BIG DAY – Even With Today’s Tech, This Old Fashioned Method Still Works Best (for us, at least)

While the website is helpful, it is not our primary communication tool. Our mailings are our biggest outreach tool. Our guests refer to the mailings more than the emails or Preaching Rally website.

I am no social media guru. In fact, I have a barely-running Twitter account that I still do not know how to use well, and I am active on exactly zero other social media sites.

But I am smart enough to realize that my way is not the best way to promote an event. People live on social media, and I know I should go to where people live. But I do not do it. I have no compelling reasoning on my side except for a few things:

  1. Social media takes a ridiculous amount of time. I am not active on Twitter because it takes a lot of engagement. I sometimes wonder how people see any tweet ever. ALL tweets buried in the deluge, in my opinion.
  2. I don’t want to. Okay, here’s the REAL reason, probably. I am just not inclined (read: too lazy?) to learn the platforms and devote the time to doing promotion right.
  3. The mailings are working for me. I ask people how they first heard about the Preaching Rally, and the most common response is “mailing sent to my church.” Sure, it might be “outdated,” but it is working for us.

So there are my completely non-spiritual reasons for sending out physical printed mailings rather than saving the earth and going paperless. Sorry, earth. I’m shipping massive loads of paper all across Southern California.


Setting Up Our Mailing List

Our Preaching Rally mailing list has grown over the years. Early on, we purchased a few general church lists and combined them into one massive spreadsheet. We sorted the sheet by zip code and removed the listings that were outside a two-hour (or so) drive range.

Each year, we duplicate the tab, rename it to the current year, and then refine the listings through our mailings (when our envelopes get returned), through internet searches (i.e. if the church name changes), and through our call-throughs.

We gather data on each church, including the following columns on our spreadsheet:

  1. Source list
  2. Church name
  3. City
  4. Mailing Address
  5. Street address (if different)
  6. State
  7. Zip
  8. Pastor First Name
  9. Pastor Last Name
  10. 20_ _ Callback Responses (updated each year with new date)
  11. Church Phone
  12. Youth Pastor First Name
  13. Youth Pastor Last Name
  14. Youth Pastor Cell
  15. Youth Pastor Email
  16. Church webstie
  17. Miles from Temecula
  18. Pastor Email
  19. Church Email
  20. Youth Pastor Pic on file (pictures stored so that registrars and other key leaders can recognize and greet each youth pastor by name, and associate them with their correct church.)
  21. Pastor Pic on file
  22. Notes 1
  23. Notes 2
  24. Notes 3
  25. Notes 4
  26. Adult Attendees
  27. Teen Attendees
  28. Cash
  29. Check
  30. Credit

This list now tallies about 175 churches, and is current with pastor names, phone numbers, church names, cities, etc. We have limited the list to as many names because our Preaching Rally is only a one-day event, and driving longer than a couple hours is not common in our area.


Bulk Mailing

Our church has a business account with our post office, and our permit allows for bulk rate postage, which is about one fifth the cost of regular postage. The bulk shipping rate minimum is 200 pieces. We ship to our mailing list (about 175 churches), and mail the 25 remaining pieces back to our church. This helps us meet our minimum, and it allows us to see how our mailings look after being processed through the system.

We use a mail merge within Microsoft Word to print the addresses onto standard 30-up labels. Simple instructions on how to do this can be found online, tailored specifically to your software. Our church secretary handles the prints, and no other chief is assigned to oversee the mailings. A team of ladies assemble each mailing–applying labels, folding papers, stuffing and sealing envelopes.


What We Send

Each year, we send out three or four mailings.

  1. Mark Your Calendar. We send the first POSTCARD (6”x9”) in August, hinting at the theme but not revealing it. We might use the color scheme, or a blurred background image, or some wording that hints at the topic, but we leave the theme a mystery until the November mailing. The purpose of the postcard is simple: Mark your calendar. As churches head into the Fall, they are planning their next year’s calendar. We want to at least make them aware of the date so that they do not over-book another church event, eliminating the “we didn’t know” excuse!
  2. Announcing the Theme. In late November, we send a simple LETTER on themed letterhead, tri-folded and mailed in a #10 church envelope. As soon as the unfold the page, the letterhead announces the theme title and the letter explains the theme. The graphics give the instant punch, while the wording explains the spiritual need that the Preaching Rally will address. For those churches that are new to the Preaching Rally, we briefly explain the event and invite them to come.
  3. Promotional Packet. The biggest mailing of all is our PACKET, a 9”x12” envelope sent five to six weeks before the Preaching Rally (allowing time for the mailing to arrive, and time for churches to promote the event). This packet includes:
    1. A letter explaining the theme and the event, as well as explaining what is included in the packet
    2. A letter from Pastor Rench addressed to the churches, inviting them to join us
    3. Two 11″x17″ posters folded in half
    4. A signup sheet printed with the theme, to be used by the churches to help them know how many to register
    5. Color announcement sheets–themed half-sheet images of the poster so the churches can add their own info, copy and distribute
    6. No longer doing these: 4-up postcards with blank back (were not being used), 4-up postcards with words printed on back (wording did not fit each church’s needs), grayscale announcement sheets (grayscale copies could be made of the color announcement sheets)
  4. Follow-up Postcard (or email). This POSTCARD (6”x9”) follows the Preaching Rally, encouraging people to visit the updated website, listen to sermons, view pictures, and see next year’s information. We do not always send this postcard, sometimes only following up by emailing those who attended.


View the gallery below for examples of some of our mailings. Most of these full resolution documents can be found at Or, contact me for more information.

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