Handling announcements

by the Rev. Phil Hirsch

How does your congregation handle announcements?
Clutter or clarity?

I’ve heard a lot of announcements in different ways around the church. Some have gotten longer than the sermon! I’ve been asked to share a few thoughts and tips from what I’ve heard, so here we go.

  1. I would suggest never starting worship with announcements.
    The first few minutes are when people are deciding if they fit or belong and if this is a place where they can connect with God.
  2. Don’t end with announcements either.
    People just want to go. Being asked to stay for a few moments ends the worship experience on an administrative note. Whenever people are gathered in the sanctuary, it feels like worship time to them. Trying to put announcements before or after the worship service “actually begins or ends” still interrupts the flow of worship life.
  3. Although there is no ideal time for verbal announcements, I’m not saying none should be made.
    Just don’t think that they will be less disruptive at the beginning or end, and I suggest those times are actually more problematic for the worshipper. The pastor or a person who is prepared may highlight one or two special announcements for the whole congregation (preferably in a way that is especially inviting for newcomers) sometime during the course of the service itself. People should be directed to where all the announcements can be found
  4. Public, verbal announcements should be for everyone, not just a few in the congregation.
    They should be brief and cheerful. No guest is impressed by how much your church is doing as told through multiple announcements. A long period of different people speaking kills joy and makes people want to run.
  5. Assume people don’t know what you are talking about.
    Instead of: “Sign up for our Lenten soup suppers in the Narthex;” say: “Lent is a time leading up to Easter when many Christians take time to focus on prayer and fasting or eating lightly. Every Wednesday night we are going to have a light supper and talk about how to pray, and we’d love to have you come. If you can, let us know ahead of time. That would be really helpful. Please look for the sign-up sheet as you exit on your left.”

Hear more on announcements and related observations from Pr. Hirsch in his
Together in Mission talk at www.timmetrodc.org/#/tim-2014-video/.

 

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