Every congregation I have served has included a time for announcements prior to each service of worship (in one parish the timing varied and such would occasionally shift to the end of the service). These verbal announcements are easily ignored and usually ineffective. Recognizing this I have previously shared some best practices, mentioned the 80% rule as one way to cut down the number of verbal announcements, and even passed along a hyperbolic description of announcements as one of the greatest epic fails of all time.
Earlier this week I read Rich Birch’s recent blog post enumerating eight reasons why people don’t listen to church announcements. His list includes
- too much noise (too many different options spoken about),
- too much insider language (too much vocabulary that makes little or no sense to newcomers), and
- marketing rather than selling (marketing shares features and benefits whereas selling overcomes objections and calls for action).
I don’t think there is an easy answer to the question of how best to use the time for announcements during a worship service. I do, however, think that many congregations fall into a rut and leaders stop considering continual process improvement for this component of ministry. Furthermore, it is important to fit this communication moment into the larger framework of a comprehensive communication plan. A standardized process should exist for all events and church happenings that guides the communication process from the moment of scheduling until the event and that also provides for how communications will then be used to celebrate and share the event once it is complete.
- If you were given a pop quiz at the end of the announcements during a typical church service in your congregation, how well do you think you would do on it?
- Share one of the top reasons you think many people ignore announcements before worship.