Several years ago my former boss and wise sage, Thom Rainer, made the observation that large churches (700 and up in average worship attendance) are highly unlikely to have announcements as a part of the worship service. Thom always has a keen sense of what is happening in large number of churches, so while many churches still give announcements, he recognized the trend away from them. Which I believe is great. Here are five reasons announcements should be minimized or even eliminated in a church’s worship gatherings.
1. They are not that effective.
Look around the next time you are in a church service during the announcements. You likely won’t see high levels of engagement. Announcements in a worship service are not that effective. They are often filled with “insider language” that can even cause people to feel like this place is not something I can understand or navigate. And the more announcements in a worship service the less effective each one is. As complexity goes up, engagement always goes down.
2. Announcements in a worship service don’t change the heart.
I get that something people are invited to can be a place where God changes the heart, but people are already gathered in the moment. That moment should be stewarded well. More prayer, more singing, or more study is exponentially more transformational than more announcements.
3. People did not come to church for announcements.
No one wakes up on a Sunday morning and goes to church to hear announcements. It is not why God’s people gather together, nor should it be. We gather to encourage one another, to worship Him in community, and to study His Word.
4. They disrupt the arc of the worship service.
Those who prayerfully and intentionally plan a worship service do so with the desire to declare God’s grace and truth and respond His grace and truth. However the service is designed, announcements typically disrupt where the leaders desire to take people.
5. A smaller percentage of the people will hear them.
Whatever level of effectiveness announcements had in church services a decade ago, they are way less effective now as people attend church less frequently then a decade ago. Meaning less people in the church even hear the announcements any given week.
How will a church help guests take a next step? How will people be encouraged to plug into a group or serve in a ministry? Those are the right questions and announcements in church services are often the easy answer, but not always the best answer. There is a better way to having infomercials in the middle of a worship service. There is better way than promoting five of “the best things ever” in between the singing and the teaching. I will offer a few thoughts on a better way in an upcoming post.