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 generally run between 300-500 per service but are a year away from moving into a 1500 seat facility on 6 acres of land so that number will more than likely rise over time. 2 years ago we decided to consolidate the vast majority of our announcements into a 3 minute video segment. This generally takes place near the beginning of the service after a general greeting is made to all members and guests at the beginning of the service. This has helped to reduce the boat load of time that was wasted prior with way too many announcements. The big difference this has made is that beforehand, so many announcements were made that people either could not keep, tuned out or were just plain not interested. Now that we’ve consolidated everything, we’ve found that it not only saves time but the congregation actually pays attention and as a result have seen increased participation in that which is announced. The other reason we do video announcements is it serves as a great real-life controlled setting to train up media staff on video production techniques to prepare for our move in a year or so.

    Overall I think the video announcements have helped in a big way.

  • We’re a small congregation…so I like an above commenter’s term “open mic.” That would describe at least a portion of most of our announcement times. My concern has been this: we’re a very enthusiastic, visiting, chatty, relationship oriented bunch…if you visit, you’re one of us kind of attitude. I feel when we begin with announcements…it kind of puts a dampener on all of that…then we try to fire back up with a praise time. Anyway, your post has added some ideas and things to think about in our discussion. Thanks!

    Thanks for the post and for all that you share in your work. It’s always a blessing.

  • We are a smallish church of about 80 people on a Sunday morning.
    We value our “open mic” time where everything from prayer requests (sometimes with someone praying for the request immediately up the front) to sharing to announcements, sometimes video clips, sometimes an interview are all part of an elastic 10-15 minute slot.
    We also do a paper bulletin and encourage people not to double up on stuff in the bulletin, although I as the pastor am the one who does it the most, usually for things coming up that I think people’s attention needs being drawn to.
    We contend that our church gatherings are not a show, and even though we have great musicians in our band, they are there to serve, not to be a focus.
    We begin at around 10am, run a coffee break in the middle of the service and sometimes shorten or lengthen it to finish roughly at midday.
    One of the benefits of a smaller congregation.

  • We have announcements on the screens; however, they aren’t used at the Traditional service. They are also printed in the bulletin, but sometimes things come up after printing.
    For our contemporary service we start with a song and then one of the Pastors stands in front, welcomes everyone and gives Church-wide announcements. Then opens with prayer and then we have Passing the Peace. After that we go right into another song.
    At the Traditional service there is a Welcoming greeting and announcements and then the Prelude into the Sanctuary.
    I haven’t heard anyone complain about how it is done in our Church. And as the Children’s Ministry Director I’m glad announcements are made.

  • I find few things more impersonal than projected announcements before the service and our people are usually chatting/visiting or not in the sanctuary in time to read them. Our pastor opposes projected announcements during the offering because they are a distraction from the offertory and worship during that time. We usually run out of bulletins, I rarely see one, and our website is rarely current or accurate. The sum of it all is that I seldom know the announcements and miss many things or know of them only at the very last minute.

    Here is another thought. A pastor who has at least one if not two or more college degrees may not be cognizant that the reading comprehension of many is not on par with his. Many people simply “do not get” written announcements and/or do not take the extended time required for them to read carefully enough to fully comprehend.

  • I pastor a church w/ average attendance of 240-250 and a membership of 180. We have a brief announcement period after corporate worship. After the benediction, I ask our people to please be seated to hear about what is going on in our church family. Only 90 seconds of announcements that are time-sensitive are given. We have bulletin boards and an all-church communication app (GroupPost) that we utilize. Our printed bulletins only contain our Order of Worship, Sermon Outline and questions, and a Family Worship Guide for the week tied to the Worship/Sermon, etc.

  • A few select announcements are fine and can be used as a personal connecting touch with the congregation.

    Regarding the church member who wanted it announced that their daughter was named salutatorian of her senior high school class…..just do it and let the whole congregation participate in the congratulations.
    It’s not worth losing a member over and it does add some personal touch to the service indicating that the program is not so stiff and structured that a congratulatory note can’t be fit in.
    And then announce that a full list of announcements can be found in their other publications.

    My personal pet peeve is the church member who will stand up in the service and make an announcement without the aid of a microphone and only 40 people in their immediate vicinity will actually hear the announcement. What’s worse yet is when a mic is brought to them and they refuse to use it.

  • Paul E. Caspers says on

    I’m approaching seven months into my time as the solo bivocational pastor of a church running between 50 and 85 in Sunday morning attendance. After a couple weeks of awkward openings to the service, I instituted a “Deacon of the Week.” His job is to give the announcements (usually about three highlights) and then open the service in prayer. Now, I begin the service with a welcome and then tell everyone to “finish greeting the people around you and settling in” and tell them who our deacon of the week is and that he’ll be giving the announcements and opening in prayer in a couple minutes. So, we’re still doing announcements AND a meet-and-greet time, but we’re doing them (I hope) in a way that is natural to our congregation.

    Some of our deacons are better at it than others, but it’s a low pressure way to get them out in front of the congregation so even new people will know who their leaders are, and it spreads the weight of the Sunday service around such that it isn’t just the pastor and music director “running the show.” Plus, that’s 2-5 less things I have to think about on a Sunday. At this point, I think I’ve unintentionally trained my people to know that I’m not the one to give an announcement to right before the service. I’ve forgotten things altogether, and I’ve called on people to make their own announcements. Usually all I do now is say “tell the deacon of the week.”

    We also have printed announcements on the bulletin and a loop of projected announcements on the screen. Things like missions offerings (i.e. Lottie & Annie for my fellow SBC readers) will get mentioned by me before the sermon. Events happening that afternoon, evening (we have no regular evening worship), or the coming week will get a quick mention right before my closing prayer.

    That’s how we do it. I’m enjoying reading what others do, too.

  • I’ve never understood how announcements can ever be called part of “worship.” Hearing about Uncle Billy’s ruptured appendix has never helped me draw closer to God during times of worship. Put in on the projector or in a bulletin, just my opinion.

    • I don’t mean this to be facetious, but if you really loved uncle Billy surely it would draw you closer to God in prayer? And surely being told by a real live person who also loves uncle Billy would be more appropriate?

      I know there must be limits on time, but not at the expense of loving Christian community.

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