Church announcements don’t have to stink.
This time in your service doesn’t need to feel like a miscellaneous catch-all for things that don’t fit elsewhere in the service flow!
When done well, announcements can be the part of the service that moves people to action. Every weekend you have five minutes to move people toward engagement with the church’s mission. What an incredible opportunity!
Often the musical worship at your church is about a transcendent connection to God. During that portion of the service, we are attempting to help people live in full awareness of the fact that they are loved by the creator God! Also, in most churches, there is an opportunity to be engaged with some practical teaching that applies to people’s lives. During that portion of the service, we hope to equip our people to live out their faith during the rest of the week. However, the announcement time needs to be seen as the purest form of leadership during the entire service. You are asking people to take steps toward community and engagement during those precious five minutes. Don’t waste that time because what your church is doing is incredibly important!
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to host innumerable services and coach a lot of pastors on how to leverage their announcement time for maximum impact. Here are some common things that pastors say during the announcements that we need to take out of our vocabulary! As always, I’d love to hear your feedback on what else you would add to this list.
“Wow! It’s a nice day out there today!”
The problem with this statement is that it’s a lazy way to drive connection with your community. Yes, people experienced the weather as they came in this morning, just like they do every other day. Unless the weather is actually of historic note, avoid this statement at all costs. This phrase is particularly dangerous because it’s a verbal crutch for many leaders and they say it every week. The human mind is a pattern recognition machine, so when you lead with this every week you are helping people tune you out.
Other filler phrases similar to this one could be things like:
- “How about those [insert sports team here] that played again this weekend?”
- “Did you see the traffic on the way in? Wowsers! That’s life in the suburbs!”
- “Welcome to First Church! Our mission is to help irreligious people become fully devoted followers of Christ.”
In the first moments of your announcements, you need to grab people’s attention and let them know you are headed somewhere. Think of your announcements like an airplane ride; the take-off and landing are the most important part of the experience. Craft the first sentence or two as a way to intentionally connect with your community and communicate that you have something important to tell people. Don’t get caught in the verbal crutch of starting the same way every week but look for new ways to grab people’s attention.
Some alternative openings to your announcements could include:
- “You are going to be so thankful you came to First Church today because our team has crafted an amazing experience to help you and your family”
- People are inherently interested in themselves. Leading with how they will personally benefit from the experience will pique their interest.
- “Good morning! If you’ve been around for a while, then you’ve no doubt heard us say that we’re trying to create a church that unchurched people love. I want to tell you a story I heard this week about this mission being lived out…”
- Two ideas in one for this one. Humans are drawn to stories and they want to hear about other people. Also, when you can tease info as “secret” or for “insiders,” people will listen.
- “Wait, stop. Did you listen to what we were just singing? Do you believe that? Some of us here think it’s an amazing truth, but what do you think about it? Our hope is that the music every week makes you think about what you believe.”
- Being slightly provocative after a shared musical worship experience and asking people to consider their own participation pulls them in. Also, the use of halting, short language can punctuate the flow and force people to slow down and consider what you are saying.
“In just a moment, our team is going to collect this morning’s offering.”
This one gets on my nerves…big time.
People are being generous and choosing to give to your ministry, and you’re talking about it like it’s a “collection”! We aren’t the Internal Revenue Service collecting taxes for God. We want to guide people toward generosity, not pass the plate and demand payment. While it might sound like a small, subtle difference, people are hyper sensitive in the area of finances so language matters here. In fact, we know that people who don’t normally attend church have their radars on high alert during this portion of your service. They are looking for reasons to push back on what they are hearing and seeing. This is a simple change to make your services more welcoming to those who might be skeptical.
Some other ways we word this one:
- “Our ushers will be coming forward to get your tithes from you.”
- “As our team prepares to gather this weekend’s offering… “
- “We’re going to take up this morning’s donations from you.”
Our language should be a response to our people’s generosity. Our people are generous, so therefore we receive the donations that people are choosing to give to the church. The people who attend our churches are the first movers in helping advance our mission and we need to acknowledge that. They are choosing to be generous to God through our church and our role is to be thankful for what they are doing.
Try these alternatives when introducing this part of your service:
- “In just a minute, our team is going to receive this morning’s offering from our community.”
- It’s subtle but the language of “receive” is so much more powerful (and reflective of what’s happening) than “collect.”
- “We know you have a lot of places you could choose to give, so we’re honored that so many people choose to give here!”
- Sometimes just being honest about generosity is the best option. People have options and they are choosing to give to you. It really is amazing.
- “As a church, we don’t want you to feel any obligation to give. This part of our service is for people who call our church home and want to give to back to the ministry here.”
- This is a fantastic phrase because in a kind way it lets guests off the hook from feeling pressured to give, while at the same time not telling them not to give. It also subtly reminds people who call your church home that they should be giving.