Service Announcements: Not a Necessary Evil

How would you define announcements?

Pastor: Transition time between the music and the message
Comm Person: The ultimate negotiation tool
Regular attender: Intermission to the restroom
First time visitor: Acronyms, Event titles I don’t recognize and something about connect card?
Department Lead who wants an announcement: The Holy Grail and the only communication tool in the universe
Department Lead who doesn’t have an announcement this week: That voice from stage while I’m checking facebook.

It’s interesting to me that announcements find their place into (almost) every church service, despite the size, location, or denomination (or non-denomination) of a church, and the danger exists when we fall into the trap of making them the “necessary evil” but they don’t have to be.

Announcements, when done properly, are an effective way to communicate not just WHAT your church is up to by WHY.

Too often we inundate listeners with information during announcements, and as much information as we give them, it’s often too much of the wrong information. More information doesn’t solve the communication issue. Better information does.

Here’s an announcement worth ignoring:

Next Saturday, we’ll have a BBQ at Pete and Jan’s house at 1234 Main street. Park across the road because there’s no parking on their side of the street. If your last name is A-L, bring a salad, If you last name is M bring slurpees (ok, I added that in), if your last name is N-Z bring a dessert. We’ll provide the drinks and the meat, but you’ll need to register outside at the information center before you leave today so we can get enough drinks for everyone. Being a lawn chair, and if it’s raining, bring a board game because we’ll be inside.

Here’s a better way to create that same announcement:

Here at Example Church, we love building friendships. We’ve had 5 new families join our church this month, so we’re going to get to know them next Saturday night at a BBQ at Pete and Jan’s house. All of the information you need is at the information center, and we’ll send you an email on Friday as a reminder.

The first announcement is full of details that people aren’t going to remember, so you’ll need to remind them anyway, with a flyer with details and a follow up email. I can guarantee that one stop light after they leave church, the people sitting in the seats don’t remember those details, and compound that by sharing 4 or 5 announcements with the same level of detail.

With good announcements, if I'm new to your church, I can find out what you're all about, and even if I can't come to the event, I get a clue as to who you are as a church. @adam_mclaughlin Click To Tweet

The second announcement talks about our culture (Building friendships). Gives 1 set of details about the event (BBQ at Pete and Jan’s) and gives a simple call to action to get all of the details (visit the information center). Will I still need that flyer at the information center and an email later this week? Yes. But given 2 or 3 announcements with this level of clarity, I can remember the ones that apply to me.

In the second announcement, if I’m new to your church, I found out that you’re all about friendships, and even if I can’t come to the BBQ, that’s a clue as to who you are as a church, and helps me decide if I’d like to get connected here.

The announcement roadmap: Tell us why (mention one of your church’s core values). Tell us what (1 or 2 details max). Tell us how to respond (one way).

Announcements don’t have to be a necessary evil. They can be an opportunity to remind your listeners of your church’s culture.

More information won't solve your Announcement Problem. Better information will. @adam_mclaughlin Click To Tweet