announcementsI remember my first church family camp, the Ohio Meadville Summer Institute.  At the end of the morning worship, one of the planning committee members would go up to the podium and start singing:

 

 

Announcements, Announcements, An-NOW-ounce-ments!
A terrible death to die, a terrible death to die,
A terrible death, a terrible death, a terrible death to die.
Announcements, Announcements, An-NOW-ounce-ments!

I visit a lot of different congregations in my work, and occasionally this hits a little too close to home!

Fortunately, I also have had other experiences.  I was at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church last Sunday where the co-ministers announced that the announcements for that Sunday were going to be the last.  The Rev. Kathleen Rolenz announced the change and the Rev. Wayne Arnison articulated the discomfort that such a change will create.

How will people know what is going on?  How will we get more Sunday School teachers if we don’t ask from the pulpit?  How will we let people know that our pledge payments have dropped off over the summer, and we need folks to catch up?

Rich Birch at unSeminary points out in his article 8 Reasons People Aren’t Listening to your Announcements that announcements are counter-productive.  Our goal is to get people’s attention, but instead we get their eyes to glaze over.  The “added noise” of the announcements may actually interfere with the effectiveness of the transformative message that our worship team has worked so hard to provide.  What is our core purpose, to change lives or to staff the rummage sale?

Of course, re-thinking how we communicate to our members will require patience and creativity on the part of congregational leaders.  I think you are up to the challenge!   Please share your ideas of how you communicate more effectively!

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke, Congregational Life Staff

Additional Resources can be found at:  Communication Skills for Leaders

About the Author
Rev. Renee Ruchotzke
Leadership Development Consultant, Central East Regional Group (CERG) of the UUA. I have a vision of Unitarian Universalist congregations being led by thousands of diverse, spiritually mature and passionate people ready and willing to spread the good news of liberal religion.  I believe ministry is best when shared between lay and professional leaders. More information about me can be found on the UUA website.
  • Jennifer Jfb Kelley

    As a Worship Chair I am in the process of creating a new policy for announcements. I feel this article would be a lot more useful if it provided alternatives to after service verbal announcements
    .

    • vitalleaders

      I’m hoping folks will share their ideas in the comments, Jennifer!

  • Diane

    1. Send the announcements out in an email the previous Friday.
    2. In the “order of service” have a blurb inviting people to peruse the bulletin board after service for invitations to upcoming events, and announcements. “Join us for coffee after the service, and check out the upcoming events and announcements on the bulletin boards!”. Have “rolling” bulletin boards you can roll out to display during the coffee hangout.
    3. For a laugh, people with announcements have them on large posters on a tall stick (like a picketing sign), and they keep them with them after service while hanging out with a cup of tea, so folks can come up and read the sign and chat about what’s on it.

    • vitalleaders

      These are great ideas, Diane! Thanks!

  • Mark Bernstein

    In many congregations, the person at the pulpit simply refers people to the announcements in the order of service. They can also be sent on a weekly basis via an “outline” digest format. The idea of a bulletin board is a good one. Bottom line: You can get information to people in many different ways without making it part of the worship service.

    • vitalleaders

      Great ideas, Mark!