Earlier this week I lamented the existence of lots of “announcement time” in church services because of the ineffectiveness of the announcements and the disruption the announcements bring to the arc or flow of the service. I acknowledge that the desire to give announcements comes from a good place – a place of wanting to help people in the church get connected to something helpful or connected to people who will provide care and encouragement. Ministry leaders live with the burden to help people take steps into the life and mission of the church. Announcements feel like a solution to that burden. Giving lots of announcements in a worship service is the easy solution to the challenge of getting people connected, but it is not the best solution.
Here are four practical ways to have fewer announcements in your weekly gathering:
1. Do less as a church.
One of the main reasons that churches struggle to announce so many things is because they are doing too many things. Without a clear ministry strategy, a bloated and disconnected ministry calendar is inevitable. Even with a clear ministry strategy, it takes great discipline to stay committed to the essential environments within the strategy. If you are struggling to announce everything your church is doing, your church is likely offering too many things. Which results in busyness but often not increased godliness.
2. Preach, don’t announce.
Basic rule: Announcements that are preached are exponentially more effective than announcements that are announced. For example, if you are teaching about the need to serve the city, it is great to mention ways you can join the church in doing so. If you are teaching about the need to be in community with other believers, it is great to invite people to join a group. When announcements are connected to the teaching, they provide people a way to respond to the message. When announcements are connected to the teaching, they are more easily recognized as for the people and not merely organizational.
3. Announce the places that help people get connected to many things; don’t announce the many things.
Instead of announcing all the church does, announce the places in your ministry strategy that introduces people to all the church does. Example: If in an orientation class or membership class you help people see the places they can connect (the women’s groups, the men’s groups, the opportunities to volunteer, the marriage ministry, etc.), it is far better to put your announcement energy into that place of connection rather than dispersing your announcement energy across all those things.
4. Utilize digital communication.
This is a very incomplete illustration because the church is not a restaurant and we are not consumers, but it would be very odd and distracting to heart a plethora of announcements over dinner at a restaurant. The moment of dinner is protected, so the restaurant sends you messages at other times.
A church that thinks strategically about programming will also think strategically about announcements. Typically, an “announcement problem” is not really the problem. The real problem is there is not a strategy or the strategy has been buried beneath a plethora of programs and events.