Providing Outline Inserts in Worship Bulletins

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One of the passion I have for the church is a clear understanding of the Word of God.   As a result, I find myself wanting to employ whatever I can to facilitate this understanding: pew Bibles, projection screen, and even putting my outline (with blanks) as an insert in our bulletin.  This last one has particular issues that are helpful and, I believe, a bit harmful:


  1. Having the congregation refer to the outline and actively fill in the blanks keeps their attention and even curiosity up!
  2. They have this outline to refer to at a later date, or even to pass along to someone else for strengthen and comfort.
  3. It forces me (the preacher) to put the points “on the bottom shelf” so people can easily understand God’s truth.  Along with this, it forces me to remain decidedly applicational in my points, rather than merely informative.


  1. Like it or not, the majority fail to make use of these outlines, thus making me wonder if it’s a waste of paper.
  2. Once the last ‘blank’ if filled in, some risk tuning out because they are done with their respective blanks.
  3. This outline risks giving off the feeling of a classroom setting rather than an event in the preaching moment, thus actually serving to divert the attention of the listener to what they are writing rather than to listening.

What are some pros and cons to having sermon outlines as inserts in your worship bulletins?

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