I have an announcement to make: I love announcement time.
Really, I do! I wouldn't want to worship without it. But I know so many church leaders who treat announcement time as a waste of time, a necessary evil.
They'll call attention to a few blurbs in the bulletin or cringe their way through "live" announcements from various church members. Then they'll sigh with relief when the actual worshipping God part can begin.
I get where they're coming from. When information is already available in the bulletin, why waste time repeating it again, right? And while some people may offer a helpful or necessary "live" announcement, others may speak awkwardly or off topic, threatening to derail a service before it's begun.
No wonder so many church leaders think worship and announcements are like oil and water. But what if announcement time turned out to be a vital part of the worship experience?
Calling Together The Body
We may think people remember that they are part of the Body of Christ, but even the most active member can lose sight of the Big Picture from time to time. Everything we do as a church, from worship services to bake sales, we do as the Body. Our job at announcement time is to connect the dots between the mission of the church and the events on the calendar.
Reminding the congregation about an important event offers a personal invitation to each person to participate, assuring each member that their presence is vital as part of the Body of Christ.
Likewise, this is a time when the whole church can feel ownership of its various ministries. Taking a second to "cheerlead" the youth group's upcoming mission project reminds your flock that this is not some side project by a few, but an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to be celebrated by all.
Announcements remind us that we are members of an active, far-reaching Body.
Rubber Meets The Road
Practicing discipleship means putting our faith into action. We strive to show this in many ways through worship, but the announcement time is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we talk specifics of how we're being deployed as Christians, together. Our job, as leaders, is to reflect the excitement that comes from doing in God's name.
Mission projects, charity events, special gatherings, community needs. All these are opportunities worth championing, and certainly worthy of worship.
The same is true for financial concerns, building repairs, the need for Sunday school teachers, etc. In these and other cases, the congregation needs a gifted leader to remind them of the important spiritual underpinnings as well as the concrete ways they can participate.
Announcements encourage us to be devoted disciples.
A couple suggestions
You probably don't let just anybody step up and preach a sermon, so treat announcement time with that same respect. It really does matter what is said and who is saying it.
This is valuable "shepherd" time, if you treat it accordingly. It's okay to be particular about what gets announced, and by whom. You're in charge of the flow.
It's okay to say "No" to an announcement. If you can't find a spiritual rationale, chances are it's not worth taking the time to share. That said, it's probably unavoidable that a few more trivial items will slip through from time to time.
Speaking of time, you do have some other rather important parts of worship ahead of you, so there's no need to draw things out past what's most pertinent. And since you've got a sermon coming up, no need to wax too philosophically, either.
Really, if all you do is remind the congregation that what happens inside the sanctuary is spiritually connected to what happens outside, you've extended the umbrella of worship to the whole life of the Church. You've conveyed the message that everything we do is for the glory of God.
Remember, announcement time may never be your favorite part of worship...
Mitch Todd is an ordained United Methodist pastor, serving a satellite congregation in Kansas. A former campus minister, his background is in music, writing, leadership, and preaching. He has been sending out weekly devotions for more than a decade.
"Many people in ministry are so afraid of conflict that they won't respond to e-mails or phone messages if they have an answer they think you might not like. So all you get is silence, which frustrates you and sets the stage for the …