Nine Observations about Announcements in Worship Services

To have or not to have announcements in the worship services? That is the question many church leaders ask today. And indeed there are several tendencies or trends related to announcements, and they are often related to the size of the church.

I asked a number of church leaders of congregations of varying sizes about their practices in this area. They pretty much confirmed what I am seeing as well. Here are my nine observations:

  1. More church leaders do not think announcements should be a part of the worship services. Their churches are more likely to have announcements projected on a screen prior to the worship service, or not to have them at all in the worship center.
  2. Large churches (700 and up in average worship attendance) are highly unlikely to have announcements as a part of the worship service. As noted above, they may have the announcements projected on a screen prior to the worship service.
  3. Smaller churches (under 200 in average worship attendance) are very likely to include announcements as a traditional part of the worship service. Excluding them would likely cause some level of conflict in the church.
  4. Video or projected announcements have grown commensurate with the growth of projected lyrics during the worship music. Because the technology and equipment is available for the music, more churches also use it for announcements.
  5. With greater frequency, pastors limit making announcements unless they are a major or visional issue. This trend is growing in all churches except smaller congregations.
  6. More congregations limit announcements before or during the worship services to those issues that affect most or all of the congregants. For example, it is becoming less likely for announcements to be made about a committee meeting that involves only six people.
  7. Many pastors are still asked to make announcements right before worship services begin. Often they are handed a slip of paper or told adamantly that something must be announced. I will address this issue in a later blog post.
  8. Pastors also receive pressure from different groups and individuals to make certain their announcements are made. Most every church member has his or her own idea about priorities in the church. One pastor recently told me that a church member got mad at him because he did not announce that the member’s daughter was named salutatorian of her senior high school class.
  9. Most church leaders believe that the retention rate of announcements by members is low. If retention is indeed low, it would indicate that most times of announcements are done due to pressure or tradition or both.

What is your church’s approach to announcements in the worship services? How effective do you think they are? What is your reaction to these nine observations?

photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc

Posted on January 7, 2015

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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  • We are a church of under 100 in worship attendance and we have shifted announcements to after the service. There are some in the bulletin and if anyone needs to share something they will get it to me before the service. I will then share it after the service and allow any others that need to be shared. The only thing that concerns me is taking people’s focus off of what they received during the message and putting it on announcements.
    Jeff Bengs
    Quinton, Oklahoma

    • Stephanie says on

      I recently encouraged our Pastor to do the same – when I first joined our Church (coming from a church that did announcements at the end) I was quite stunned by mid-service announcements. Then I grew accustomed to it.. but it really broke up the liturgy for me, mentally & emotionally. Now that I am more involved in the church, I began disliking it after the peace even more… It took me from a spiritual place to a very secular (imagining my “google” calendar, thinking about my “to-do” list instead of remaining focused on the lessons) space…

  • Interestingly the worship pastor and myself were just having a discussion about announcements over lunch yesterday. We are a church plant celebrating our 1 year birthday next Sunday, 1/11/2015. We have grown from 60 to 350 in our first year and cannot figure out the right way to do announcements. Our typical service is 2 very fast paced songs, Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Prayer/Video. We then transition into 2 or 3 more worshipful songs, then a message then a closing song. Announcements feel like they take the air out of the sails but also feel like they need to be done. The reason we sandwiched the announcements where they currently are is in order to make sure people hear/see them plus getting them out of the way to not take anything away from the reaming 3/4ths of the service. The one thing that we are going to try and do for 2015 is to at least make them more streamlined. I will greatly enjoy reading what everyone else is doing with announcements that seems to really work. Blessings.

  • I agree with your observations, but would like to know some “best practices” to help with getting the information across to our members in a way that has the best retention/motivation rate so they are moved to action.

  • I attend a small rural church (recenlty hitting 75 for a couple of Sundays in a row). We installed a projector sytem a few years ago. Annoncements have been on the screen before the service, and announcements are in the printed bulletin, and verbal ones are often added during the service. We have been trying to eliminate the verbals during the service – but there are several problems – the printed bulletin is done on Wed with NO coordination so it is often just plain wrong. The pre-service screen starts at about 10:40 – service is scheduled at 10:45 – but never starts before 10:55 and many do not arrive until 11:00 – so the pre-service screen is missed by late arrivals.

    We are now trying post-service verbals and perhaps re-running the screen. Some have complained the lack of announcements takes away from the “family/comminuty” feeling of the church.

    As for the personal/award type announcements – those belong in the newsletter but in our case the great newsletter we had has been dropped/cancelled.

  • Danny Balint says on

    I pastor a small congregation of around 100. When we installed the projection system, we changed to making announcements at the end of the service after the invitation and before the benediction. I clearly told the congregation we did not want to insult their intelligence because they get the announcements on the screen, in the bulletin and in the monthly newsletter. The purpose for that change was because we are here to worship. That is our priority on Sundays. Some got upset because we eliminated things like personal announcements as mentioned above. When confronted, I lovingly asked them “Is that necessary for us to worship God?” The answer of course is No. I encouraged them to use the phone, email and social media for that. It seems to have worked. Our worship atmosphere is better and I believe the Lord is pleased with not having to share time with those kinds of things.

  • Matt Jones says on

    I think that the reason that so many larger churches don’t give announcements is that they have very streamlined ministries that can be totally explained in only a few minutes. Of course that “simple” approach is awesome, but small churches tend to never be able to achieve it successfully because of all the emotions that are so close to the leadership. I mean most pastors would just announce the Salutatorian thing just to avoid conflict. (granted that is weak, but pick your battles too.) My point is that if you need to do announcements all the time just to keep people in the loop, you are probably a.) doing to much, b.) Not doing the great stuff consistently enough, or c.) Both a. and b. at the same time. Decisions like announcements during worship flow out of ministry philosophy. Small churches tend to be worse at that because they can get away with it. When they consider what battles to pick, they see a few announcements as a lesser evil, but getting simple at any size is extremely important for future success. And if a church does it, then they may find the need for all those announcements diminishes.

  • Observations are spot on, Dr. Rainer. I serve a rural congregation just under 200 and we struggle with announcement time. It used to be both a visual loop and a spoken announcement time, but we have another issue of trying to get their attention at the beginning of service (we are friendly but seem to have lost our filter of when to pay attention and stop a conversation; anyone else have that issue?). We use a visual countdown instead of the announcement loop now. The spoken announcements are done by an elder at the end of the service, and we have a huge issue with people wanting their time and their project announced. It will only take a minute or two, what’s the big deal? That’s the thought. While I appreciate the sense of community it can build in a smaller congregation (as someone else noted), I also see this as one of those little issues that holds us back from being able to break through the 200 mark. I will confirm it is not being addressed because of the conflict it will cause and the energy and leadership that will be required to change it. And ultimately, that is probably the core issue behind a lack of growth.

  • One church I served liked announcements in the middle of the service. Not so at New Hope.
    We do not have projection screens. Church is small and layout does not accomodate.
    On occasion, priority events are announced prior to commencement of Service and then we get down to business. 🙂
    Sometimes Just before the Benediction I slip in a comment on the Bible Study/event on that Sunday evening.
    Took a while to change and but now We provide in a bulletin insert (take away piece) of current and major upcoming events of the future. The insert is small enough 1/2 page landscape 2 sides to fit most Bibles. Most folks seen to prefer this. I used to put sermon notes on the insert but changed after observing some members folding and tearing bulletins after service.. We use the pre-printed 8.5 x 14 with tear off as our bulletin template. Order of Service, sermon notes and Missions/Outreach is our main focus in the bulletin We use photo;s and clip art to enhance all. First insert of month I always include a table (chart) of every event that month. Suitable for desks, tables or posting on Frig. Our ink costs are a factor, Being small single staff with part-time assistant sometimes this is an effort to get-er done. But it is important and pays dividends. I also observe TV and printed Secular pieces for ideas to improve effectiveness. After all we are trying to communicate to the same crowd.

    Didn’t mean to get carried away here but you pushed one of my buttons. I love this forum. Don’t response much but I am a lurker fan. 🙂

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thanks for joining us, Bob.

      • Sharon says on

        I believe that all of the work of the congregation is a gift in service to God. Therefore, announcements should be consider as part of worship and introduced that way. This helps people to see their relationship with and in God throughout the week, and not just on Sunday morning.

  • I HATE announcements…..however to communicate opportunities to serve our Lord we make the announcements. I have tried — like a lot of others — to place at every conceivable place in the worship service. We have moved them to the end of the service before dismissing. We have placed this footer in our order of worship “Any leader needing to make an announcement is asked to come to the pulpit microphone so all can hear”. This eliminates me as pastor from making all the announcements (and losing / forgetting one). It helps with retention because another “speaker” presented. It conveys the idea that more than one person is involved in leading the ministries of the church. It also helps with the leaders conveying what needs to be stressed. Having them come to the microphone helps to avoid “pop – ups” in the congregation who just want to hear themselves talking making an announcement of what may or may not be part of our purpose, plus it helps others to hear the announcement. Not a perfect system, but it works for us at this time.

  • Thanks for these announcement insights and trends. At one worship experience we often arrived 10 minutes after the published start time because that’s generally when announcements ended and worship began. We had no trouble keeping up to date by bulletin inserts and reading the church newsletter. One related item – be cautious about trying to disguise announcements as prayer…”Oh Lord, we just thank you for another (congregational event) that will take place on (day) and be a blessing to so many.”

  • Interesting, I get the sense that many staff and pastors feel as if announcements are a burden to be dealt with as inconviently as possible. It is as if they are an evil interruption to worship and message. Effective communication is key to good relationships in all areas, including the church family. As the family gets larger, there is more to communicate….more missions, more small groups, more service activities, etc. yet communications these is seen as an inconvenient yet necessary evil rather than a wonderful opportunity.
    I don’t want to suggest it may be more important for a pastor to spend time telling the congregation about serving opportunities to love the less fortunate, to love their “neighbors” than to explain the original Greek/Hebrew meaning of …… Or maybe I do mean to suggest it.
    Whatever method and time works for truly effective communication is good. Treating it like an unwelcome guest will not serve the Kingdom well.

    • There are many other ways to communicate rather than including announcements as an element of the worship service. The fact that larger churches, that are ostensibly reaching more people, have mostly done away with announcements seems to debunk your analysis. I would further suggest that an abundance of announcements is indicative of a program oriented church rather than a discipleship oriented church.

      One last thing, and I may be in the minority in saying this, but NOTHING should take precedence over the preaching and expounding of God’s Word.

      • Brendt Wayne Waters says on

        I doubt you’d be in the minority for saying that, but you’d probably be in the minority for interpreting Gary’s comment as opposing that idea in the slightest.

        “[T]elling the congregation about serving opportunities” is EXACTLY expounding on God’s Word, by showing its direct application in our lives. My pastor limits the Greek/Hebrew thing to less than once a week, and then only when English fails to give the full impact. Many pastors use Greek/Hebrew as a way to show off their mad seminary skillz and/or mark a clearer line between themselves and the laity. That’s what Gary seemed to be decrying.

  • At a previous church where I served as music and youth pastor we allowed anyone who had an announcement to personally take the stage at the beginning of the service. Eventually this took up to 20 minutes of the service. Most of the time was taken by one lady who always had a MAJOR announcement and relished the opportunity to stand in front of the church and talk. When it got to the point of being ridiculous we appointed a “minister” of announcements who delivered the announcements each week in a more timely manner and also greeted the people.

    Presently, as the pastor of a small church in a small town, I deliver one or two announcements at the very end of the service. Better for retention and less disruptive to the flow of service. However, when I first came to this church there was an expectation for all of the public school announcements to made during the service. I’m all for community involvement, but that was a little much.

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