If your church doesn’t already have a brochure, there are several very sound reasons you should think about getting one, and we share here 10 great ideas to get you started!
Church buildings are slightly unusual places in that they are public spaces that are normally left open and have a steady stream of visitors who arrive at the building when no one else is there. When you’re not there to tell a visitor about your church, what do they see? How do they use and enjoy this space?
A brochure near the entrance is the welcome you would like to provide if you were there yourself: a brochure tells the visitor they are welcome, invites them to enjoy the space they are in, and provides them with information they may be looking for.
But what should a church brochure include?
The brochure needs to ‘speak’ to the diverse needs and interests of the visitors who may pick it up on any given day, so it is helpful to try to imagine some examples of who your visitors might be. Might they be a family with children who have just moved to the area and are wondering whether there is a playgroup? Might they be tourists who are visiting your town or village and are interested in the local history? Might they be someone looking for a quiet space to pray?
With these three visitor examples particularly in mind, here are 10 ideas to get you started as you think about what your church brochure might include:
1. Invite your visitors to pray. Specifically welcome them into any parts of your church that are especially set aside for private prayer. If you have a prayer station or candles or some other symbol of prayer, invite your visitor to participate; they may need reassurance that this activity is not only for regular churchgoers and that they are welcome to participate too, even if they have never prayed in a church before.
2. Invite your visitors to look around. Point out some of the features of your church building. If these are in different parts of the church and encourage the visitor to move around the space, all the better because it reassures the visitor that they don’t need to be reticent about exploring.
3. Be clear about when the church building is open. This is helpful to visitors who take the brochure away with them because they have a reminder when the church is open again, and it is also reassuring to visitors who are there for private prayer or just to look around, so they know how long they have uninterrupted use of the space.
4. Be sure to give details of your regular services! Also mention any regular activities that take place at your church, for example, playgroups or social activities, and give contact details so that visitors can find out more.
5. The contact details of the priest/minister, and the contact details of the churchwarden(s) and safeguarding officer(s), and, if it is relevant, the contact details for any one who is responsible for the building on a day-to-day basis.
6. Highlight in the brochure how people can go about arranging a wedding, funeral or baptism at the church. These life events are sometimes the only moments some people come into contact with their local church, and it is quite possible that someone who has a wedding coming up may visit your church to have a look around, well before contacting the church formally. Clear details on how to get in touch to discuss a wedding, baptism or funeral are not only practical but can be reassuring when someone is unfamiliar with churches and how they work.
7. We know from research that a very large number of internet queries relating to ‘church’ are asking for information on church buildings, and the history and architecture of churches, so don’t neglect this information in your church brochure! Tell visitors a little about the history of your church, and point out some of the key architectural elements.
8. We also know that many people visiting churches do so because there is a family history connection. For this reason, it is also helpful to provide a brief description of any baptism and burial records your church holds, and how people can go about consulting them.
9. Bells! People who live near your church or who are visiting the area may hear your church bells and be interested to know more, so tell them about the bells, when they are rung, and also of course whether there is any way they can potentially participate in bell ringing.
10. People who aren’t regular churchgoers sometimes find it difficult to tell the difference between denominations of churches, so it is helpful to mention on your brochure what denomination your church is, whether it belongs to a particular diocese, and make it clear what national or international church organisation your church is part of.
We believe that church visitor brochures are an important part of the Welcome of your church. Don’t miss this great opportunity to tell people about your church and church community, and answer the questions that people visiting your church may have.
We spend time thinking about the impact that church brochures have partly, of course, because this is something we work on very frequently. If you want to explore how we might be able to help you, get in touch and we’ll work with you to design something brilliant for you church!