A church member greeted me after a church service in my usual location, the back exit. I embraced her and wished her a blessed week. She had strange look on her face and said,
“You know, I really don’t like announcements at the end of worship. It really takes away the momentum of service and deflates it. I don’t know how to solve that. But then again, that’s your job!” She laughed.
She was right.The obligatory church announcement time was situated in an awkward place in the worship service.
In some churches, multiple people make a multitude of announcements and service drags on. If inserted in the beginning of worship, a number of people don’t hear the announcements because they are still walking into worship. If placed at the end of worship, announcements can take the wind out of a great service. Announcements are odd to have at the end of worship, but it is often the only place the majority of the congregation can hear of something important.
Do announcements belong in worship anyway?
Yes, but only if announcements serve a greater purpose: to connect people into greater opportunities of Christ-like community life.
In some churches, announcements serve as a time to catch people’s attention with wacky or zany slapstick comedy. Cue the busy and frantic dad looking for a way to wash his car on Saturday. Bring in the youth car wash announcement! Announcements in worship are innocent enough, but how many worship leaders and pastors could use announcement time for some other worship element?
Rather than contend with the messy fact that announcements are a necessary
evil fact, there are a number of ways to see announcements has a holy communication. Here’s a few different ways of looking at church announcements:
Announcements in non-verbal form. Though Christianity was mostly embraced by illiterate people for centuries, written word has made information accessible. It always shocks me the retention rate of information. Studies show that a piece of information needs to be repeated multiple times for it to take in someone’s memory. In addition to bulletin or insert, try have announcements on a projector that run before, during the offering, and after the service. Using technology, getting the word out on Facebook, Twitter, email, and direct mailings drive the point home so worship doesn’t have to suffer. Use as much non-verbal ways to communicate so that any verbal communication can be short and to the point.
Announcements by a solid communicator. God always selected a prophet or leader to speak for the people. What about doing the same for announcements in worship? No matter who is making the announcement (a pastor, worship leader, lay person, etc…) make sure it is the same person every week. If announcements can’t be made by the same person every week, use the same 2-3 people. Select people who can connect an idea with a straight forward words and can stay on topic. Perhaps, this person can connect a song or aspect of the sermon that connects with the announcement.
Announcements as celebration. Instead of always asking for people for funds for something, use announcements to celebrate congregational accomplishments. Has a group or ministry done something really awesome to serve the community? Has someone dedicated their life to ministry? Share it! The act of celebration filled God’s people in times of uncertainty or transition. Celebration can really keep morale high in a church.
Announcements as Opportunities for Ministry. The way I solved our worship announcement struggle was to incorporate announcements as “Opportunities for Ministry Engagement”. After the sermon, but before the offering, I give announcements (we worship using the threefold format of The Gathering, The Word, and the Response). I usually save this time to share offerings of service, chances for spiritual grow in a new Bible Study, church news that shapes the life of the congregation, and ways people can connect with God through church life. Try to present announcements as opportunities, and not pleas for help. If someone desires to make an announcement, ask he or she privately, “How does this draw us deeper into a Christ-like community?”
Using these ideas can transform your announcement time in worship as opportunity of growth and engagement.