Jason Moore says churches should stop beginning their worship with boring announcements and instead give worshipers an overview of what’s coming and why it matters to them. Announcements can be reframed as action steps flowing from the theme of the sermon and presented at the end of the service.
One common way we start worship often goes like this: An opening song is played, and then someone steps to the mic and says:
Good morning, welcome to worship. We’re so glad you’re here. Let me tell you about what’s happening in the life of our church. First, our women’s group is meeting on Zoom on Monday night at 6:00 p.m. If you’re a woman in our church, we hope you’ll sign up to participate. Next, some of our youth will be heading to summer camp this summer. We’re conducting a bake sale to raise money to help them cover the costs. If you’re a baker, be sure bring something in next week.…
Are you bored yet? I am and I wrote these announcements.
Tell worshipers why they should invest their time and attention.
I’d like to invite you to stop beginning your worship experience with the least compelling thing you have to offer — the announcements. Instead, give worshipers both online and in-person a “return on investment” — what they will get if they invest their time with you. Answer that right up front. Give people online a reason to stay. Tell them what’s coming. Share a rundown of what’s to come rather than starting with a bunch of boring information.
Instead of starting with the least compelling thing you have to offer, hook them right off the bat. It might go something like this:
Hello and welcome to worship. My name is Jason and I serve on the worship team here at Acme Church. We’re glad you’re here. We’re in the middle of a series entitled “Finding Your Faith in a Season of Fear.” In week one we talked about what fear is and why we feel it. In week two we talked about facing our fear through scripture. Today we’re talking about praying through our fear. We’re so glad you’ll be joining us. Over the next 40 minutes, we’ll worship together in song, pray together, hear some inspiring scripture, and you’ll experience a message of hope that will help you face whatever fears you may be dealing with in your life right now. We invite you to lean in and fully participate. Let’s worship the God who is with us in all that we face!
And then you might go into a time of singing, prayer, scripture, sermon, and anything else that you might regularly do.
From announcements to action steps
Now, let me boldly suggest a major change. If it is your practice to do announcements at the beginning of worship, stop doing announcements. That’s right. Stop doing announcements. Instead, move that info to the end, and reimagine it in the form of action steps. Craft language so that info fits your topic of the day.
When you do this, those opportunities begin to feel like an extension of the sermon, and they give people something to do next. They feel like they have purpose.
Here’s what that might look like. After the sermon, as the last thing you do, you might do something like this (and this could be a pastor, or it could be a layperson):
I hope over the last 40 minutes you’ve found what you needed to face the fears that are before you. Friends, we’re a church that actively finds our faith in many ways. I want to give you two opportunities to live into what we’ve been talking about today. First, our women’s group is meeting online on Monday night. I can’t think of a better way to face our fears and build our faith than to do so in relationship with others. I hope if you’re a woman in our church you’ll participate in this uplifting gathering. Second, we have some young people in this church who are hoping to go to summer camp in July. Camp is a great place to find and strengthen faith. Junior high and high school represent a season of life that involves a decent amount of fear. From school pressure to peer pressure, Covid concerns, and more. Our young people are in the thick of it. To send our kids to camp, we’re going to have a bake sale fundraiser. All the proceeds will go to raise money to pay for camp for our kids.”
Do you see what I did there? These are no longer announcements; they’re actions steps that feel intentional and are rooted in the big idea of the day.
Stop starting with announcements (something very easy to turn off) and start doing action steps (something that establishes what’s next). Announcements don’t have to be a burden to the flow or your service, they can be an opportunity to live into the fullness of one’s faith.
Excerpted from Both/And: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences for In-Person and Online Engagement (Invite Press, 2022) by Jason Moore. Used by permission. The book is available at Invite Press and Amazon.
- Eight Reasons People Aren’t Listening to Announcements by Rich Birch
- Leaders Learn the Art of Making Announcements by Kem Meyer
- Boring Announcements? Try Fun Video Announcements by Laura Heikes
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