If your church has never experienced problems with church announcements, there is no need for you to read the rest of this post.
If your church is like the 95 percent of congregations that do struggle with announcements, please continue reading.
To be clear, I am speaking of verbal announcements made during a worship service. For this post, I am not concerned specifically about the digital announcements that appear on a church website, a screen before or after worship services, or a church newsletter. This issue is all about those times when someone stands up to speak to the entire congregation.
So what’s the big deal about church announcements? How could something so innocuous cause problems? Here are five reasons:
- Someone’s announcement is left out. On more than one occasion, announcements are left out either inadvertently or by design. A person feels slighted because his or her area of ministry or activity is particularly important to them.
- Someone’s announcement gets more emphasis than others. The reasons are the same as noted above. I actually heard one woman say she timed each individual announcement to prove the pastor showed favoritism. Sigh.
- The announcements take too long. More than one congregant has become frustrated due to the length of the announcements, especially if the issue in number four takes place.
- The announcements interrupt the flow of worship. Perhaps the worst time to have verbal announcements is after the worship service has begun. While singing, preaching, and the offertory definitely reflect acts of worship, it’s hard to see how the announcements fit in that category. If you have to make announcements, precede the worship service with them.
- Most people forget announcements. Try an experiment. Talk to someone you saw in the worship service one or two days later. See if he or she remembers the announcements. Probably not.
Some of these same issues play out in digital venues as well. People get angry or get their feelings hurt because of the placement or perceived priority of announcements on the church’s website or social media accounts.
The churches that seem to be handling the verbal announcements best are actually doing them on a very limited basis. The leaders make sure the announcements are important to the entire congregation, and that they reflect clearly a major issue for the church. Other announcements go to the newsletter or to the web site.
Unless there is an overriding reason, announcements that pertain to a small portion of the membership really should not be considered church announcements in any form. Usually there is no reason why the leader of that group cannot contact every person individually.
It is sad that announcements can be such sources of contention. It is a reflection of a self-centered “me attitude.”
But unfortunately the issue is very real in many churches.
Let me know what you think.
This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on April 11, 2016. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.