Announcements are a part of nearly every church’s time of worship. After all, we have to let people know about the other stuff we’re doing, and Sunday morning seems like a great time to get their attention. Right?
Honestly, the plan may not be working.
Truth is, in a setting where we focus people mentally and emotionally on key elements like worship and hearing God’s Word, people often need to take a mental break–and guess when they do that! You’re right! In those few minutes where you read to them from a bulletin in their hands.
As a pastor, I was stunned at how frequently people didn’t know about the events we’d just spent worship time promoting. Pastors often like to think that saying it once gets it done (an idea that isn’t true in our sermons either), but the facts tell us otherwise.
So, here’s a couple of ideas about announcements:
If you’re going to make announcements during your service, make them stand out. Try changing up the routines. Many churches have good success with using a vibrant person on a video to change the look of announcement time. While PowerPoint slides get the message out, if people aren’t listening they’re probably not reading closely either. If you have limited resources, you can make an announcement video with your camera phone and it will be unique enough to get people’s attention. I’ve seen other churches have someone make announcements from another part of the platform. Just moving people’s eyes from the pulpit they’ll watch all morning can help people pay better attention. Whether live or on camera, just be sure the person making announcements acts like they want to attend the events they’re promoting. Make it fun!
Also, limit how many announcements you try to make. Three announcements is probably a maximum. Keep in mind that there’s a point when another announcement means I will forget the previous ones. Also, don’t put a really critical announcement in between others. Just like in preaching, make your first and last points your most critical.
Keep in mind that a pulpit announcement isn’t always he best strategy for communication or use of worship time. If the announcement is really just for a Sunday school class or a boys group, have leaders use the phone or email to get the word out. Only use worship time to announce things that large groups of people are invited to attend–like everybody, all the men, or all the parents and children. If you make an announcement that doesn’t apply to me, you’ve given me another reason to tune out this part of the service.
Finally, be intentional with what you announce. Only use worship time to announce those things that are a true reflection of your church’s vision and values. Choose announcements that show people who you really are as a church and what you believe really matters. If you’re passionate about relationships and community, then help people connect the dots during your small groups announcement. If your announcing an outreach event, tell me why this is important to the church and why I should make this priority in my own schedule. Announcements are a great time to let people see what truly matters our church, so every announcement should reveal the most important priorities of the church. A camping trip for the boys’ group sounds fun, but…
So bottom-line: trim the number, make them fun, and use your announcements to reveal your church’s greatest priorities. That’s what it means to be intentional during announcement time.