9 Tiny Habits That Can Cause Huge Disengagement During Announcements
When you have a little pebble in your shoe, it’s hard to focus on anything around you besides that minor discomfort, right? We sometimes do the same thing with our tiny habits during our weekend service announcements.
What about that little smudge from your kid’s finger on the TV as you watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster? Small distractions can deter even the biggest fan from concentrating on their favorite movie.
People can get distracted by the smallest of negative habits that you might have when you’re hosting your weekend services.
Your goal during these 5 minutes of “doing the announcements” at your church is to motivate people to spring into action. Part of the service is asking people to engage. These are incredibly important moments every weekend when you attempt to inspire people to plug into a group, join a service team, or give to the mission. Surely you don’t want a small (bad) habit to distract them from doing good deeds.
Churches looking to grow in the future have to find ways to increase engagement.
Jesus didn’t call people to “attend” to him; he called people to “follow” him. Engagement has been baked into Jesus’ message from the beginning!
Eliminate These Tiny Habits from Your Weekend Hosting to Boost People’s Engagement
Sports commentary // Commenting on the local sports heroes all the time or every weekend will drive people to stop listening. It’s a crutch when you don’t know what else to say—don’t do it! Add a high-value transition, like commenting on what just happened in the service rather than what your sports heroes have been up to.
“Blessings” and other insider language // I don’t know what it is about doing the announcements that makes some people use “churchy” language. Rather than talking about how great the youth event was, they talk about what a blessing it was for the youth to be involved in fellowship in that way. What?! Use language that makes sense to people who don’t normally attend church. (And stop taking up those “clap offerings!”)
Ignoring what just happened // We’ve all been in that sort of service where someone gets up to make the announcements and their hosting is completely disconnected from what just happened. It’s like they were only waiting backstage for the rest of the service to be over so that they can perform their part. Your announcement is part of the experience your guests just had. Treat it as the same service and respond to what happened and look for a way to elegantly hand off to what’s coming next.
Shielding your eyes from the light // You go on stage and there are bright lights for people to see you. You want to be able to see them too, so you make a shield over your eyes with your hand. Stop that! It takes people out of the moment, reinforces the fact that those lights are there, and makes people feel disconnected from you because they can’t see your face clearly.
Not introducing people // Who are all those people on stage with you? If you’ve ever visited a church and not known who was on stage, you know how disorienting it can be. Take 10 seconds to introduce everyone—it puts first-time guests at ease.
Acronyms or fancy names // Does your church use a bunch of acronyms for various ministries and departments? Stop it. Acronyms are how insiders talk to one another, and they deliberately build walls because new people don’t understand them. Cut it out! Just say the whole phrase and avoid the use of acronyms. The same rule applies to “clever” but unclear names for various ministries. I once heard an announcement inviting people to a “keenagers” event. What exactly is that?
Practicing your stand-up comedy // Sure, you want to make people smile—but you don’t need to practice your latest stand-up routine on them. Your goal isn’t to have them busting a gut in laugher but to simply have them engaging with what you say. Smiling is a great goal, but you don’t need to overshoot by making your guests roll on the floor with laughter.
Weird prayers // One of the reasons we pray in public is because it represents what a “normal” prayer life is like. However, some church leaders fall into the trap of trying to impress people with big words or overly complex prayers. Don’t do it. Model a prayer life that uses normal language to connect with God. It’s a simple way to help people take their next steps in this important part of their spiritual lives.
Not making an ask // People are anticipating that you’re going to ask them to engage, so ask them. Don’t leave them wondering, “So … what do you want me to do?” Make the ask clear and compelling. Say it in a way that draws a line in the sand and forces a decision. Don’t beat around the bush. We’re fighting to increase engagement. People need to know what you want them to engage in—so ask them!
Increasing Engagement Is About Putting Our Guests First
Ultimately, these nine habits are manifestations of us putting ourselves and our needs ahead of our guests.
We need to think about how our ministry will be received by the people who are attending our services.
Our goal is to start with them in mind first and put their needs first.
Looking for more help with your announcements? This FREE 3-part video series is for you.
Are you looking to improve the hosting of your weekend services?
Have you already tried improving this area but aren’t sure what to do next?
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.