Announcements: A Terrible Death to Die
I remember my first church family camp, the Ohio Meadville Summer Institute. At the end of the morning worship, one of the planning committee members would go up to the podium and start singing:
Announcements, Announcements, An-NOW-ounce-ments! A terrible death to die, a terrible death to die, A terrible death, a terrible death, a terrible death to die. Announcements, Announcements, An-NOW-ounce-ments!
I visit a lot of different congregations in my work, and occasionally this hits a little too close to home! Fortunately, I also have had other experiences.
I was at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church last Sunday where the co-ministers announced that the announcements for that Sunday were going to be the last. The Rev. Kathleen Rolenz announced the change and the Rev. Wayne Arnison articulated the discomfort that such a change will create. How will people know what is going on? How will we get more Sunday School teachers if we don't ask from the pulpit? How will we let people know that our pledge payments have dropped off over the summer, and we need folks to catch up?
Rich Birch at unSeminary points out in his article 8 Reasons People Aren't Listening to your Announcements that announcements are counter-productive. Our goal is to get people's attention, but instead we get their eyes to glaze over. The "added noise" of the announcements may actually interfere with the effectiveness of the transformative message that our worship team has worked so hard to provide. What is our core purpose, to change lives or to staff the rummage sale?
Of course, re-thinking how we communicate to our members will require patience and creativity on the part of congregational leaders. I think you are up to the challenge! Please share your ideas of how you communicate more effectively!