Making announcements at church is a big, fat pain in the…uh…well…neck!
In my nearly 3 1/2 decades of service to churches, I have been involved in about 3,345,972 discussions of how to handle announcements and ministry promotions during our worship services.
- We’ve talked about eliminating them completely, and just ask people to read the bulletin, look at the web, or whatever other electronic or printed means of dissemination are available. But the problem is that people don’t often do that, don’t know what is going on, don’t show up, then complain that we didn’t make the announcements!
- We’ve put them at the beginning of the service, but that is a really ineffective way of “entering his gates”. Doesn’t exactly get the worship train rolling, does it? Plus, I don’t know about your church, but when our services begin, we generally have about 1/3 of the people who will eventually come, so most of the people never hear the announcements anyway.
- We’ve talked about putting them at the end of the service. Of course there are two problems with that. One is that our music runs overtime (it can’t be the preaching, I’m sure of that) and there is little time left at the end of the service to do announcements. After first service, people have to get to Sunday School. After second service, they have to beat the Assembly of God next door out to the restaurants! Plus, and more significantly, are announcements any way to end a worship service? Say that (as we hope) God has spoken through his Word and the Spirit has been working on hearts. Do we want to poke a hole in that balloon by talking about the women’s salad luncheon on Thursday?
- We’ve talked about doing the announcements sometime during the middle of the service, but the same problem arises there. Are you going to interrupt the flow of worship to talk about the next youth pizza party?
So, what do you do at your church? How do you handle announcements and ministry promotions? Tell us your ideas.
I’ll give you where I’ve come to after all this time. It works pretty well for our church. The only announcements I make from the pulpit are those that have a significant, all-church scope. Lottie Moon. Annie Armstrong. Major schedule changes or other events. Ministry events for specific groups have to do their own promotion and announcements.
TWO OTHER ISSUES
1) I always have people ask if they can come up and make the announcement themselves. They assume (rightly) that I probably won’t give as much time to their announcement as they might want to. Generally, I have told people that during Sunday services, I make the announcements (or my associate). When people get up to make announcements, they lose all sense of time! Recently, I gave two or three minutes to some of my folks for an importance announcement. They did a good job, but it took about 10 minutes of service time. Nope, it took 10 minutes of my preaching time.
So, I generally discourage people from coming to the pulpit to make their own announcements.
2) The proliferation of ministry promotional videos has caused a problem. Every new ministry has them. Bible Study curricula. Social ministries. Pretty much all of them. “Pastor, can we show a 2 1/2 minute video in church to promote our ministry?” Nothing wrong with any of them. But pretty soon, you have two or three videos a week and the beginning of the service starts looking like “previews of coming attractions” at the local cineplex.
Again, I’ve pretty much had to cut all of the ministry promotion videos, except for Lottie Moon videos, Annie Armstrong and periodically, something else.
I’m interested in what your church does and how you handle things like this. These are not matters of eternal import, obviously. But they are aggravating and annoying – the kind of real-life ministry issue we often run into as we serve God’s people.
So, have at it.