7 Alternatives to Sunday Morning Announcements

Ministry leaders think if they just get their event or program “promoted from the stage” people will flood into it. Church communications people are peppered with requests all the time for people wanting to get “their deal” in the announcements. The urgency from those leaders leans towards desperate. However, the more you talk about on a Sunday morning the less effective the messaging for everything is. You need some solid ways to say “no” to other ministry leaders by providing alternative communication channels.

  • megaphoneDirect Emails // Each of your ministry areas needs to cultivate an email list of people who are interested in their area. This is a critical skill for communication today. We recently sent three emails (over three weeks) to a targeted list to promote an event before we “went public” through Sunday morning … we have 200 people sign up through the pre-registration emails and only 50 through Sunday morning.
  • Cause Foyer Chaos // Church is fun … right? How could you bring a little piece of the event you are promoting to the foyer on the weekend? Taking the students on a Camping Trip? What if you figured out how to serve smores to guests? (And then hand them an info sheet on the event.) Is your small group ministry launching off for the fall? What if you brought a living room into the middle of the foyer? 
  • Social Media // How can you engage your people to get “talking” about the ministry program through social media channels? The goal here isn’t just to “call to action” but to create content that spreads dialogue about the ministry initiative.  Ask some questions related to the topic on Facebook. Take some pictures of your team prepping and post them on Instagram. Think conversations not signups.
  • Information Cards // As people are leaving the service have your ushers hand out a small printed piece that has all the information you are attempting to communicate as well as a compelling ask to join. Make sure to train your ushers to be friendly and to ask your people if they would like the cards.
  • Call People // Have you seen this new technology called “the telephone”?  It’s amazing … it’s kinda like Twitter but with audio. You can speak into it and then people on the other end can respond right away. It’s quick, basically free and ubiquitous. Why not order some pizza and pull together a group of volunteers to call people from the church to ask them about your upcoming event?
  • Snail Mail // People just get bills and junk mail in their mailbox at home. What if your ministry area came up with a clever piece to send to people? It will stand out in the desert of people’s inbox.
  • Kill It // If the ministry specific area is unwilling to put in the work to promote the event … then you should probably kill it. If the leadership is looking for someone else to “market” the event but they don’t do some work to generate a crowd than that is an indicator of a program that needs to go away. Less is more.

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  1. GREAT STUFF, Rich. I’ve sent this to our communications team. They’re in the midst of working out communications policy and procedures and this will reinforce what I’ve been trying to tell them. If I say it, it might be true. But because you say it, it must be true!

    Morning announcements during the service are almost worthless. We spent weeks promoting the National Day of Prayer event at our church. Videos, speakers, website, emails, etc. We made it a point to give this a high profile in the Sunday morning announcements. Guess what happened? A number of people told the program coordinator, after the event, “Gee, I wish I’d known we were doing the NDP. I would have been there.”

    head hitting wall

    1. Wowsers. People just don’t pay attention!

      It seems like ministry leaders all thing that getting a shout out from stage is a “silver bullet” that will drive engagement … but it’s just not true! It needs a lot more.

      What would you do different next National Day of Prayer to get the message through?


  2. I agree in theory and practice that Sunday morning announcements are “almost worthless”.

    However serving in an older, socially and media conservative congregation the “silver bullet” effect is still in affect here.

    We email, blog, tweat, use the mailslots, photocopy a bulletin (no one reads), phone call (for Men’s and Women’s stuff primarily) and do Sunday morning verbal announcements. With these 7 approaches we can skip any one of them EXCEPT verbal announcements to little impact. Miss making a verbal announcement and its as if a black hole has arrived and gobbled up all the posters, emails, calls and videos.

    But based on this advice we’re gonna try a lot more invite cards at the end of the service and CFC (Cause Foyer Chaos). CFC is a great idea. Car Wash in the foyer? I like it.

  3. What a great and very practical list of alternatives. I think this would be a very helpful tool in the hands of pretty much any communications department.

    One way that we’ve dealt with the announcements issue is to turn that time less into an information session and turn it into a time where we celebrate the stories of our church members. So rather than promoting something saying “let’s go feed the homeless” we say something more like “as someone who was formerly homeless, Bob is now joining up with the local homeless organization to bring hope to those who are currently living on the streets.” Our goal isn’t necessarily to recruit more people. But rather to inspire people to realize whatever their role might be in God’s. We promote the story, not the activity.

    Great content, thanks for writing and sharing.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.