Nine Observations about Announcements in Worship Services

January 7, 2015

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

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110 Comments

  • The church I used to attend had the announcements and it was a waste of time. They would read every announcement in the bulletin and then ask if there were any others or there were in corrections. Sometimes they wasted up to 20 minutes before the service began. A new pastor was appointed and he said he was going to make some changes in the service, but I moved away before he was able to do anything. I hope they have cut the time they spend on announcements, but old habits die hard.

  • I direct communications for the West Virginia Conference of the UMC, and I love this post! I’d like to offer that I think MANY of the nine points apply to the way in which communications are done at the conference level. It’s important to be aware of the how this sort of institutional creep manifests itself. The last-minute-announcement-before-worship thing is true for us as well. We get stuff all the time that is very last minute at the Conference level. We also get requests from a wide range of constituencies that all want THEIR STUFF OUT NOW! I also agree that much of what is put out is really white noise to folks, unless we are good stewards. I ask a lot of the same questions – how does this tie to the conference vision and values? I also ask folks to articulate this too. People will come to your event if it lines up with your vision and values. If all they see is a steady stream of dates and times – well, it just won’t help!

  • One of the reasons we stopped doing video announcements (which we did at the beginning of the service) is due to #s. In my large church, only about 1/2 of the attenders are in church on time!! We have three services, and the only ones who seem to arrive on time are the 8:00 early birds for our 1st service. In the other two services, people trickle in throughout the worship music. There was a lot of work being put into video announcements that so many people were never seeing!

  • I pastor a church plant, a little over one year old. This is the second church I have had the privilege of planting. It seems the number one problem in any church, business or family is communication. How many pastors have heard this; “I didn’t know, no one told me?”
    You can’t have too much communication about events. We have a church member who does the announcements at the end of the service as they come up on the screen. He makes them fun, and is enthusiastic about the events coming up. He also can say things about events more effectively than I can as the pastor. He also encourages our people to give every Sunday, which is a plus because I don’t have to.

    Thanks for the intriguing questions you put before us. It challenges us as pastors to stop and think about what we are doing so we don’t get into ruts.

  • I was surprised that no one on this thread has addressed accessibility for people with disabilities. Just projecting announcements on a screen, or just printing them in the bulletin, is not accessible to people with visual disabilities or some learning disabilities or literacy issues. Many churches consider hearing disabilities with assisted hearing devices or at least a sound system, but we should also remember that there are members of each congregation who, if not legally blind, at least cannot access the written word for various reasons.

  • We are a small church (about 50 people on Sunday morning) and do include announcements at the end of the service. Concerning your point 6 (“it is becoming less likely for announcements to be made about a committee meeting that involves only six people”) we do announce such meetings as we want all church members:

    a) to be aware of what is going on, even if they are not directly concerned, and
    b) to pray for all the activities in the church, not just their own

    Obviously, I can see that this can become more difficult with a larger church.

  • We are a church around 150. We do announcements in various ways. We send a weekly newsletter highlighting some important events, announcements on the screen before and after the service. Our bulletin is designed in two columns, how to connect and how to serve. Also our Connection Card has a place for people to sign up to volunteer and serve with what we are asking sign ups for. So when we announce an opportunity we point them right to the Connection Card. We also at the end of the service announce a few upcoming events and opportunities to serve. We try to limit these to 3-5 announcements at the end. It is the last thing we do during a service. We also utilize Facebook with announcements.

  • Dave Carpenter says on

    I have experienced different cultures (albeit in the same State) – as a person whose Church experience began in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 38+ years ago, and then moved down to Grand Rapids, Michigan ten years ago. It appears to be related to size, but is that a good thing? Could it be saying something about the size of a congregation? When one member of the body is hurting, wouldn’t the rest of the body feel pain also? It also seems that with the increase in numbers we lose some personal connect during the service and the announcements are just one among many – e.g. I used to appreciate when it would be shared how a particular song had encouraged the person speaking….order is one thing, but programming every minute of the service (e.g. special music – 11:06) is time allotted for the Holy Spirit?

  • Dan Farrer says on

    Your article is insightful in that it shares an interesting trend, but it lacks important details that might help many of us to make the transition. Another commenter called them best practices. So, how do people in larger churches get their information? This past Sunday, I attended an area church that has experienced an impressive level of growth. The pre-service video announcements thanked us for attending and suggested a next step in connecting with that congregation. There were no video or printed poster announcements in the foyer/hallways. There was no bulletin. The website introduces and invites to the next sermon series, but it is rather static. The sermon included next steps comments in how to be connected that felt quite natural. Their Facebook page celebrates well recent events with pictures. In the past year, there are three please help posts; a need to help someone to move, a need for two additional workers for their Red Cross drive, and an area unskilled employment opportunity. They are obviously achieving a level of success, so how do they and churches like them actually communicate? Or, do they simply offer less for more – and if so, then help us understand that mindset. Thanks.

  • I’m visuals person at my church, we do at the end of the service on Sunday mornings and Sunday night upcoming events during offering, to get the ushers time to get ready and for people to get their stuff, but we also have media shout running before service and after, I also have to put the announcements up wHen the pastor is saying it, I think it’s better this way but I don’t always remember to do it

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