Why Church Leaders Can’t Stand Doing Announcements
Do you dread being asked to get up and host a weekend service at your church?
Can just talking about hosting the announcements this coming weekend make your stomach turn?
Is your team pushing you to drop the announcements? And maybe even more worrying, do you have a good reason not to drop them?
Are you convinced something is wrong with the announcements at your church, but you’re not sure how to fix it?
As a leader, are you confused about how you can improve this aspect of your church services?
Over the last two decades, I have been leading churches from the second chair. I’m not the primary communicator, but I love leading on the operations and communication sides of what we as leaders do in the local church to help them grow and reach more people. So, that means that for hundreds of weekends, I have hosted weekend services in a bunch of different contexts.
In doing so, I’ve learned a lot about how to do announcements well and ensure that this aspect of our weekend service is successful.
I’ve had some pretty awkward experiences during weekend services that I don’t want you to repeat, like the time I walked out onto the stage to do the announcements after our band’s second song, only to find out later that the band had planned to do three songs!
I’ve also learned a lot from coaching other church leaders, helping countless campus pastors get over their fear of doing announcements and raising awareness of why this part of what they do is so critically important to the development of their particular faith community.
I understand that your team may not like doing the announcements or hosting your church service. Over the years, I’ve heard a number of reasons church leaders give for disliking doing the announcements. Here are a few:
The Laundry List
We’ve all seen someone get up to host a weekend service, and we can tell by the way they’re looking at the piece of paper in their hands that they have a long, boring list of items they need to talk about.
They have four or five different things from three different departments happening over the next four weeks that they’re required to somehow speak about each of them with an equal amount of passion and energy.
This is a terrible way to do the announcements. No one should ever have to rattle off a laundry list of items. In fact, the best practice is to narrow the focus, and have one item, two at the most, that the person who is hosting the service needs to move people towards.
The Speed Bump
Imagine for a moment that you are participating in an incredible weekend service. The music at the front-end is transcendent. It’s helping connect you with God and is taking you to a new place. It’s being spoken in a deep way that is sometimes hard to communicate with just words.
And then, at that moment, the host gets up and places a giant speed bump in the middle of the service.
The service takes a dramatic turn to focus on some problem with the youth ministry. There’s a plea to the congregation to step in and help prevent the kids from running wild in the streets.
Speed bumps happen when the church leadership doesn’t think clearly about the place that announcements have in the overall flow of a weekend worship experience. It shouldn’t detract from everything else that’s happening. In fact, good hosting should feel like an extension of the worship and teaching moments during weekend services.
Announcements should connect what’s being said and felt in the service to people’s schedules. Plan your weekend service announcements around a clear call to action that moves people to their next discipleship moment.
The Weather Report
Okay, this one’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine.
You know that host who, every time they get up, starts with a weather report for the weekend.
“Man, it’s cold out there today.” “Wow, it’s really sunny outside.” “Gee, I think it might rain this afternoon.”
This verbal tick has its place in wanting to connect with the audience. Its heart is in the right place. Using this verbal crutch is simply a way of establishing common ground with the people that are listening.
The problem is that if the host repeats this time and again, week in, week out, it becomes boring, staid.
It’s the same when that one host gets up every weekend and gives a commentary on what’s happening with their favorite sports team.
It’s a verbal cue that tells the audience that the next few minutes are going to be completely irrelevant to them, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they stop paying attention.
The way to avoid this verbal tick is to provide active coaching to the people who host your weekend services.Provide them with a clear framework rather than simply letting them get up there and do whatever they want. Active coaching can help avoid such verbal ticks, which are distracting and ultimately derail the weekend hosting experience.
The Second (or Third) Fiddle
This has to do with the host’s mindset.
Some people think that hosting the weekend service announcements are not that important.
In fact, it can feel like a demeaning task, like they’ve been given a junior varsity role when really, they want to be playing in the big leagues by giving the sermon during the service.
If your people feel this way, it’s because you’re not clearly communicating how important this aspect is to the service.
I believe that it’s time to raise the value of this aspect of our services. We need to see the announcements as a critical piece of what the church is doing on any given weekend and make a concerted effort to provide energy, feedback, and direction to our church leaders as they lead these critical five minutes of our services.
I’m personally fired up about improving the hosting aspect of what we do as a church. It is not a minor part of what we do, but critically important as we really try to build the community and momentum as a ministry.
The Sweaty Palms
This is the opposite of the last point. The communicator that’s up on stage doing the announcements feels a tremendous amount of responsibility because of these five minutes.
There’s nothing worse than a nervous communicator spreading that nervousness to the entire audience. This can create all kinds of problems for the rest of the service.
Often lead pastors or whoever speaks on a regular basis at your church and doesn’t do a good job coaching people with sweaty palms because they’ve done it so often that they don’t need to think about it very much, and they don’t feel as nervous as the person with sweaty palms does.
The antidote to this is practice. It’s one of those things you need to do time and again, not just in front of a mirror or a coach but in front of an audience. Over time, you will feel a new sense of confidence that will ultimately transition to the people around you.
Another great antidote to this is co-hosting. Rather than putting all the pressure on one person, having multiple people on stage sharing the responsibility is a great way to train people up in this area.
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.