Each week, church leaders face pressure from different groups to plug their ministries in the morning announcements. This preamble to the Sunday service has become a source of contention in many churches and led to a time of bombarding people with updates. But your church can make better use of this time if you’re falling into these pitfalls of ineffective announcements:
1. They drag on for 47 minutes (or they feel like it, anyway)
Has anyone ever fallen asleep during the announcements because you covered every possible update in the entire church? Don’t subject people—especially visitors—to an announcement marathon each Sunday morning. You have their attention for five minutes tops, so limit it to a maximum of three items. If they last longer than the sermon, your announcements are probably due for a trim.
2. They lack clear instructions
If you’re inviting people to get involved with a ministry or attend an event, they shouldn’t be left scratching their heads guessing what to do next. You should provide them with clear next steps. Rather than telling them to connect with so and so after the service, direct them to a kiosk or online portal to find a small group. Let them know that they can find more information on your website so you don’t need to review every detail of an event during the announcements. You can even encourage them to register immediately from your mobile app.
3. They sound self-serving
If every announcement is about how to give to the church or how to help the church, people might begin to tune out. These needs are important to highlight, but don’t forget to thank people for faithfully giving and serving, too. Let them know how their contributions are making an impact and demonstrate why people should want to get involved.
4. They’re irrelevant to most people
Announcements that make the cut should be pertinent to at least 80 percent of the people in attendance. Each ministry will be vying for a timeslot to plug the next event, but does the entire congregation need to hear about an update that only applies to a handful of people? Promote the church-wide picnic during announcements, but find a more suitable way to spread the word about a college student outing. If multiple ministries are searching for volunteers, direct people to a single place where they can learn about all needs and sign up.
5. They’re not timely
Although you’ve already begun planning for a series beginning six months from now, the rest of your church community probably won’t share your excitement so far in advance. But you’ll also need to give people more than a three day notice. Based on the event and how much planning is required to attend, make announcements when they’ll have the most impact.
6. They’re not rehearsed
When the person making the morning announcements decides to wing it, people can usually tell. The subsequent rabbit trails and rambling make everyone uncomfortable. Make sure anyone standing in front of the congregation at least reads through the announcements a few times before stumbling over words.
7. They’re not reinforced
People typically need to hear about something several times before it sticks. If the only time you inform your church community about an important update is during the announcements, some people might miss out and others will forget. Include this information in your e-newsletter or on your website or on social media to back up the message and keep more people in the know.
8. They conclude with an uncomfortable greeting time
In a poll by Thom Rainer, people named a time of forced conversation and hand shaking as the top reason they wouldn’t return to a church after an initial visit. Those few minutes of greeting the people around you can be awkward enough, so don’t add to the discomfort by giving people a series of questions and answers to recite to each other. In-person connection is important, but these tactics make many people feel uncomfortable rather than welcome.
9. They’re painfully boring
If people’s eyes glaze over every time the announcements begin, it’s probably time to shake things up. Get creative and make this time more engaging for your church community. Introducing giving through your mobile app? Show, don’t just tell. Have a cool clip to accompany an update? Throw it up on the screen. People will be more likely to remember your announcements if they’re not dozing off out of boredom.
Some churches have abandoned announcements altogether and relegated important updates to the bulletin. Others have moved to video announcements because they can be more engaging and controlled—and they can be repurposed online.
What has worked for your church?
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