I spend a lot of time in a lot of different churches around the country - from small, medium and large ones to rural, suburban and urban core ones. The worship services and styles vary greatly, but there is one consistent aspect of every church I spend time in that more often than not feels like the weak link in the whole experience. The dreaded announcements.
Ask many church leaders and they’ll tell you, announcements sometimes feel like a necessary evil – most don’t want to do them but know they have to.
Is there really a good place for them? What about all the late people at the beginning of the service? Will it interrupt the flow of worship in the middle of the service? Will people be disengaged and ready to leave by the end of the service? It's hard to know where they "fit" best.
This post is less about strategy and more about stewardship. As leaders, you have the responsibility to communicate well to your people but limited opportunities to do that in a personal setting. There are 168 hours in a week, and you have the captive attention of most of your people for only 1-1.5 of those hours during a worship gathering. How are you stewarding that time wisely and ensuring that what needs to be communicated is being done so effectively and efficiently? By giving people the following five things, I’m convinced your announcements can become a powerful pipeline of communication and one of the most impactful components of your worship gatherings:
1) Something to look at:
Some people learn audibly, many others learn visually. Consider the reality that in an average church service you have a variety of different types of learners that process and retain information differently. One person may simply need to hear the announcement; another may need to “see” it. This can be easily accomplished through a well-designed slide on the screen that is being projected while the announcement is being made. Very helpful.
2) Somewhere to go:
It’s as simple as, “We’re hosting this event, and if you have any questions we’ll be at the info table in the hall after service.” Or, “This event is coming up and there’s more information on the website.” They’ve now heard an announcement about something going on at the church, but they’ve also been told where they can go to learn more about it. Very helpful.
3) Something to hold onto:
Don’t just give people something to listen to, but give them something to hold onto that reminds them about what they’ve heard. It could be a blurb in the bulletin or a postcard in their seats. By giving them something tangible you’ve extended the lifespan and reach of your announcement – they heard it once that day, but now they’ll be reminded throughout the week every time they see what you’ve given them. Very helpful.
4) Someone to talk to:
Announcements, events and scheduling can often sound very logistical and organizational; all the more reason to help make it as personal and relational for your people as possible. It can be as simple as, “We’re hosting a luncheon, and if you have any questions you can talk to Sue Smith at the info table or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.” You’ve given them a real life human being to connect with. Very helpful.
5) Something to sign up for:
If what you are announcing requires a sign-up, make sure there is an opportunity for people to immediately act upon it. It could be a portion of the bulletin, on a postcard left in their seats, at an info table after service or an online form – or all of the above! By giving people some easy and immediate way(s) to sign up for the event you increase your chances of capturing them in the moment and the likelihood of them attending. Very helpful.
While every church may not have the capacity to do every one of these things all the time, every church does have the responsibility to steward how and what they are communicating to their people well. Maybe a first step for your leadership team is to set a new rule: We will not announce something from stage unless we have these five (or 3 or 4 out of 5) things in place. The goal is to make it clear, abundantly clear, to your church that you are willing to steward well for them what you are sharing with them because you believe it is valuable enough to them in their walks with God and their participation in the life of the church.