is helping to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will also send you monthly tips on creating a better newsletter.
To create your own weekly or monthly newsletter, change the headlines, pick the name of your newsletter, replace the filler with "real" text (stories from and about your church), print and mail it to your members. Place copies on the table in the lobby (vestibule) of the hall.
Building A Better Church Newsletter
Open the newsletter template. Name your newsletter by selecting type and replacing our "dummy" title with your own. With each issue, you will need to do that. Also, change the volume and number each time. (Normally volume refers to the number of years the newsletter has been published; number refers to the number of issues each year. So for a monthly newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 4 means this is the second year the church has done the newsletter, and it's the April issue).
All boxes of type - including headlines - can be replaced with your own type. "Select all" in each box and type in your own information.
Decide on the regular "departments" you'll have in your newsletter. These are the items that will appear each time, such as the pastor's column, church calendar, children/teen news, etc. If you have enough space and enough people, you might create a personal witness department, where a different person each time writes a brief article about his or her faith journey. Or salute a "layperson of the month," with a picture of the person and a brief description of the person's ministry. Name those departments and keep the names or titles consistent. (If you call it "pastor's viewpoint" in the first issue, keep that name unless you have a good reason to change it.)
To help guide you while entering your own information, select the paragraph marks option. This is the "double P" looking icon on the toolbar. By selecting this option, you'll be able to see all line breaks, column breaks, and section breaks. Because the newsletter is laid out in columns, this may be especially helpful in keeping the format consistent.
The areas for photos are tables within the Word document. To insert a photo into this area, highlight and delete the words "Insert photo here." In the toolbar select "insert" --> picture --> from file. In the pop-up window, select the photo from your files that you wish to insert.
You may need to resize the photo or the frame to your satisfaction once the photo is inserted.
All clip art can be changed or deleted as necessary. To do so, select the clip art item in the newsletter template and delete. If you wish to change the clip art item, then go to "insert" --> clip art. In the pop-up window, select the clip art you want from the files available.
For a top-quality newsletter
Create a newsletter team in your church. With your pastor's blessing, recruit four or five people to serve on the team. If you have a communications chairperson, that person should be included on the team. Decide how you will relate to the pastor/staff and your church council/administrative council. Each team member should volunteer to write or collect stories - and possibly take photos - each time. Also, assign members to get information from different groups - youth, children, Sunday school, singles ministry.
Use fonts (type style) consistently. A standard rule of thumb is to use one style of type for all your headlines and another for the body (the text of the articles).We recommend a sans serif (without "little feet" on the bottom) style such as Arial for headlines and the name of your newsletter, and one with feet for the main text of your newsletter, such as Times New Roman.
Edit, edit, edit. Studies show that readers appreciate tight and succinct writing; important dates and contact information at the beginning; and accurate spellings, dates and facts. Spend more time re-reading and editing your newsletter than you do typing in information. Readers will appreciate your attention to accuracy and brevity.
Use photographs to catch the reader's eye. You'll notice that the newsletter template includes spaces for photographs and art - for example, space in the pastor's column for your pastor's photo.
Make photographs large enough to be effective, and choose photos based on eye appeal. While it's nice to include as many people as possible in a group photo, if that photo is only 2 x 4 inches in your newsletter, the individual faces will probably be unrecognizable. Better to use a representative picture with one or two people, and list all the members of group in the caption or accompanying article. Ditto for clip art. Use it large enough or not at all.