8 Reasons People Aren’t Listening to Your Announcements

This weekend all across the country people are going to get up in front of their churches and talk about upcoming events and opportunities to connect with community. They want to move their people to action but in reality a large portion of the room will simply tune out for that part of the service and then tune back in when something more interesting comes along. You know it’s true … because you’ve done it!

We get belligerent and blame the people for not engaging in the mission. Sort of like a shepherd blaming the sheep for not going to the right pasture. We need to understand why people are stopping to listen to shifting our behavior to help them connect with what we’re talking about … here are 8 reasons people aren’t listening to your announcements:

  • What’s in it for them? // We want to get them to attend our event. We need volunteers for the upcoming thing. We have a need that we are hoping they will fill. We focus too much on what’s in it for us … but people are intrinsically motivated to pay attention to things that will positively impact them. Frame your announcements in a way that shows how what you are talking about is going to make a difference to them.
  • Too Much Insider Language. // Why do church leaders love cute names for programs and acronyms? These are surefire way to alienate your audience because they need a dictionary to understand what all the different “special names” are for the events and programs at your church. Work hard to ensure that you use plain language that everyone can understand.
  • You need to sell not market. // Marketing is about making sure that people understand about the features and benefits of your product or service. Sales is about working with people individually to overcome their objections and get them to sign on the dotted line. Church leaders think way too much about “marketing” to people when what you need to do is think about “selling”. Who is person that is going to talk to people directly about engaging with your church?
  • No Heart. // Do you feel like yawning while you’re doing the announcements? Imagine what your people are thinking! If you don’t connect your message with their heart every once and while they will stop listening. People want to know why you are passionate about what you are talking about. Move beyond dates, times and locations to the big “why” behind what you are talking about that moves you emotionally.
  • Too much noise. // You want your people to take away the teaching points from the message . . . to chew on what difference that will make in their lives for the coming week. Everything can just be noise. Every time you add another announcement you exponentially reduce its effectiveness in breaking through. Two announcements are 30% as effective as one … three are 90% less effective as one. How are you ensuring that you are doing the minimal number of announcements possible to ensure maximum impact?
  • Bad News Bill // Is it always the same person from the finance team that gets up once a month to tell the church how much they are behind on offering? People will learn to tune out that messaging quickly. If you are always the barer of bad news … people will stop listening. Don’t “candy coat” everything … but avoid using the public stage as the place to disseminate bad news.
  • Wrong Audience. // If you are announcing the up coming hiker club trip to the wilderness on Tuesday afternoon . . . which maybe 2% of the audience could possibly attend . . . you are telling 98% of the audience to ignore you. By having announcements that only focus a small part of your community your are training your people to tune you out. If your announcement doesn’t impact 50% or more of the people in the room … why are you talking about it?
  • Too Much Treadmill. // When was the last time you celebrated something fun that happened at your church? If you are always taking time to market what’s coming up next you are missing an opportunity to engage (and reward) people who have been involved in something already at the church. Celebrate your people and what they are doing . . . they’ll listen more. 😉

Looking for more help with your announcements? This FREE 3-part video series is for you.

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Are you ready to take the next steps to increase engagement in your announcements and ultimately your church? I’m releasing a FREE three-part video series designed to help your church with better weekend hosting. The lessons in this series come from my practical experience of hosting hundreds of services in multiple contexts and coaching many other leaders in this area. The three videos are:

  • Video #1: 5 Reasons People Aren’t Listening to Your Hosting. Your first video will clearly define for you why people aren’t paying attention to the announcements in your services.
  • Video #2: The One Best Practice to Ensure Higher Engagement with Your Announcements. In this video, you will understand what the single most important practice thriving churches change about their announcements to improve engagement.
  • Video #3: 3 Church Hosting Myths Debunked. Finally, you will dive into three misunderstood myths about hosting announcements that move people to action.

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  1. Great article! Gets to the heart of the issue. Weekly verbal announcements should essentially be treated like elevator speeches: timed, concise, relevant, memorable.

  2. Great article and wonderful reminders. My struggle has been when to do announcements. If we do them at the beginning, we miss those running late. If we share them in the middle of the service then we run the risk of disrupting “flow” and if we do it at the end, we might take away from the whole service and end on a non-spiritual note. I would greatly enjoy reading about when others do there announcements.

    1. Great question … we’ve found that putting it in the middle of the service … about 1/3 of way in … works good for us. We need to work to ensure it’s not a “speed bump” and slow the service down.

      I’d love to hear what other churches do on this front …

      – Rich

    2. For the past few years, we have placed the announcement video after the first song. This allowed time for everyone to get in and get seated. The one thing we struggled with was that disruption in the service, and then have to re-steer the bus back on track after.

      For the last few weeks, and the next month or so we are starting our service with the announcement video. We realize we will miss a few, but we are going to try this and see what the results are. We will attempt to measure and see if we are truly hitting less people, and see if we can train people to enter a bit earlier if we intentionally place it at that time.

  3. It seems to me that if churches have enough features and benefits to attract people to something, sales won’t be necessary. After all, sales is about image and manipulation. The existence of features and benefits, and the delivery and support of them before and after sales, is what makes or break deals, subsequent deals, and a church’s reputation. If a church needs to resort to sales pitches in order to get people interested, it’s probably because they’re trying to sell something that isn’t worth buying into.

  4. We have moved our announcements at the end of the service just after the time of invitation is finished and we use this time as a two minute warning window for people who need to get their financial support together as well. We share just the most important announcements and try to help them see that it would not be possible without their support and involvement. We then have the prayer over the offering and end the service with a final time of praise to ensure that our hearts are fixed on Him as we leave. It seems to have helped some with the flow of service and certainly has with our giving.

  5. Can you point me to research that shows the loss of efficacy the more announcements you add? Our staff is having trouble believing that to be true.

  6. Same question as Amanda re: reduction in effectiveness. My lay leader and I are reading that in two different ways. Those are some very compelling statistics.

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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.