When you’re sitting in a service and hear that it’s time for church announcements, what is your reaction? For many people, this is a cue to pull out their phones and scroll social media or zone out for a few minutes.
Church announcements are necessary, but are they effective? First, remember the overarching purpose is not to fill a timeslot in the service flow; it’s to communicate vital information. You want people to know how they can grow, serve, and deepen their relationships.
Peoples’ expectations for receiving and accessing information have changed dramatically over the past decade. Although some churches continue to rely on traditional announcements, digital communication channels can help you connect with members throughout the week. Also, small adjustments to your in-service announcements will make them more effective and engaging.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
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Communicating Effectively in a Digital World
In-service announcements are a powerful tool for explaining culture, priorities, and upcoming events, but they aren’t the only way to deliver critical information.
Consider how people get news these days in a digital world. In the past, everyone tuned in for morning or evening news, usually a half-hour update on local events followed by a half-hour of national and international highlights.
Now, people have instant news access 24/7. In addition, we’re constantly updated via banners on web pages, social media posts, app notifications, or email digests.
Modern expectations shape where people expect to get information and how they want it delivered. So, people value communication that is:
- Straightforward and easy to understand
- Visually engaging
- Accessible at any time
- Personal and customized to the individual
As a church, these values impact both where and how you communicate. When people know the details of upcoming ministry events, they can make plans and invite others, which is key for growth.
Common Problems with Church Announcements
Some common problems with in-service church announcements include the following issues.
- Rambling or long-winded. Speakers can go off on tangents, take too long to get to the point, and overload the audience with more details than they can absorb.
- Dry and boring. About 65% of the population are visual learners. So, without any visual or creative element, verbal announcements can be more challenging to retain.
- Missing vital information. Speakers are only human. When you’re relying solely on live delivery, the speaker can get details wrong or leave out crucial information like the call to action.
- Insider-specific. Guests who are new to your church won’t understand insider terminology or lingo filled with Christian cliches. This can leave them feeling lost and excluded.
- Not applicable. A young single male doesn’t need updates on the women’s conference, baby dedications, and new senior groups launching. And trying to give an announcement for every ministry and demographic will take way too long!
It would be great if church members cared about every single thing happening at the church. And some could argue that people need to know everything to help spread the word.
Unfortunately, that’s not realistic. Your average church members are already managing stuffed schedules and juggling information overload between work, school, and activities.
Considering that people’s time is precious and their attention spans are short, how can you do a better job with your church announcements?
Creating More Engaging Church Announcements
Do you always have the same pastor deliver in-service announcements? Is every upcoming event going to be “completely life-changing” and not to be missed?
It can become easy to tune out announcements with the same language delivered in an identical format. Instead, look for ways to mix up your announcements and capture peoples’ attention.
Video continues to increase in popularity across all social media platforms. In-service videos can include news-style informational announcements. Or, you could incorporate testimonies, live footage of ministry projects, and creative illustrations.
The main drawback to videos is that they’re very time-consuming and costly to create. For the sake of your team and budget, include videos in a way that’s sustainable long-term.
Photographs, beautiful graphics, or well-designed slides will capture people’s attention. In addition, incorporating humor with memes, quotes, or funny gifs can shake things up. Even if it’s not a brand new technique, people enjoy appropriately-timed humor and always appreciate visual support.
Having two people on stage can create more exciting back-and-forth banter than one person reading from a notecard. Just make sure there is good chemistry, and this doesn’t cause announcements to go longer or veer off track.
If the same pastor delivers announcements every week, maybe it’s time for a change. Could you work out a rotation with other staff and church leaders?
Prior screening and practice are essential because your announcer needs to be comfortable and an effective public speaker. But in the long run, taking time to coach a diverse team of speakers will be a win.
Save your greatest creativity and longest announcements for the year’s most impactful campaigns and events. These are the times you want everyone to participate.
Your announcements will be ineffective if everything is delivered in the same method with the same tone. Whether everything is a video or a dry stage announcement, it blends together either way. Use variety in your announcements and put significant effort into the most important things.
How To Make In-Service Church Announcements More Effective
What you say, when you say it, and how you say it are all critical for effective in-service announcements. Also, in-service announcements can cover a number of priorities. Two vital types of information to mention weekly are
- Ongoing “church life” activities like assimilation or connection classes, small groups, outreach or vision and value statements.
- Time-specific events like an upcoming women’s retreat, men’s conference, college night, or kids summer program.
Here are four guidelines for more effective announcements.
1. Choose the Right Timing
When people are experiencing powerful worship, praying over serious needs, or absorbed in an impactful message, pause and honor the moment. Your announcements should not feel like an abrupt commercial break. Instead, build them naturally into the emotional rise and fall of service flow.
Delivering announcements at the very beginning or end of service can be a good solution, although you will miss out on people who arrive late or leave early. Using multiple communication channels can help, and we’ll talk about that more at the end of this post.
2. Focus on Impact
What affects the entire congregation? Few ministry events require the participation of the entire church, but this lens helps your team determine what to announce in service.
The information you communicate from the stage also carries a message about what you value most. Sometimes, you need to mention things that don’t necessarily impact a large number of people directly.
However, these announcements reinforce your church’s priorities. You need to talk about big picture items that build the kingdom and advance your mission, culture, and values.
In summary, filters for measuring the impact of an announcement include:
- Is it applicable to the majority of the membership?
- Is it vital to the mission and values of the church?
3. Communicate Concisely
People remember a limited amount of what they hear, so what is the major takeaway from your announcement? If you spend five minutes describing the time, location, what to wear, what to bring, the schedule, the URL to register, and every activity that will take place, people will be overwhelmed and tuned out.
Inspire interest, deliver the basics, and tell them how to get more information. Finally, always make the follow-up crystal clear: where do they need to go, and what do they need to do next?
4. Create Systems for Communicating Announcements
Chances are, a few minutes of live announcements will never be sufficient for covering the breadth and depth of things happening at your church. So, having clear systems to deliver information will help ministry leaders, church staff, and church members.
When leaders want an announcement for a ministry event or project they’re passionate about, it’s defeating to hear “no.” Instead, the response may be: not in service, but here are channels you can use to get the word out.
If you establish consistent, fair standards for what types of announcements happen during service time, then leaders and staff will know when to ask for an in-service announcement. At other times, they can rely on an email or social media post. (We’ll talk about ten possible channels in the final section of this post.)
In addition, church members will appreciate predictability and knowing where to go for the latest updates. That could mean taking a new guest to the welcome center to get them connected, visiting the kid’s website page for the latest lessons and upcoming events, or expecting an email newsletter every Wednesday with general news.
Your members appreciate consistent, up-to-date information, just let them know where and how to get them.
10 Channels for Delivering Church Announcements
In marketing terms, the number of impressions matters. Impressions are the instances when people are exposed to your brand or message. In other words, don’t expect people to hear something once and remember it forever.
People need to see the same information in multiple places, hear it in different ways, and be reminded of deadlines. Here are ten channels, traditional and digital, for delivering information to your church members.
1. In-service stage mentions
These remain one of the most powerful methods of communication, which is why this article mainly centers on this topic. Stage mentions are especially powerful when delivered by the senior pastor.
2. In-service videos
Whether it’s a news bulletin, testimony, or creative piece, videos are one of the most attention-grabbing and memorable ways to deliver information. The downside is that they are costly and time-consuming to produce, so use them for major impact moments.
Coordinate emails sent by church staff and leadership to ensure people get the right frequency, length, and quality of emails with information that applies to them.
4. Church App
A church app can be a wealth of information. You can also create push notifications and alerts for event-related announcements like service times, registration deadlines, etc.
Your website should be dynamic and regularly updated. Consider creating an events or updates page where people can always find the most accurate and recent news.
6. Social Media
Social media is non-negotiable these days. However, you should carefully choose what platforms to set up for your church because creating content is time-consuming. It’s better to be consistent on a few channels than trying to cover everything from Snapchat to TikTok but only posting sporadically.
7. Text Messages
You can send mass messages through text services. Sending texts to individuals and groups is also highly effective since it’s more personal. On that note, be careful not to overstep boundaries in text messaging by sending too many or delivering them at the wrong times.
8. Slides and Signage
If you have TVs or screens throughout the building, create graphics and slides to use as rotating billboards before and after service. If you don’t have screens, you can post physical signage at the coffee shop, kids check-in, back of bathroom stalls, and other locations.
9. Handouts or Bulletins
It’s less common to pass out paper in the digital, post-pandemic world. And arguably, paper bulletins or newsletters are not time and cost-efficient to produce. But if you’re not handing out paper announcements weekly, they’ll be more attention-grabbing. Save paper handouts for significant moments for more impact.
10. Word of Mouth
Never underestimate the power of personal touch. Church is about connection and relationship, so encourage your leadership to have personal conversations and spread the word through phone calls and texts when something new is on the horizon.
Better Church Announcements
Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to your weekly service announcements. There are effective, creative, and engaging ways to communicate with your church. Take some risks and see what works, and don’t forget about the many digital channels available to you.