Adding Staff & Member Profiles to Your Church Newsletter
Featuring interesting profiles of church members, staff members, congregational leaders and volunteers helps people get acquainted or reacquainted with one another. Familiarity boosts communication and trust and encourages a family-like atmosphere throughout the church.
The list of potential profile subjects is extensive. Adapt and add to this list, according to your congregation:
- senior and associate pastors
- youth and children’s ministers
- music director and staff
- Sunday school and Bible study teachers
- lay leaders
- volunteer coordinators and their team members
- congregational officers
- committee leaders
- new members
- longtime members
- people or families who’ve done something noteworthy
- couples getting married or celebrating a special anniversary
- youth getting confirmed or graduating high school
To prepare and publish profiles, follow these tips:
- During an interview, use a friendly tone, not an adversarial one. If the interviewee isn’t opening up about a particular topic or seems disinterested, move on to something else.
- Always return to the topic your readers have in common: your church. Include information about how the subject came to the congregation, serves the church or feels they benefit from what the church offers.
- When writing the profile, use as many direct quotes as possible. This presents the subject as a real person with a real voice.
- Offer at least one new or surprising tidbit that most readers don’t already know. This adds insight about the individual’s background and personality.
- Keep most profiles to a few paragraphs (200 to 300 words). That length allows you to go in-depth with a few areas without overwhelming readers.
- Choose the format that will work best for each profile. If space is short, use a question-and-answer format that provides a brief peek into someone’s life. For a longer profile that conveys a more personal touch, try a magazine-style article, complete with interesting hook and conclusion.
- Provide a photo with every profile so readers can put names to faces. Photos should be current, and faces should be large enough to be recognizable (about the size of a dime). For staff photos, go beyond the “Sunday best” shot. Consider showing church workers in more casual attire, with their families, engaged in a hobby and so on.
- If possible, showcase profiles in the same location of every issue. That page, spread or link will become a popular destination for readers. (An exception is the arrival of a new pastor, when a front-page profile is more appropriate.)
- Consider other venues for profiles. In addition to newsletters and websites, use them on staff pages of the church directory or on bulletin boards throughout the building. You can also submit them to community and denominational publications.
Need help brainstorming questions to ask profile subjects? Again, many possibilities exist. Here are ideas for various groups:
For staff members
- How did you first become interested in this type of ministry?
- Tell us about someone who influenced your career decision.
- What’s your personal mission statement, and how are you putting it into practice here?
- What attracted you to our church, and what do you think its biggest benefits and challenges currently are?
- What do you tell people who are considering joining our church?
- What’s your favorite book of the Bible, and why?
- How do you enjoy spending your free time?
- If you could visit any place, where would it be, and why?
- How did you get involved with serving in this role? What’s your favorite part of it, and why?
- What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you started volunteering?
- When your friends find out what you do here, what’s their reaction?
- What misconceptions do people have about this area of ministry, and what do you wish they knew about it?
- Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while volunteering.
- What’s your first memory of being interested or involved in this type of ministry?
- What changes have you witnessed in this field, and what trends do you predict for it?
- What are some of your other interests or hobbies?
For church members
- What was your first impression of our church?
- When and how did you become a Christian?
- What’s your occupation, and how does it provide opportunities to tell others about Jesus?
- If you weren’t in that field, what kind of work might you be doing instead?
- What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
- What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
- What kind of music and books do you enjoy?
- Describe your ideal weekend.
Don’t try to ask one person all these questions; instead, select four or five for each interview. Ask follow-up questions, as necessary, to fill in details and obtain interesting examples.
Captivating profiles of a variety of people are a great way to keep readers “in the know” about their church body.
Learn even more about adding interest and personality in your church newsletter.
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