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4 Ingredients to Better Announcements

No matter what size church you have or the level of technology you utilize in worship, most of you make an announcement or ten as part of your worship service. Whether you do them at the beginning or before the offering, or they are live or a video on the screens, they become an important part of your service so you really need to give serious thought and planning about what you communicate. Here are four ingredients to consider in planning your verbal announcements for worship every Sunday!
Acknowledge your guests. First and foremost, tell your guests that you are glad that they are in attendance. Also, give them some important direction, like where to get more information or their questions answered or another unique bit of information that is helpful to someone that is in your space for the first time. Even if you have greeted your visitors earlier in the service, do it again because it tells the guests they are truly welcome and it tells your congregation that you are serious about welcoming guests.
Make announcements flow naturally in your worship rhythm. Again, no matter where you do your announcements in the order of worship, make sure there is a natural segue into announcements and a logical transition to the next component of your worship service. For example, if your announcements precede the offering, then make sure your last announcement is a next step opportunity so you can connect to the offering by saying something like: “another important next step in our faith journey is the opportunity to give faithfully and cheerfully…” If you make your announcements at the beginning of worship, make sure the speaker generates energy and enthusiasm and the transition is to an active worship component.
Motivate people to take a next step. The question I am most frequently asked is what verbal announcements should make it into worship. My response is anything that can affect 80% of the households in your audience, ties directly to your mission and values, AND gives your audience an opportunity to take the next step in their faith journey. In many churches the first two criteria don’t narrow the choices down easily, but when you the apply the next step criteria, it clarifies the important opportunities that are calls to action to the majority of your audience. For example, a next step for someone might be the decision to give themselves unselfishly to other people in need. Signing up to help with the food bank is an opportunity to serve, but for the majority of your congregations, they have to first answer the call to serve and then explore where that calling leads them. So, they key is to structure your announcements to give the listener a call-to-action and then tie it to opportunities to explore that calling.
Don’t regurgitate the worship bulletin AND BE BRIEF. Obviously, the most important opportunities to engage will also be listed in the bulletin, if you use one, but not all of them. No matter where in the service they fall or how awesome the presentation is, the reality is that your verbal announcements are an interruption to the flow of worship. You can be brief by being effective with the time. Follow the previous three tips and give your audience direction where they can get more information or engage, like the website, worship folder, information desk in the lobby/narthex/hallway, etc. If there is not an easy and immediate place to engage whether you a brand new or a lifer, then it might be an indication that your announcement needs work or your engagement process needs tweaking.
Verbal, worship announcements can be an important tool to engage with your congregation as they discover how to become or continue to be followers of Jesus. Please make them an important part of your worship planning and not a last minute, afterthought that makes them disruptive and unengaging. Stay tuned for more tips on being more effective with all your communication tools!

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