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

  • Sonji Collins says on

    Great article! I have also seen people who forget to submit their announcement and tries to break protocol from the audience to get it in. SMH

  • Human nature only to remember what they feel us important or applies to them. Short attention spans need the constant reminders of what is going on.

    That is also why we need to attend church regularly too, to be conste reminded of God’s announcements and things that Jesus did for us.

  • I think to some degree, as churches, we have a limited responsibility. At some point, it is the members who want to be connected that need to make the effort to read the bulletin, go to the church website, or FB page or whatever but most problems arise when we, as churches, assume it is our job to make sure members are informed. This culture is rife with folks wanting to be spoon-fed everything and not take any responsibilty. Churches are no different; the church should be careful to not contribute to this mentality.

    As an aside: I work at our church office and make the pre-service ads, the bulletin, prayer sheet and weekly email. We strive to make sure ALL events are listed at least two weeks in advance, longer for larger events such as VBS training meetings etc. and we do get people who say they didn’t know. We can lead a church member to the bulletin but you can’t make him read it. 🙂 People are so busy outside of church, too.

  • What we have been doing instead of calling them announcements we call them opportunities to be in ministry with each other. Any one that would like something said gives me one sentence before worship or emails me with the info. Works very well and have an increase in patricpation.

  • As the Minister of Announcements I too struggle with this. I was once told that people need to see and hear something at least seven times before it registers with them, so we try to promote things in a variety of ways. We have tried video announcements and the reaction I get most often is that it seems impersonal even though I try to be energetic and enthusiastic. We have done the end of service thing which seem rather like the credits at the end of the movie – only your mom ( or the ministry leader) pays attention… We are currently making announcements at the beginning of the service. We try to highlight no more than three church-wide events and keep the time to @ three minutes and that includes the welcome and plea for folks to fill out a connection card. (which would be another post I would be very interested in)
    Announcements seem to be a necessary part of the service and ministry of the church but is there a “best practices” list or are there real stats on getting a response or improving engagement?

  • Terry Dudley says on

    Thom,
    I’ve not seen this as an issue in the African American churches. Actually quite the opposite. However, in the church I pastor I made the decision to move announcements until after Worship and the Word has been preached. I found doing it earlier was a disruption to the worship flow.

  • We do our announcements at the end of the service. It works pretty well in highlighting what God is doing and how people can be involved. I have approached this issue by priority. Worship first and when that is done, we can announce what is needed. That way, we do not interrupt worship or focus on us. We focus on the Lord. Imagine this, there are some Sunday’s we do not even make announcements. They can find them in a variety of ways.

    • As I stated earlier in a reply, it doesn’t matter to me how long they are, although I feel 5 to maybe 10 minutes then would still be okay. To add to, or maybe modify what I said earlier and to what someone said when they feel like commercial interruptions, a lot of that has to do with when they play songs after 10-15 minutes of announcements and after the 10 minute pastoral prayer. That’s what kind of has me squirming in my seat. In fact a good worship flow can go either, after the initial introduction#1 announcements, #2 singing, #3 pastoral prayer #4 sermon. Or singing (after initial introduction) can come first followed by the pastoral prayer and sermon and announcements at the end of the service is good. Thom Rainer, I welcome your response to this.

  • We made a decision several years ago to advertise most all events/ministry opportunities through the various means at our disposal. However, we choose three to promote on Sunday mornings before the worship service. All are advertised; three are promoted. This has worked for me.

  • Lord Yessss. As Pastor, I have tried to move worship arou d a lil to make the flow a lot better but it is as if the announcements are the 7th inning stretch. It drivss me crazy. I like what someone posted about “One Call” been wsnting to do something aling those lines. Maybe I’ll post “this” in the bulletin. Thanks for this Thom.

  • Vickey Weathers says on

    Personally, I miss the announcements. I’m an audio learner and not much of a reader. It sticks with me more to hear an announcement. I never read the bulletin because it is too wordy and the font is so small but mostly I’m just not one of those people who reads everything…and I don’t usually get because of rehearsing. This is also why I don’t get to see any pre-service announcements on the screen. It seems that there is no really good way to deal with announcements. Texts would work for me as a reminder, or automated calls would be fine too; but if the bulletin is the only means, I’m probably going to be in the dark.

  • Rob Farris says on

    Great topic Thom. We like all churches struggle in this area. These have given me good insight as to how we can improve and reduce time so we can spend our energies in worship of our great Savior Jesus. Thanks Thom for your continued insight.

  • We started something called “The Compass Minute” (our church was called Compass). We recorded a voice over with 3-5 of the churches most important announcements. It was always toward the end of the service so the flow wasn’t hindered, it was always about a minute long (and we could control the length because it was pre-recorded) so that helped with the length, and we only took announcements that week, not the day of. These announcement also corresponded to our bulletin so we kept good unity and cohesion. All the graphics were the same in the bulletin and the minute.
    This seemed to work well for us and doesn’t take a lot to produce!