Texas pastor Laura Heikes shares how weekly worship announcements in her church went from being a boring ritual to a source of life and joy when different people from the community were asked to deliver the announcements via video.
When you think of announcements, what comes to mind? Glazed expressions? Last minute requests? A list so long it hurts?
Now imagine your congregation rushing to find seats so they won’t miss the announcements. Imagine announcements that help your people meet their community. Weekly announcements, former bane of my pastoral responsibility, have become a source of life and joy at my church. How? We learned to use our cell phones. And we asked all kinds of different people from our community to deliver the announcements.
For the first time in ministry, I hear laughter and true joy when the announcements come on. And we are getting to know our neighbors by asking them to help us.
One week, I decided to try recording the announcements prior to the service and running them as a video. I’m not tech savvy, but it took me about ten minutes to recruit a few people and ten minutes more to stitch their videos together with a free app on my phone. My people love it. They see their friends, neighbors, and even folks they haven’t met. Announcements have become a tool that invites our people into the community.
If you’d like to use video announcements, here’s how:
1. Get to know your phone
Spend about ten minutes doing a tutorial on your phone’s movie making capabilities. You can trim videos to omit awkward starts and endings or piece two videos together. You can add smooth transitions, even background music.
2. Make a list of announcements for the coming Sunday
You likely have an aspect that is announced each week (welcome, attendance, etc.) and no more than two or three announcements specific to what’s coming up in the life of your church.
3. Think creatively about who could deliver each announcement
The local police department? The teachers at the elementary school next door? College students from the university in town? One week, the school mascot presented our church announcements. Other announcements came from the feed store, bank, coffee shop. We’ve visited a fitness boot camp and the local fire department. All have been happy to help.
4. Write out what you’d like the announcers to say
Consider using bullet points so your presenters don’t stumble. Make sure you tell them why it’s important. Don’t say, “We need volunteers to stock the food pantry…” Say, “Would you like to help a family who is struggling to make ends meet? With one hour at the food pantry…”
5. Share the love
Consider inviting members of the church to produce announcements. One man in our church who travels on business has filmed our announcements using passengers in the airport! Another asked her neighbors. Still another recruited musicians during a week’s worth of gigs. Not only are you sharing leadership in worship with your people, you’re encouraging everyone to know their community.
For the first time in ministry, I hear laughter and true joy when the announcements come on. There are no more last minute add-ons because the videos have been filmed in advance. Best of all, we are getting to know our neighbors by asking them to help us.
- Eight Reasons People Aren’t Listening to Announcements by Rich Birch
- Leaders Learn the Art of Making Announcements by Kem Meyer
- The First Two Minutes of Worship by Brian Bauknight