Newsletters: more on the "why?"

The snow has stopped falling here in D.C., and I’m tired of writing about it. Back to church administration.

Earlier, I wrote that much of the utility of newsletters — not e-newsletters, but the ones handed to you or sent by mail — comes from their physicality, thus providing a connection to the ministry that sends them. I think this is why printed newsletter’s biggest defenders (and backseat copy editors) are the elderly, and not so much because of their age but because of the added difficulties of getting to church. It’s also more than “not getting the technology” — very often they have a vested interest in getting those printed pages. Think how many snow-bound people here will miss church but — perhaps unconsciously — leaf to see what the church news is as a touchstone or connection. (The instinct is akin to bringing and receiving food in times of distress.) For shut-ins and moved-aways, and for extra-congregational ministries, every Sunday is a snow day.

So I think the church and ministry newsletter will survive. But it needs to value the readers’ time and sensibility, be more clever in its production and attentive to quality.

Some thoughts about what I’ve seen next time.

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