How To Write Better Church Email Newsletters (6 Rules)

Brady Shearer
Brady Shearer
Sep 1, 2022
min read

Today, you and I are going to construct an email newsletter policy for your church – step-by-step.

Why is this important?

Because in my experience, church email newsletters often regress into a dumping ground for endless information.

But rarely are they effective.

Here’s the good news:

There is a way to format your church emails that will lead to dramatically higher open rates, click rates, and response rates.

Let’s dive in.


The policy I’m about to share with you is made up of six different rules.

These rules will help define and direct your church’s efforts as you write email newsletters.

But this post is also part of an ongoing series covering church communications policy as a whole.

And so I highly recommend you go through the previous installments – because each one is a different piece in the overall puzzle:

  1. The New Rules For Church Growth In A Post-Pandemic World
  2. 7 Rules Of Church Communications Strategy [Policy Template]
  3. Social Media Policy For Churches: The Definitive Guide

Rule #1: Every email should be sent from a real person

The first step to writing better church emails is to change the *FROM* field.

Instead of sending your newsletter from Engage Church – send it from Pastor Brett from Engage Church.’

An email sent from Pastor Brett at Engage Church.

Now, why would this matter?

Simply stated, humans connect more strongly with other humans than they do with brands or organizations.

Personalizing your emails will immediately translate to higher open rates, click rates, and response rates.

Of course, this kind of personalization won’t work for every organization. For example, if I subscribe to The Gap’s email newsletter, I’m not particularly interested in hearing from their CEO or local representative.

But my belief is that church should be family. A close-knit community of people following The Way of Christ.

So instead of writing your emails like a big brand, make them personal. Because that more closely resembles how we communicate to our churches in real life.

(not to mention, it contributes to higher open and click rates)

To that end, make sure to sign off each email with the sender’s name also.

For example, at the end of each email you could put something like:

Talk soon,
Pastor Brett
Engage Church

You might be wondering…

If we’re going to personalize our church email newsletters – who should we be sending them from?

And if we’re strictly prioritizing effectiveness, sending emails from your lead pastor will yield the most clicks, opens, and responses.

And that’s simply because your lead pastor is likely the person that does the majority of your church’s preaching and thus is the most visible person at your church.

Now, if your lead pastor doesn’t have the bandwidth or know-how to create these emails, it’s perfectly acceptable to prep the email on their behalf and just have them sign-off on it prior to dispatch.

To that end, it’s also perfectly fine to send your emails from another person in leadership. Just try to keep it consistent.

Send your church emails from the same person each week – because that’s how you build rapport.


Rule #2: Ditch the fancy graphics; plain text only, please

Here’s the bottom line:

Plain text emails feel personal. Emails filled with fancy formatting and graphics feel promotional.

Think about it, when you receive an email from a brand or organization, it’s usually filled with fancy formatting and graphics. When you receive an email from a friend or family member, it’s just plain text.

So here’s my question to you:

Do you want your church’s emails to feel like they’re coming from a big brand? Or feel like they’re coming from a friend?

Not convinced?

Consider this report from HubSpot. Here’s a key excerpt:

“Through all of our testing, there’s one hard truth we’ve discovered: nothing boosts opens and clicks as well as an old school, plain-text email. In every single A/B test, the simpler-designed email won. The emails with fewer HTML elements won with statistical significance.”

This also gets to the bigger question of what our churches are trying to accomplish with our email newsletters.

For me, I always want to prioritize effectiveness. That means, driving more next steps to affect life change in my church.

And for that reason, I try not to get too attached to my preferred way of doing things. If it’s effective, I do it – so long as it’s not morally questionable.

If it’s not effective, I don’t do it. And I don’t particularly care if we’ve always done it another way.

Because if I can demonstrate that a different approach is more effective, then that’s what we should be doing.

Because effectiveness is our highest priority. Not tradition. Not familiarity. Not comfort for church leadership.

And this is why it’s imperative to read through the first post in this series: The New Rules For Church Growth In A Post-Pandemic World. Because that post will help you accurately quantify effectiveness. And help your church understand what’s actually affecting life change in your ministry.

One more bonus of plain text emails?

They’re easier to prepare! Because they don’t require fancy graphics or formatting – all you need to do is write.

Rule #3: Send your emails at the same time each week

Here’s the deal:

Consistency creates routine.

And by sending out your newsletter at the same time each week, your church will become accustomed to a predictable pattern of communication.

I have a pastor friend that always sends out emails to his church on Wednesday afternoons. For me, I send mine out on Tuesday mornings.

So how do you determine the best time of the week to send your emails?

Don’t stress about the specific sending time. Instead, concentrate your energy on sticking with a consistent time once you’ve made your decision.

Rule #4: Include a P.S. at the bottom of each email

Think about how you and I read emails for a moment…

Because we don’t really read them – do we? At least not word-for-word.

We skim. We scan.

And in my experience, from the tens of millions of emails that I’ve sent to hundreds of thousands of people – the P.S. section at the end of an email is consistently one of the most read portions.

And I know this because the links I include in the P.S. portion are often the most clicked links.

But this makes sense, right? Because when you’re skimming through an email and you see a P.S. section at the end – it stands out!

So how should you use the postscript portion of your email?

Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t use the P.S. section of your email to introduce a different topic or talk about something new
  • Instead, restate and reinforce the main call-to-action of the email
  • Want your recipients to click a link? Restate that in the P.S. section
  • Want your recipients to respond to the email? Restate that in the P.S. section

(oh, and by the way, you might be wondering what an actual church email looks like when it follows all of these different rules – and at the end of this post I’ll show you exactly that)

Rule #5: Include the fewest items possible


This rule will probably be the hardest pill to swallow for most of you.

But here’s the bottom line:

If you want your emails to be the most effective, each email you send should contain just one item with a single call-to-action.

Now, if you feel like that’s an impossible task because your church has way too many promotions, then I would point you to the second post in this series on church communications policy – because it’s in that post where we tackle this issue. That post is called: 7 Rules Of Church Communications Strategy [Policy Template].

Here’s my promise to you: if you follow the principles in that post and implement them – you will be able to send out weekly email newsletters that contain just one item with a single call-to-action. And again, this will be the most effective approach.

With that being said, just consider this principle:

The fewer topics you cover, the more effective your emails will be.

Ideally, each email you send would contain just one item. But, if you’re currently sending email blasts with upwards of five topics and links each week – then condensing that down to two or three items will still translate to greater effectiveness.

So the rule to remember here is: include the fewest items possible.

Why? Because our highest priority should be effectiveness.

Not appeasing other ministry leaders to ensure they get their event included. Not making our jobs as communicators easier.

Because what is our job? To be effective. And to communicate in such a way that leads to more next steps and life change.

And guess what? When you prioritize effectiveness, things get more difficult for you. Because it’s much easier to pile on link after link, announcement after announcement, and fill up our communications with promotions.

But while that might make things easier for you this week, it will make your job dramatically more difficult next week. And the week after that. Because soon, people will stop opening your emails at all! And stop reading them. Because you are writing newsletters for you and not for them. And that is not what good communicators do.

And good work like that isn’t always easy, but it is worth it!

Am I passionate about this? Yes! Because the stakes are too high. The work we do has Heaven and Earth consequences – so don’t take the easy way out, because it will come at a cost.

Rule #6: Inspiration over information

Look, I get it.

There is a lot to communicate and talk about in your church – especially now.

The increased pressures of the pandemic are putting added weight on our communications systems.


Don’t allow your weekly emails to deteriorate into dry, information-heavy, bulletin replacements.

Because again, this may serve as a short-term solution for making sure you “promote” every event. But in the long-term, you’ll worsen your open, click, and response rates by conditioning folks to ignore your emails.

Prioritize inspiration and storytelling in the emails you send instead.

What does this look like when it all comes together? A real example…

I promised I’d show you what a real church email newsletter looks like when it follows these seven rules. So that’s what we’ll do now.

Below you’ll find an email sent from one of my mentorship students, Julie:

An email template.

What came from this email?

The last time I spoke with Julie, she had received twenty-one replies to this email. Dramatically more than she had ever gotten with previous newsletters.

And those replies represent twenty-one individual conversations of people sharing their stories of life change. And testifying of how God is moving in a season of great change and difficulty.

Moreover, with permission, Julie is going to take those stories and turn them into future social media posts.

This is the perfect example of a church email newsletter done right.

And pay special attention…

Because there is no event promotion in that email whatsoever.

But that’s okay. In fact, it’s actually preferred. Because email shouldn’t simply be a vehicle to promote ministry. It’s a platform to do ministry!

And what do we have here?

  • Twenty-one people sharing their testimonies
  • Relationship being built
  • Faith being built – as we hear how God is moving powerfully in the lives of others in our church family
  • And then we turn these stories into public social posts so our whole church can grow closer together and closer to God as we collectively see our faith increase
  • This is demonstrable life change. This is people putting their faith in God and becoming more like Christ.

And it all started with a simple email newsletter.

Download this policy as a written document below

Below you’ll find a link to a Google Doc where this entire policy is written down – rule by rule.

So make sure to download that and formalize it in your own church. It’s freely available to you so you can share it with leadership and get everyone on the same page.

And remember, this is just one of four posts in this series on policy and building a church comms ministry from scratch. Make sure you read through the other three posts – each is linked below:

  1. The New Rules For Church Growth In A Post-Pandemic World
  2. 7 Rules Of Church Communications Strategy [Policy Template]
  3. Social Media Policy For Churches: The Definitive Guide


Free bonus

Download Church Email Newsletter Policy – share it with leadership and get everyone on the same page.

Download Policy
Free bonus

Download Church Email Newsletter Policy – share it with leadership and get everyone on the same page.

Download Policy
Free bonus

Download Church Email Newsletter Policy – share it with leadership and get everyone on the same page.

Download Policy

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