Why do ministers hate writing newsletter columns?

I was chatting with some parish ministers; one complained about having to go back to finish a newsletter column, to the moans and commiserations of the others. (The weekly newsletter-meditation implied by the order of service-themed blog post yesterday only raises the demand.)

I lightly chuckled, since I don’t have that responsibility anymore. And funny, as I was already blogging in my last pastorate, it was always easier and more pleasant to blog than write newsletter columns, so it isn’t the act of writing, per se. (The only thing worse was coming up with suitably vague but interesting blurbs for sermons I hadn’t written yet.)

So preachers,

  • why is this task so awful?
  • what can be done to make it less awful?
  • would anyone notice if we stopped?

And by “we” I mean “you.” I’d love to hear from you. I’ll allow anonymous comments for this post, for obvious reasons.


By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Scott — this isn’t limited to just ministers.

    Non-ordained church professionals (e.g. Directors of Religious Education) can have their grumbling moments when it comes to writing their newsletter columns.

  2. I think some of us overthink the newsletter column. Trying to write something profound for a publication that is so ephemeral. Sometimes following the examples of literary pastors of previous generations who wrote lengthy essays in a world without blogs.

    I try to keep it brief – one or two paragraphs, and less than one page. Sometimes I highlight a piece of congregational business I want the community to be mindful of. Other times I offer a brief (quick to read) bit of inspiration. This is enough for me. I’ve seldom had congregants demand more, and I’ve often had them give positive feedback about keeping it brief.

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