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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  • Our church of approx 300, utilizes mostly written announcements, including screens. But we also have approx 3 minutes of spoken announcements at the beginning of our evening service, which mostly has only our core members in attendance. But that’s a whole ‘nother conversation that I know you addressed in your last blog post. =)

  • Jeremy Swindle says on

    I am the Worship Minister at a church of about 400. We struggled with the announcement issue for a long time until we finally made the jump to video announcements. At first, the quality was not that great, but over the past two years, we have developed a system for producing a very professional weekly 3 minute video announcement package that we show at the beginning of our worship gathering. As a part of my job description, I now write, video, edit, and produce the weekly video announcements. It requires a little extra work, but the results are well worth it.

  • Some individuals milk little moments of speaking or leadership for all they can get out of them. It’s like their one moment to shine in the week (or in their life). Unless leadership installs solid parameters with the congregation, such situations keep churches resembling the neighborhood card club, the neighborhood kaffee klatch, which interferes with real growth.

  • I think for #10 you could add that some pastors like to do the announcements out of arrogance. Perhaps in a setting where you have rotational preaching some senior pastors might do the announcements because they feel like they need that ego rub. Just an idea! thanks for all you do Dr. Rainer!!!

  • I serve a small church, and we always do our announcements before the main service begins. Even then, though, we still have problems with “overkill”. Some time ago we had so many announcements that they took nearly half the service. I used to worry about people blaming me if the service ran too long, but now I just remind them that my sermons are the same length every Sunday. If the service runs over, it’s usually because the announcements ran too long, not my sermon.

    A friend of mine always does announcements at the end of the service. On the surface that makes sense; people are usually ready to go home by that time, so you’d think they’d want to limit the announcements. They still have the “overkill” problem, though.

  • Sadly, our church is still old-school, despite having the big screen and the 21st century projector.

    We gather in the sanctuary to praise and worship God. In most cases I’ve seen, announcement either stops both, or gets us off to a flying stop right up front.

    ps; I have a principle in meetings: if they hand me a report and then start to read it to me in the meeting, I leave. Reading it I can do on my own.

    Just like the announcements in the church bulletin. I guess if I was really principled about it, I’d leave church for the same reason, when they start reading.

  • I pastor a church with a morning worship average near 300. I feel the very first thing that takes place in the worship service sets the tone for the rest of the time. Initially in my tenure, the announcement time was at the very beginning of the service and could literally last fifteen minutes or more depending on who needed to make an announcement. Obviously this set a very tuned out congregation and began the worship on a “blah, blah, blah” note. We have since moved to beginning the service immediately with a Scriptural call to worship and music and then move to a very brief announcement time as one person simply calls attention to select items of major importance in the bulletin. This has really helped to keep the flow moving and helps the congregation to focus on the purpose of the morning. Thanks for your article.

  • Steve Lynch says on

    I know that the social interaction that a Pastor has with his people by making announcements at the end of the service can be as spiritually encouraging and uplifting as the message was, if done right.

    In this age where the technically driven need more human interaction, it’s probably MORE needed, not less.

  • We are small church and we have a very low tech congregation – very little email / internet etc. Yes those people do still exist. Because of this, announcements are part of our weekly service. Announce event as far in advance and as often as possible. Most often we make the announcements after offering. The late comers are in their seats and we have transitioned out of the song portion of worship so they are not disruptive to the spirit of the service.

  • I think a lot of churches do announcements to give themselves a pat on the back for doing so much for God (or so they think). Announcements also display for guests how busy the church is for God. The best reason to do any kind of announcements is as a psychological transition from intimate worship to the sermon, from the sermon to departing, from whatever to whatever. Otherwise, genuinely adult people who don’t need public recognition all the time can easily find things in the bulletin or on a church website (assuming it’s maintained), or by just participating in church life and experiencing what’s going on. And don’t most guests these days do a little research before they visit, perusing a church’s website in advance, so they have a sense of what they’re getting into, whether a church is worth visiting and is consistent with a guest’s theological perspective? As annoying as announcements: an overstuffed bulletin, that lists every tiny thing going on in the church, every single week.

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