Why Your Church Needs More (Often) Announcements in Worship

July 6, 2014 — 21 Comments

Most of us have entered the twilight zone of worship announcements at some point. A person approaches the pulpit with the same gait as one walking the plank. A piece of paper unfolds, multiple times. The throat clears… loudly. What follows is usually awkward, many times painful, and sometimes memorable in all the wrong ways. In one of my churches I had to kill the death announcements. Historically, the church began worship services by announcing all member-related deaths. Nothing screams “Let’s worship!” like announcing Aunt Geraldine’s funeral.

Those minutes are valuable. Every moment in a corporate gathering is important and should bring glory to God. Church leaders should guard the congregation from the black hole of endless droning about next Thursday’s fish fry. Additionally, church leaders should guard less skilled communicators from the undeserved pressure of performing in an area they are not gifted. There are times when it is edifying for an unskilled communicator to share something with the entire congregation. Such moments can be powerful. Making an announcement is not that moment.

The horror stories make many church leaders want to cut the announcements out of a worship service entirely. But I believe such a move is a mistake.

Churches don’t necessarily need more announcements. They need important announcements more often. Here’s why.

Attendance frequency is declining. Until church leaders solve the problem of people attending less frequently, they will have to figure out ways to communicate to these infrequent attendees. Thirty years ago, pastors could get away with making an announcement once or twice over a couple of weeks. People attended more often. Today it’s likely a good portion of people in your church attend much less than a generation ago. If it’s important and you want most people to hear it, then announce it for several weeks.

Bigger churches are getting bigger. Whether you like the trend or not, it’s occurring. If you pastor a large, growing church, then the problem of attendance frequency is exacerbated. Not only are people attending less frequently, many of them don’t know the usual drill because they’re new. Newer people—especially the unchurched—are likely to be confused about most of what happens in the church. The more you communicate what’s important, the likelier they are to pick up on it.

Most people don’t retain information after being told once. I don’t. You probably don’t either. One of the best ways to highlight what you consider important is to repeat it. One of the best ways to highlight what you consider important is to repeat it.

Generations process information differently. Millennials are more likely to receive an important announcement through social media. Older Boomers are more likely to read the worship guide. The Silent Generation loves for you to call them personally. But every generation is listening together in the worship service. A Sunday morning announcement is the best way to communicate to all generations at the same time.

Announcements are not the most important part of the worship service, but leaders should announce what’s most important to the entire church. And the answer is not more announcements. Rather, the answer is announcing what’s important more often.


Sam Rainer

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Sam S. Rainer is the president of Rainer Research and the senior pastor of Stevens Street Baptist Church in Cookeville, TN.

21 responses to Why Your Church Needs More (Often) Announcements in Worship

  1. Great post. Something I think of more now than ever before as a church staff member. As a marketing major in college, I learned that people need to hear things in three different ways before it will sink in. As we make announcements in our church plant we try to find three unique ways to get the message out! Social media, print announcements, in person, website, posters, etc and in our context we do a lot of one on one word of mouth!

  2. What is your opinion about video announcements in worship services? Should churches use video to communicate more effectively and control the amount of time given for announcements?

    • I like video announcements. We’ve used them at times. The more creative you can be, the more something sticks. As you mention, video announcements can also help with time constraints. But if you use them every week, then people will tune them out like they do the Power Point slideshow before the service.

  3. We’ve pretty much eliminated announcements unless they apply to the whole. We have a few specialized announcements but we keep it pretty short. You use email and social media for mostly everything else. Our church is young and growing but we still miss a few of the older people if we are not careful.

  4. We call them Highlights instead of announcements. Keep it to 2 minutes or less and do it at the end of the service. That’s working good right now. We have done at the start of the service as well and may change it up from time to time. We never done any of it during the service so as to not take away from any part if worship experience.

  5. I am struggling. I just celebrated my 35th year in ministry. The way we “used to do things” is no longer effective. Yet, a once vibrant congregation, now turning gray, insist on doing things the way they did “in the good old days.” It just isn’t effective. Some people who insist on doing their special announcement, actually believe that the entire congregation will be blessed to hear about an event that only applies to 6 other people. When I try to express how this looks to the rest of the bored congregation, they just list one more reason to not like me. The singularly most effective way to get people to attend and event is to ask them personally. But since we are too lazy to do that, we delude ourselves into thinking that we can really make a difference for Jesus by guilting people into attending then beat them up when they simply aren’t interested in your pet project. The longer I am in ministry, the more I think the time is best spent focusing on Jesus more and on the individual people less. I am super frustrated at the direction I feel worship is headed and feel incapable of doing anything about it.

  6. @Jeff Sexton
    After reading your comment, I believe I need to encourage you. Has God directed you to your current ministry position? If so, obey Him. You don’t need to be ruthless and harsh but you can LEAD with vision, purpose, and integrity. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct you and obey His whispers. You will be suprised by what works out that you didn’t even know about.

  7. Our church has done a lot better recently in the area of announcements. When I first came announcements could drone on from anywhere between 5-10 min and usually concluded with the question, “Is there anything I missed?” It was not uncommon for announcements to be made from the floor. Last minute requests to make announcements about all kinds of items where a regular, weekly, part of the pre-service hubbub. Whoever was making announcements got bombarded with multiple requests to make announcements about anything from the need for more nursery workers for a specific event, to a last minute deacons meeting that was happening after the service, to someone’s birthday that was coming up…when announcing birthdays was not a normal thing in our church. We finally communicated with the church what our announcement procedure was going to be and even though there was some kickback and learning curve, overall the church received it well and announcement time became much more purposeful. Admittedly, I may have overreacted and been too restrictive with this. We where accused a few times of “not promoting anything in our church.” But it was a move in the right direction, I think.

    I am now seeing more last-minute announcement requests again, and our announcements are starting to get close to being too many in number. How do you kindly lead your people, without being too OCD about the issue, to view the announcement time as important time to communicate the most important things frequently and well, and do away with the last minute requests, and redirect requests to make announcements that are only remotely relevant to a very small group of people? Also, is there a way to weave announcements into worship, or should they be separated somehow from worship? It seems that announcements are the only thing that is decidedly not worshipful in a worship service?

  8. Communication is such a major part of church ministry success. We only announce Opportunities to Serve and Give grouping it with our offering. Everything else is in bulletin, mailed to homes as part of a Top 5 list of things to know, or on FB and texted as part of our Celebration line.

  9. My old church publishes a newsletter with all of the events for the month and any needs. It is either picked up at church or mailed out if nobody picks it up. My new church is a struggling church. We have about 30 regular attenders and about 8 who do not attend frequently because of ill health, work, or other reasons. We print bulletins with the announcements in them and mail them to the people who weren’t able to attend that week. We don’t make any announcements.

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