On Handling the Church Announcements on SundaysBy
One CCP reader asked me this question and I’d like to answer it for the benefit of all:
We’re struggling with the announcement wars. How do you deliver announcements without destroying the worship? Our worship leaders are protective of the worship experience–not wanting to break it up–and we’re grateful and respectful of that. At the same time, ministry leaders are desperate to promote their programs and events, and to recruit workers and participants. Not at all a worship thing.
Do other churches feel this tension? Are there creative ways to communicate that we haven’t considered? (We beat the bulletin to death; the Web has limited effectiveness in a congregation where many folks don’t access the Internet.)
I’m not a worship pastor or a minister of music … but I’ve been involved in this debate for a while now. It’s a hard one.
The first thing I’d say is … what I do, or we as communications people, is SUPPLEMENTAL to what your Sunday School small groups, ministers, leadership do in person.
The power of true communication is in personal interactions with each other. So many times people think that the Bulletin or worship screens or [insert some impersonal communications tool here] is the holy grail of effective communications.
It’s not. Never will be.
And that’s coming from a guy who makes his living from producing those things.
What we do is augment the communication message. We give people a fallback if they can’t remember details. And I’ve say it like this too … those things are more for guests, who have no experience or knowledge of your church. Your people probably already know it all anyway.
… because they’ve already heard it from someone.
I would love to do a survey sometime … and ask the people in my church how they find out about events. My untested theory … if people are really reflective of the question … is that they will say “So and so told me.”
Person to person interaction. And it starts with your core people. But primarily in the pulpit, then to the ministerial staff, then to the core leaders of the church — the Sunday School teachers, deacons or elders, etc. etc.
And don’t forget the church receptionist!!!!!
But saying all that … we as communications people need to use every communications tool available to disseminate the best, most accurate information available. So we CAN be that supplement to those personal peer-to-peer conversations that take place.
And the second thing I’d say is … regarding worship announcements … you must have a good set of defined priorities from a leadership level of what things are MOST important.
Now, I didn’t say just “important” … I said “most important.”
The hard thing in doing what we do is … we have to tell people “no.” And frankly, that’s the bad part of the job.
I love passion. And I love passion for the Lord. But everyone thinks their ministry should have the front, centerstage … and is THE most important ministry.
But with a church our size, that’s not possible. We can’t give everyone and every ministry centerstage for their announcements. There has to be a criteria to define what gets the most attention.
And the easiest answer to that question is … the things that should and must get the most attention and centerstage are those things established by the church’s leadership as the chief strategy and objectives for the church.
For instance, in our church, Sunday School is a big deal. It’s one of our core ministries. It HAS to have centerstage. So it will … and must.
The final thing I’ll say on a subject that I could go on and on about (and probably get into ranting too) is … that ultimately the pastor, along with the worship minister, should decide what dictates the order of service.
Personally, I have never pushed anything inside of the worship service boundaries. I trust my pastor and our worship minister to decide what happens in that short and important timeframe. If they allow announcements, which they do … then I abide by whatever they give me.
To me, it’s a hallowed time when the whole church body gathers under one roof (well, 3 separate times in our case) to worship God through song and the faithful preaching of the Word.
And generally speaking, our greatest asset in terms of effectively communicating to our church is … through Sunday School. Tap into that powerhouse … and you’ve got a great “grapevine” of communications.
Grace and Peace in all you endeavor to do for the glory of God! Hope this helps.