If your church has never experienced problems with church announcements, there is no need for you to read the rest of this post.
If your church is like the 95 percent of congregations that do struggle with announcements, please continue reading.
To be clear, I am speaking of verbal announcements made during a worship service. For this post, I am not concerned specifically about the digital announcements that appear on a church website, a screen before or after worship services, or a church newsletter. This issue is all about those times when someone stands up to speak to the entire congregation.
So what’s the big deal about church announcements? How could something so innocuous cause problems? Here are five reasons:
- Someone’s announcement is left out. On more than one occasion, announcements are left out either inadvertently or by design. A person feels slighted because his or her area of ministry or activity is particularly important to them.
- Someone’s announcement gets more emphasis than others. The reasons are the same as noted above. I actually heard one woman say she timed each individual announcement to prove the pastor showed favoritism. Sigh.
- The announcements take too long. More than one congregant has become frustrated due to the length of the announcements, especially if the issue in number four takes place.
- The announcements interrupt the flow of worship. Perhaps the worst time to have verbal announcements is after the worship service has begun. While singing, preaching, and the offertory definitely reflect acts of worship, it’s hard to see how the announcements fit in that category. If you have to make announcements, precede the worship service with them.
- Most people forget announcements. Try an experiment. Talk to someone you saw in the worship service one or two days later. See if he or she remembers the announcements. Probably not.
Some of these same issues play out in digital venues as well. People get angry or get their feelings hurt because of the placement or perceived priority of announcements on the church’s website or social media accounts.
The churches that seem to be handling the verbal announcements best are actually doing them on a very limited basis. The leaders make sure the announcements are important to the entire congregation, and that they reflect clearly a major issue for the church. Other announcements go to the newsletter or to the web site.
Unless there is an overriding reason, announcements that pertain to a small portion of the membership really should not be considered church announcements in any form. Usually there is no reason why the leader of that group cannot contact every person individually.
It is sad that announcements can be such sources of contention. It is a reflection of a self-centered “me attitude.”
But unfortunately the issue is very real in many churches.
Let me know what you think.
Posted on April 11, 2016
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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Hi, its pleasant piece of writing on the topic of media print,
we all understand media is a wonderful source of data.
Thom, I get your reasoning behind this, and want to fully agree, especially being respectful to your vast experience. However, I cannot get away from the fact that whenever we get a platform announcement on something, our attendance improves for that event. What’s more, even though we scroll the announcements before service on the screens (where 10% of our congregation sees it because no one can get there on time), put it in our very minimalist program (one half-page), and have it on televisions in the lobby, I still ALWAYS get a few “I had no idea that was happening” comments from our congregation when I platform/stage/live announce what’s going on.
I am a campus pastor at a +/- 2200 person church in the New York area, and I am under the directive of 4:00 for my announcements between the worship band set and a video sermon from another one of our campuses, (with 2:30 of this taken up by DNA-level and church-wide announcements), but I find myself struggling with the reality that, when we announce something, it seems it is better attended and finds higher success.
Can you help me navigate this? (…with apologies if someone has already posted something like this…couldn’t get through all the comments…)
It’s a great question, Jason. I think I can provide a quick response. 1. You are right. There are some events that deserve platform attention, particularly from the pastor. 2. You will always have the challenge of many desiring to have their event in that category, so you have to be willing to say “no” often. 3. All other announcements need to be in another format or venue. It is that third category that is the focus of this post. Thanks.
In my case the vision that God has laid on my pastors heart; which is the one for the church, has to do a lot with reaching out “Outreach” i.e. Evangelism. I have an Evangelistic calling in my life so I take it very serious (of course we are ALL called to exercise the Great Commission) so my leaders and I sat and planned to make it a campaign for a month – church wide- to focus on the importance of getting out of the four walls and reaching the lost. So the announcements were to be mostly on this ministry.
After a month of planning, praying hard, and super motivated I felt in #1 because of #2, quickly the second Sunday, I said to myself Really!? I didn’t feel offended at all but I was very concerned, because the ministry that was overemphasized has very little impact on the vision.
The announcement was of a great length (#3), but it was right before praise and worship, to me, BIG mistake, people come tired from during the week waiting to hear songs that will minister to them and get a refreshing anointing, to prepare the atmosphere to receive that Word that will be imparted into their hearts (I’m talking in general) so the percentage of remembering the announcement; very small.
I cant comment on #4, God is God of order, this one doesn’t sound like a good idea.
on #5 that’s why you need consistency and persistency.
Overall, after much praying I have seen in the spirit that if there is no strong and impacting imparted Word, good discipleship; emphasizing the importance of reading the Word, praying, fasting there will not be conviction of the Spirit, which then will impact the hunger people have for lost souls.
Ask, when was the last time you witnessed to someone? in the cash register? in the restaurant? at your job? when was the last time you handed a tract to the person at the toll booth? you will hear the crickets……Thanks Thom good article.
I heard a statistic recently that 85% of people are oral learners. If we take away the verbal announcements and go solely to print, we are only reaching a small percentage of our people.
Announcements, and how we do them need to take the culture of the people and church in which they take place. In the last church I pastored we could not have the announcements before the service began because there were only half as many people there at the beginning as there would be at the end of the service. We could put them up on a screen but we would also have to read them out because of the illiteracy rate in the church.
I’m an ex-radio guy turned pastor. When I arrived at my current church, the ‘announcements’ – which were first on the agenda for Sunday morning – took up to 15 minutes. I lived with it for 6 months, and then bravely decided no more. I didn’t ask permission, I just acted. An email went out to the church list saying “announcements must be in the office by 10am Thursday, no exceptions”, and then announcements were recorded, with scrolling video behind. Funnily enough, there was very little pushback. A few people got offended early on when I refused to re-record the announcements to include their pet project, but folks just largely accepted it and now it’s not even an issue at all. Announcements now take up 2 1/2 minutes maximum… and I always try and inject humor into the announcements as well. So far, so good… and I have 12 1/2 more minutes to preach!!! Hahaha. (oh – and I get to scratch that itch to continue to do voiceover work every week now!!)
Being the media ministry leader at our chruch we do annoucements after say hey time (meet and greet) We start the service with 2 real peppy songs and then go to say hey time once everyone has met and gret the pastor comes up and does the announcements using the screen as we stream live our sunday am services once all annoucments are done then is really when the service gets rocking we pray then dismiss kids and go into offering and ….
We don’t have announcements. However, just prior to the sending hymn we have “Opportunities.” The idea is, having been gathered and fed, something is next. It might be a council meeting, fun raiser for VBS, or a reminder about the 50th anniversary celebration next month; sometimes it’s a nine year old who is collecting donations for Hoops for Heart [that’s a sample from last Sunday].
I recommend congregations stop “making announcements” during worship, and start sending the body of Christ out with some destinations in mind.
[Note: the opportunity regarding the council meeting included a request for prayers for the council members]
…to love and serve the Lord.
Every organization, group, club, or society has a way of personally and verbally communicating to it’s members. I agree that the most elegant and cohesive liturgy is one that omits any sort of community announcement. However, for church congregations, the best way to reach people is through announcements during a service. Yeah, yeah, I agree with all the problems you state in your post. Regardless, I know from years of personal experience that those announcement that come from the rector in the middle of a service is PRIME REAL-ESTATE for any activity that is going on in the parish. I also know, from experience, that those events and activities that are not mentioned during a Sunday service suffer and frequently result in people saying they didn’t know anything about said event. I know this is an almost insufferable dilemma, but we can’t ignore the reality of how people absorb information, and how we all are bombarded with it every minute, and the impact it all has. So, to have an ideal and pure liturgy without annoying announcements simply needs to be weighed against the diminished involvement in community activities. It just a matter of priorities.
While church announcements may not always be remembered, I do find them to be helpful reminders of upcoming events. In fact, it’s the main way I find out about a lot of church events.
In regards to offense at an announcement, or lack thereof, I have to think this would be a sign of serious problems in the church. How could a believer hear a sermon about the Gospel and how it should change our lives and then take offense that there was a 20 second announcent about the kid’s area but not the upcoming men’s event? How is that a loving, Christ exalting attitude? In eight years of church life in two different cities, I have not heard grumbling even once about announcements, so I guess I’m kind of shocked that this is an issue.
In our church the announcements are in the bulletin the pastor will hilight any special (nonroutine) announcement or any that did not get in bulletin. following that we are asked to quiet our hearts before God and while we are still the church bell is rung 5 or so times to mark the “beginning” of actual worship. Seems to work very nicely.
We do announcements via slides during offering. Our bulletin is published once a month, and we do the weekly announcements via our mobile app and website. We only do major announcements (i.e funerals, large non-standard events, etc) over the mic now.