Preach Your Announcements

Preach Your Announcements

February 22, 2016 by

“Wow, those announcements were powerful today,” said no one ever.

Phil Bowdle recently wrote an excellent article explaining why churches should quit doing announcements. In a world where so many churches rely heavily on stage announcements to spread information, this idea is both radical and crucial.

Why Churches Should Quit Doing Announcements

“Churches are making the dangerous assumption that if it’s important to us, it must be important to the audience.” -Phil Bowdle

Phil points out that “announcements are information rich and inspiration poor.” Churches often have great ministry opportunities, but can’t expect people to act or even remember just because the pastor talked about them from the stage.

Many churchgoers have started ignoring the announcements altogether either because the announcement doesn’t impact them or they aren’t given a compelling reason to care.

Providing People With Next Steps

“Quit doing announcements, and help someone take their next step today.” -Phil Bowdle

In the article, Phil urges churches to “stop doing announcements and start doing next steps.”

He provides plenty of context for how we can determine which next steps to communicate and different methods for sharing these messages effectively.

Essentially, we need to ask ourselves why should people care about what we’re telling them. Then, we should create a clear call to action for each item.

Make the Sermon an Announcement

”We have life-changing opportunities… but they are often getting tuned out, ignored or forgotten during the typical announcement time.” -Phil Bowdle

We shared a link to the article along with a quote on social media and good a good response—seems like many church communicators can relate to Phil’s frustrations.

We even got this reply on Twitter: “You have to preach the announcements. Next steps should be within and flow out of our messages.” This idea takes announcements to a whole new level.

“Wow, those announcements were powerful today,” said no one ever.

Basically, announcements are not compelling enough on their own. If the information is important enough, it should be appearing in the context of the sermon. That’s a powerful thought.

If we try this but retain our current mentality for over-announcing, then the sermons would end up being four hours long. Our new mentality should be to focus in what is most important.

Sermons and Announcements Go Together

Announcements and sermons are more effective and memorable when they’re used to support one another.

This can be a challenge because it requires a church leadership that understands and agrees with these concepts. So think about this as a way to connect Sunday messages with the church’s ministries.

  • How much more powerful is a message on building community when people are immediately invited to join small groups?
  • When is a better time to mention the upcoming mission trip than following a sermon on reaching the world?
  • How many couples would sign up for a Bible study on Christian marriages following a compelling worship series on the same subject?

Announcements and sermons are more effective and memorable when they’re used to support one another—because ministry announcements need a firm basis in Scripture and sermons need more practical application.

Once we begin to appreciate and apply this concept effectively, we will start seeing more engaged church communities both on Sunday mornings and beyond.

“Wow, those announcements were powerful today," said no one ever.

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Post By:

Robert Carnes

Robert Carnes is the managing editor at the Orange Group and also serves as an assistant editor here at Church Marketing Sucks. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. Previously, he worked in communications at two United Methodist churches in Metro Atlanta.
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6 Responses to “Preach Your Announcements”

  • Kevin
    February 23, 2016

    I feel this is a slippery slope. Do we now have the pastor check the church calendar to decide what he is going to speak on? What about exegetical/expository teaching churches? Most do not do 4-6 week themed services. I get the point that the author is trying to make, but the problem seems to me that the leadership in most churches haven’t had the discussion about what is important to mention from the stage (or on video) and what gets put in the bulletin and email. Without cutting the noise in conventional avenues, you will eventually get either a noisy, shallow sermon meant to push church activities instead of spiritual growth or a shoving match among ministry leaders vying to have their event, program or group featured in the message. Or both.

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    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      February 24, 2016

      If you end up with a noisy, shallow sermon, you’re doing it wrong.

      The pastor needs to be coordinating with the communication team to figure out what’s important to mention. It should all be intentional and natural. If it feels like you’re slipping a commercial into the sermon, that doesn’t work either.

      My pastor has done this a few times recently (complete coincidence–my church isn’t a great model!). As she talked about Lent and the build-up to Easter in her sermon, there was a natural pause to mention the current Sunday School series and a weeknight event that lined up thematically. It wasn’t a promo, it was more of a natural next step–if you’re feeling this and want more, these two events offer that. Very brief and further details were in the bulletin, but I think a lot more effective than a typical stage announcement.

      And it definitely shouldn’t feel like you’re pushing church activities instead of spiritual growth. The spiritual growth should be happening because of those activities. It’s not ‘Come to our game night!’ in the middle of a sermon, it’s ‘Community is important, that can happen in something like next week’s game night.’ It’s emphasizing the why, more than the what.

      Does that help clarify things?

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  • Jess
    February 23, 2016

    I agree with this! Next steps aligning with the sermon is ideal. However, I wish it touched on if not during service, what ARE the effective avenues for promoting events and ministry opportunities?

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    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      February 24, 2016

      Jess, are you looking for all the various channels and avenues for promoting events and ministry opportunities?

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  • Sylvan Finger
    February 25, 2016

    As one who’s been on the end of handling church announcements on the digital media end and from the stage, I’ve always thought to myself there has to be a better way of handling announcements. They often seem superimposed on the people rather than organically relevant. For example, an announcement about help with gardening in front of the congregation is an announcement I do not see helpful. As a practitioner I’m thinking, “We’ll I’m sure the guy in the other section of the church can take care of that.” I think for a small church, an invitation within a small group or individual phone calls would be more impactful and better for building relationships. Contacting people individually would take more work for the one who is in charge of the announcement, but I believe the payoff would have greater results.

    As for working an announcement into the sermon, I was able to accomplish this when I was invited to preach at a church. They told me they would be having an Operation Christmas Child party right after the service. My text for the sermon was Ephesians 6, the armor of God. My comment about the Operation Christmas Child party was mentioned in the application portion of the sermon. Here is what I said: “Though I don’t expect you to all to sign up for seminary to use God’s Word against the evil one, something as simple as packing a shoe box can let a child know that they are loved by God.”

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  • Joe Porter
    March 1, 2016

    This has become our most effective method of a weekend announcement if we do it at all.

    There’s no slippery slope if you include it as part of your communication guidelines.

    From a practical level, both me and the senior guy serve in the weekend planning team which meets weekly. So we communicate about any “all church” initiatives that he could incorporate in his teaching. It’s a collaboration.

    Kevin correctly said it should not sound like you are pushing activities over spiritual growth. I would go further to say that if you have a bunch of activities that are not directly tied to spiritual growth that can not incorporate into a sermon, that’s another issue.

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