Youth group announcements are a thing of the past for me. In fact, it’s been two years since I made an announcement at a youth meeting. Why? Announcements just clutter the primary message. Does it make sense to talk about Jesus for an hour…then spend your last words reminding everyone about next weekend’s carwash?
Besides, does any data show that youth group announcements actually work? If announcements are going to clutter and confuse the message, they’d better work. Here’s the thing. They probably don’t.
In fact, my data suggest that mentioning an upcoming event for a minute or two is probably the least-effective way to drive students to sign up for it.
SIDE NOTE: Is that really surprising? That announcing a weekend retreat to a group of 12-year-olds immediately after they’ve finished playing dodgeball and immediately before we spend 20 minutes talking about something else might not be the best way to get them to sign up for the aforementioned weekend retreat an hour later when they get home and become suddenly aware they’re drowning in a mountain of unfinished homework?
So for the last two years, we haven’t made a single announcement during youth programs. I’ll tell you how we did it. First, though, let me tell you what happened when we quit announcements cold turkey:
Why You Should Stop Making Youth Group Announcements
1. Our worship time gained an intense focus.
We sang to Jesus, read about Jesus, prayed to Jesus, and taught about Jesus. At no point did we interrupt the flow of worship to remind everyone about the lock-in next weekend.
2. It freed up staff members’ time.
Most of our announcements were videos, which are time-intensive. Suddenly we had an extra hour or two per week. That’s nice.
3. Participation in events actually increased.
This was the grand experiment. If we stopped announcing events and fundraisers, certainly fewer people would come, right? Nope. More showed up, and it’s no secret why. Because we didn’t make announcements, we were forced to do our due diligence with other communication methods. We spent more time on things that work and stopped doing things that didn’t work.
If I was a clever marketer, I might say something like this: Continuing to use a broken system is like continuing to use a broken hammer. It only breaks more.