Five Reasons Church Announcements Cause Problems

April 11, 2016

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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91 Comments

  • This came up recently when speaking with a Women’s Ministry Leader. She was disappointed because the church was no longer going to make announcements to specific groups/ministries, as you stated instead focusing on the body as a whole.

    Yet, the church made an announcement for the new young adults ministry. Or, will make an announcement for student events. While these #’s make up a good % of the body, in her church 65% of the body are women. In her opinion then, Women’s Ministry announcements would be no different than the young adult or student announcements. The church’s response was that while the membership % was accurate, the attendance % at the events was too small. To which the leader responded that the attendance % would increase with more publicity of the events, including via announcements.

    I don’t think the answer is as simple as we are making it right now. We are still dealing with a generation of adults who are NOT on facebook, social media, the internet, or getting emails. This is our oldest generation, which is comprised of women who could be mentoring our younger women. Thus, we need to make sure the information about our events is reaching everyone in the body.

    I don’t think it is time to retire announcements, but perhaps do them in a more efficient way. I personally love the churches who use slides on the projection screen, each ministry gets the same amount of space, seconds of view, and it can be set to loop. Great thing to have running before services, between services, or after services. Or, have a tv in the lobby of the church that loops announcements continuously.

  • We developed a communications policy with different “levels” of events. Each level has a different allotment of communication channels and an event/announcement is assigned a level by the number and range of people it addresses. Only level 1 and 2 events get a Sunday morning announcement. And since these are broader reaching things in the church, we use them to fuel our prayer time as well.
    Announcements still frustrate me though. I am often the one giving the announcements and try to make them as entertaining as possible. But I would much rather switch to a 5 minutes before type of deal.
    We’ve also talked about doing video announcements and play them right at the start of service. That way those who didn’t arrive on time can watch them on our website or Facebook page. Only down side is that video announcements can be a resource drain to produce. Does anyone have any experience producing video announcements and have any advice?

  • WHAT !!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW COMPLETELY STUPID IS THIS ENTIRE TOPIC . Communication is HOW you spread the Gospel .Every Avenue should be pursued to inform the congregation of events and opportunities to share the gospel , and comfort & support each member of the congregation during trials in their lives .

    • Woodie –

      I don’t see this topic as stupid. We are talking about announcements, not sharing the gospel. But the great thing about blogs is you don’t have to read them or comment on them if they are stupid.

      • Well said, Dr. Thom

      • announcements are communication . how else are the congregation to know about events with opportunities to aid in spreading the gospel ? how are they to learn about the chance to show generosity or compassion for other church members .every avenue verbal, print and digital can be used to enlarge the family of God . the complaints about time to prepare an whom to give announcements , to me show a lack of compassion . Connie Goodson has a good view on the topic .

  • We have three rules as to whether or not an announcement gets read during the worship service. If it does not meet one of the three criteria, it goes in the bulletin and on the pre-service screen. The criteria are:

    1.) Is it happening this week?
    2.) Is it the first announcement of the event?
    3.) Is it a deadline to sign up for an event?

    Also, the pastor has a self-imposed 2 minute limit for reading announcements. The drummer in our praise band has specific instructions to keep time, and at the 2-minute mark he or she starts playing the introductory beat for the next song.

    It seems to work pretty well.

  • We have had annuoncement problems on several levels. Bulletin announcements are very ineffective for us. And we have a mixed generation church so website and social media outlets miss some people. We decided to go to video announcements for the majority of things and we are trying to be super creative. We have found it to be a great success. It takes a little bit of time each week to prepare but it has been a great format for us so far.

      • We’ve done the same thing. We have a 2-4 minute video that starts after our countdown (before the service) which runs through the most important announcements. One of our teenagers has taken on being the face of the announcements and she does an incredible job. We’ve also asked our ministry leaders to let us know by Tuesday if they have something they want announced the following Sunday and then we are faithful to include it (no last minute announcement requests!).

        We’re not a huge church (300-325 on Sunday mornings) but we’ve found this to be the best way to make announcements. It has been very positive and very well received by the congregation.

      • Chad – would love to see an example of this! Is there one you could share?

  • Connie Goodson says on

    I have a completely different view…from my experience at being in worship planning for years, I used to hate announcements in the service. But one day, as I was in my home saying goodbye to lots of family members after a get-together, I realized that we all stood and talked about the events coming up in our lives and in the lives of people we love. We began to make plans and share in the excitement of the events happening in each other’s lives. Suddenly I realized that this is the way the Body of Christ is supposed to be. We’re a family, are we not? Should then, be announcements of events happening in the children’s ministry, the student ministry, the adult ministry, the choir, the orchestra, missions, etc…should the church be a part of this so that we can rejoice with each other? To pray for each other? To encourage one another? And should our thinking be that we are sharing in ministry events and not “announcements?” It is just another way to look at it. I think we might take ourselves way too seriously and we should enjoy worshiping our Savior together and rejoice in the events happening in the lives of our church family ministries.

    • I get that, Connie, but what are the boundaries? Would it be okay if announcements lasted 45 minutes? If so, who decides the boundaries? Those are some of the issues church leaders have.

      • My wife’s church spends about 45 minutes with announcements, and testimonies (in person and live by skype) by people doing missionary work around the nation and world. Then they sing a little, take up an offering, and receive the sermon–all of which takes about another 45 minutes. The general congregation sits silently for 75 minutes out of a 90 minute period!

        I can’t help wondering if the leadership knows why I don’t like to attend.

      • Connie Goodson says on

        Of course they should not be 45 minutes, but we call ourselves the Body of Christ…let’s hear what’s happening in the ministry lives of our church body. Let’s show compassion and interest in how other areas are sharing in ministering to the believers and to non believers. It doesn’t ever have to be ALL or NOTHING. Inform, communicate, include, involve, encourage, spur one another on, care and love. I worked for years on the “flow of the service” and still care deeply about that, but being with one another and sharing life together is vital for health of the church. Hearing the Senior Pastor say “This is important so let’s listen…” is a powerful communication skill in a large church or a small church. If a church is faithful to share the message of Christ, if they truly are taught to worship God in spirit and in truth, then taking 10 minutes to share with the family, to me, would go miles in promoting unity and add value to what it means to be “family.” Just my thoughts…

      • Is the corporate worship time the right place for this kind of announcements or is that better reserved for smaller “family” times within the church?

      • Connie, I want to say thank you! I was just given the responsibility of presenting the Church announcements and I am not a speaker by nature and a reserved introvert. I was told to be more engaging and blah blah and it was really stressful responsibility. I became really selfish and focused on doing just a good job in reading and forgot to engage with the congregation. I was afraid to speak because I would trip over my words and forget what I need to say. I couldn’t even look at the congregation.

        Everything you wrote Connie, makes Sharing Ministry events an integral part of worship. I never took it seriously but that is a great platform to encourage the body of Christ to pray, support and reach out to different ministries and people. We can give God praise for all that he is doing in our lives and in the various ministries attached to our churches. We have become so detached from church that we want to go, be entertained and leave. You made a great point: we are a family. We are to laugh, cry and praise God together. No one wants to be in church anymore but everyone would rather be outside doing their own thing for hours on end. My whole life revolves around the LORD and I want to do everything for his glory and to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to keep pushing and striving in the things of God. Thank you Connie, for sharing your insight and revelation on the importance of Church announcements or Sharing Ministry Events.

        God Bless.

      • Connie, I agree with most of what you have said. I respectfully disagree somewhat though with other things. If these announcements are done at the beginning or the end of the service, it gives the service a nicer flow. Me personally, almost wouldn’t mind if these announcements are given right before the first hymn. My biggest pet peeve with announcements is when they’re given after two or three songs have been sung and they feel like a commercial interruption. They take 10 minutes like a sermonette. Then there is usually the pastoral prayer that where I go to church can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes average. Then after that when I’m ready for the sermon, the pastor throws another song out. I think songs can be frustrating when they’re not done in an orderly fashion too. So I’m not against all church announcements, just when they’re not done in a good order.

    • Sue Caton says on

      I agree. Certainly not 45 minutes!!! A staff member greets the congregation, then LISTS (brings attention to) the highlights listed in the bulletin/onscreen/website! It’s an encouragement to me to hear of the activities that I’m not involved in. When I know the teens have an activity, I can pray specifically. When I know the VBS is starting, I can invite neighbor children.
      Announce without giving all the details. Have the details available elsewhere.
      The church is the BODY of Christ. Let’s encourage communication, participation, and prayer.

    • So maybe we should have an announcement team that visits with the congregation in a conversational manner after the service and invites people to the things you were going to announce? More personal and it would not interfere with the service at all. What do you all think?

  • Todd Hurley says on

    Adding to experiential problems of announcements, I had a parishioner who would not speak up at the beginning of the service when I as the Pastor would ask if there were any announcements but would wait until the Praise and Prayer time to share his announcement. Most of the time it was not about church things but it was Salvation Army pleas for donations. Too make a long story short, he does not attend now because he was confronted by a group of church members about his constant creation of division and strife.

  • We have started having announcements and an opening prayer at 10:55 AM before the choir enters the loft. Then we began worship. Keeping remarks by one of the other staff members before 11:00 AM, the allotted time that worship begins, has helped, but in older churches, sorry to say, the announcements seem to be as sacred as the worship service.

  • Our church tried something new to cut the announcements out of our service completely and nobody has complained. Can you believe that, a change is made in a Baptist church and nobody complained. What our church did was buy a phone system called “One Call” which is very cheap. Every Thursday I record all of our announcements on “One Call” and send the message out. When I send it out it calls every member at the same time and they receive a voicemail of all the announcements for the week. Between the one call, the bulletin, the newsletter and the announcements on the screen, the people have plenty of notice and our worship services aren’t disturbed with a commercial break full of announcements.

  • Louis Cook says on

    We have the bulletin, announcements on a screen prior to the service, the monthly newsletter and calendar and finally the website. The pastor often makes a short announcement or two for emphasis or explanation to visitors also. I agree that it tends to break up the flow unless they are given before any singing, prayers, etc. Overall unless they pertain to an event that very day then they are a waste of worship time.
    For Number Two above, did the person also time the sermon, total amount of singing,etc and put it into a spreadsheet?

    • We did the spread-sheet route – for awhile, average time was 8-15 minutes. What was the pity was that a lot of people didn’t seem to grasp the idea that the reason we were getting out at 12:20 was because the prelude (which came after the announcements) didn’t start until 11:15 (was supposed to start at 11:00 sharp).

  • Church-WIDE announcements need to be just that–applicable to all and integral to the mission. I’m paraphrasing someone else but, the goal of our announcements should not be to inform, but to inspire.

  • When I pastored, I found that most people don’t remember announcements no matter the method. The same announcement was in the bulletin, shown on a screen prior to service, in a weekly email, posted on the website, and verbally announced and I still had people say they didn’t know about it.

    • That is true, Brian. That is why redundancy is key for the most important issues.

      • Pat shrock says on

        Years ago a wise man told me the best way to get your committee to show up was: put the day on the church calendar in the newsletter, put it in the bulletin for 3 weeks, call the night before to remind them….and then give them a rude to the meeting. That was 30 years ago. Not much has changed.

    • Our secretary used to say, “Why do we bother making a bulletin when nobody reads it! And if by chance someone does read it, they only read it to point out the spelling and punctuation errors! “

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