Announcements: “No Wing Men (or Women)”

I’ve come to think of announcements as the “necessary evil” in our services. Don’t get me wrong – it’s important to communicate. There are a ton of things going on at most churches, and – let’s face it – an announcement from “up front” gets a lot more results than a paragraph in the bulletin. So yes, I admit – announcements are necessary. The evil part comes not in the “what,” but more in the “how” (and maybe the “who”). Again, the problem much of the time isn’t that the information isn’t important – it’s that it’s delivered in fashion that’s, shall we say, less than engaging. Think about some of the “non-stellar” announcements that you’ve seen. People reding out of the bulletin, monotone delivery, taking eight minutes to say what could have been said in two…

Years of dealing with announcement people has taught me that the primary issue is… (drum roll) …winging it! The announcement guy or girl gets up, perhaps with a few hastily scratched notes in the margins of a bulletin, and improvises their way along. (Warning: Soapbox Moment) Why is this OK?! Most of our churches would NOT be OK with a pastor that was winging his message, or worship teams that had obviously put zero prep time into preparing to lead the congregation in worship. If you’re spending five minutes of your service on announcements, multiply that five minutes by the 50 (or 500 or 5000) people that are in your service on a given weekend. Is what is happening worth the time and attention of all of those people? Are announcements simply something that must be endured? Well? Are they?! (…pausing to calm down…)

The solution? Do a run-through. We do two complete run-throughs (everything except the message) before our Sat. night service. The announcement people are expected to have prepped, and need to be able to give the info (in order, to match the support graphics) by memory. They get up and do their announcements in rehearsal – including the transitions in and out. On your end, you need to make sure that you have given them a clear list of what’s being announced, in the correct order, as well as note on how to get in and out of what’s happening before and after (ie. you don’t want to do an extremely intimate and heartfelt song, and then have the announcement person come up and launch into a joke)! It take work and preparation – but that’s what we’re here for. (Soapbox Moment Complete)

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