They’ve always been a thorn in my side. They’re necessary, I understand, don’t get me wrong. Most of the time, it’s HOW they’re done, rather than what’s announced that’s the problem (although it’s better to stick to things that affect large groups within the congregation, or that require some sort of vision-cast, like an overseas mission trip). Getting the announcement people ready to roll is a key thing.
These Three Things Will Help Them To Do A Better Job (notice that I used extra caps here for emphasis):
PREP – The person (or persons) doing announcements should have a VERY good understanding of what they are going to say ahead of time. They should understand each of the things that they are asking people to be a part of. They should NOT simply be handed a card with a few notes on it a couple of minutes before the service. They should REALLY, REALLY not simply read the announcements straight from the bulletin!!!
PRACTICE – The announcement person should actually practice doing the announcements. We don’t allow any other element of our services to be “winged” – both preachers and musicians put in hours of practice time, if they’re serious about what they do, so why should the announcements be a weak link? We do service runthroughs before our Sat. service, and the announcement people get up and do them exactly how they’re going to do them in the service (and we offer critique, if necessary).
PHILOSOPHY – Don’t let announcements become the only means of communication that your church uses. Don’t let it get overwhelmed in minutia. Don’t let it be only about the pet projects of a couple of people. DO let it be a concise, clear way to get important info to your people. Keep them very short, and give clear action points and contact info.
(BTW – 5 minutes should be an absolute max…)