In conversations I’ve had with other communication teams, this really breaks down into 2 questions:
- How do you decide what to announce from the stage during service?
- How do you tell someone that you’re not going to announce their event?
I’ll answer each one individually as far as the filters that we use at Life Church.
What do you announce from the stage?
We filter our announcements based on 3 criteria:
- Does it apply to 75% of people or more? (this could be service schedule change, guest speaker, holiday hours at the office, upcoming church-wide event, etc.)
- Is it something new or outside of the usual schedule? (a ladies conference, a new small group, VBS, a change in online giving, etc.)
- Do we have less than 5 things to announce this service? (We have a saying: “If everything is important, then nothing is important.” If you announce 8 or 10 things, it’s very likely the people who need to hear important information are tuning you out because it’s mixed in with information they don’t need to hear. Recently I visited a friend’s church. The person doing announcements read everything in the bulletin for the week and month as their announcement time. I don’t remember any of it, except he started with a joke.
We usually do 3 announcements during the “Mid-Service” announcements (sometimes live and sometimes video) and then 2 at the end. The 2 at the end are usually the “immediate response” information – ie. register in the foyer on your way out, see you for a special service this Wednesday, etc.
If we have less than 5 things that meet criteria 1 or 2, then often we’ll fill those slots with things that are important to our core values, but don’t meet 1 & 2.
If we have more than 5 things that meet criteria 1 & 2, then we cut down to 5… this leads perfectly into question 2:
How do you tell someone you’re not going to announce their event?
The easiest way to tell someone that their event won’t be in the announcements is to let them know ahead of time what your criteria is (so they can figure out for themselves if it’s worth asking) and then paint a picture for them of all of the different ways they can still spread the message about their event without it being in the announcements.
Paint the picture that their event is important and we don’t want it to get lost in the shuffle… I use the example that if I go to the grocery store and my wife asks me to pick up more than 3 things, I need a list. That 4th thing may be really important, but I’ve probably forgotten. That’s why we stick with 3 announcements in the middle of service.
So, the married couples over 70 sky diving weekend may be a really important event to someone. It may be the way that a couple connects with someone who leads them to salvation.
I’m not down-playing the importance of the opportunity by not announcing it from stage, but I’m saying there are better ways to connect directly with the people who may be interested.
(…and by the way, if we only have 4 things to announce next weekend, I would be happy to make this the 5th announcement.)
In the mean time, here are some other promotion options that you can choose when you submit an event request form:
- Image on the 20 minute countdown clock pre-service in the Foyer, Worship Center & Duplicated on the digital signage rotating for 30 minutes after service
- Facebook / Twitter / Instagram Scheduled Posts
- Information printed in the Church Bulletin
- Website Calendar
- Add it to “Upcoming Events” TV above the Information Kiosk
- Weekly email newsletter to all members
Opportunities you can utilize directly to connect with your group:
- Provide handouts to your current group members and those you meet in church that may enjoy your event
- Use your personal email address to send out an image and event information to people who may be interested in your contacts (include people who may not attend our church who may be interested).
- Post information on your personal social media channels
- At this event, hand out information for your next event
What is your experience with announcements and alternatives? Let us know in the comments below!