Remember our friend, Charlie Brown from the Peanuts comic strips and cartoons? You probably do, and you probably remember how realistic the sound of the school teacher was during those old fashioned episodes . . . “Wah, wa, wha, wha, wah, waah, wa, wah, whaa, wha, whah, wah.” Wow. Just quoting it reminds me of Jr. High History Class all over again.
Question. Is that what your congregation hears during the Sunday Morning Announcements? I hope not. The announcements usually get a bum rap. Just for kicks, check off how many of the following are true at your church:
- You traditionally have more than 3 announcements each week, often 5 or more.
- You decide what will be announced early Sunday morning.
- The emcee reads most of the information to the congregation; usually that’s also the first time they’ve personally seen or thought about the announcements themselves.
- Each announcement is nothing more than a regurgitation of what’s already in the bulletin – a lot of basic information like who, what, when, and where.
- The emcee sounds like my Jr. High History Teacher.
- There are no slides or images displayed during each announcement.
- There ARE slides during each announcement and your 5th grader could have done a better job.
- The announcements average 5 minutes or more, sometimes up to 10 minutes.
- The content of each announcement often doesn’t include how to sign up or get more involved.
- You don’t plan to attend most of what is announced, or you wish you didn’t have to.
I could go on, as I’m sure you can. I can honestly say that we’ve fallen into every one of these traps at some point or another at Elim Gospel Church
. How about you?
Question. What can you do different THIS WEEK to change those patterns? Here are a few random suggestions:
- Sell Your Announcements.
If you think it’s important to say, then don’t just say it, SELL IT! The whole point of the announcement is to give people a reason to care. Focus on WHY they should participate, not when and where it’s happening.
- Information is Overrated.
Seriously. Your people are pretty smart. Most of them know how to read. If it’s in the bulletin or on your website, then point them there to get all the nitty gritty details. When was the last time you saw someone pulling out their pen and writing all the information in their calendar on the edge of their seats during the announcement anyway?
- Find a Good Talker to Do the Talking.
If you’re going to sell your announcements, then find someone who can and will be passionate about selling them. Monotone is so NOT in.
- Announce Something, Not Everything.
Ideally, you’ll only highlight 2-3 key activities. I know this means you just might offend your ministry directors – that’s OK. They’re not serving as leaders for themselves, but for the church, right? Right?
- Follow the 4 Minute Rule . . . (wait, I mean 3 minute)
Make a rule of thumb that you’ll never spend more than 4 minutes on announcements. Offer your emcee a bonus if they can communicate them effectively in 3 minutes. Not possible? Give it a try.
- Create Standards on ‘What’ Will Be Announced
Not all of your church activities carry the same weight. I recommend you reserve verbal announcements for events that will apply to a large portion of those present in the room OR to people who are still new to your church and may not be sure what their next steps should be.
- Decide on Announcements Ahead of Time
One of the ways to keep your announcements focused and intentional is to decide ahead of time exactly WHAT will be announced. For instance, is it possible for you to think through and decide on Sunday announcements for each week a month in advance? You’d be shocked how effective this method can be in clarifying what you will announce, when, and how often.
- Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
Your emcee should prepare in advance. Ideally, he or she will know a day or two ahead of time and will PRACTICE communicating the announcements in privacy or in front of a captive audience.
- Creative Announcements
Mix things up every once in a while with a creative announcement. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but will still add value to the service and give people something to talk about. For example, one Sunday we had two men drive into the sanctuary in a golf cart and tee up for a shot to announce our upcoming EGC Open Golf Tournament.
- Video Announcements
Every once in a while someone will mention to me that video announcements are reserved only for large churches. I have to disagree. You probably already own enough equipment to put together some basic video announcements. (My phone even has High Def Video capabilities.) There are two teens at our church right now who have taught themselves how to edit video’s. One of those teens has created video announcements for the teen program on occasion. Video Announcements can be a simple way to mix things up in your service and ensure your church activities get the attention and focus they need. See below for a few examples of some standard video announcements at EGC. (Note: Our video editor is a professional. You’re VA’s may not look quite as polished as these, at least at first. That said, Dave Bode learned a lot of what he knows about video editing by creating video’s for our church.)
04-17-11 EGC News (1 minute and 51 seconds)
2-6-11 EGC News (1 minute and 48 seconds)
1-30-11 EGC News: 2D Madness (2 Minutes and 34 Seconds)
5-22-11 EGC News: Talking Animals (3 minutes and 9 seconds)
4-24-11 EGC News: Easter Song (3 minutes and 53 seconds)