I grew up in the church, and by my calculation I’ve heard 10,931 church announcements, or thereabouts. I only remember one of them. What did I only remember that one?
Before I give you the answer, I must confess that for me announcements are the most boring part of a service, yet mostly necessary. I’ve felt more stress from having to give them than when I’ve had to speak. I simply hate giving announcements. I guess I don’t like them because I see most people’s eyes glaze over during announcement time.
So why did I just remember the one I referred to?
It happened when I served in California over 10 years ago. I took a staycation and visited a few local churches since I didn’t have to attend my church. One church I visited met in a simple warehouse. About 10 minutes into the service a man walked on stage with a microphone in one hand and a hot dog in another. He made a couple of announcements between bites. Then another guy walked up on stage with a mike and a hot dog. They began a dialogue about the church hot-dog cookout that followed. I’ll never forget that creative announcement. Even as I write this post I’m getting hungry for a hot dog.
Although these two guys probably didn’t have the brain in mind when they made that announcement, they exemplified a basic rule of attention. The brain pays attention when expectations get violated. I expected the normal talking head to make announcements. But my brain was made more attentive because what I expected didn’t happen.
That simple brain concept not only applies to announcements, but to our sermons as well.
So, if you believe announcements are important and you want people to remember them, violate your congregation’s expectations. Here are a few simple ideas to incorporate into your announcements.
• Novelty (make them from a different location in your auditorium, use video, etc.)
• Surprise (mix up when during the service you make them, have separate people in the congregation stand up and make them, etc.)
• Humor (the key to humor is surprise)
• Object lessons/show and tell (i.e., the hot dog)
What ideas have helped your announcements become more sticky?