Regardless of the size, worship style or technology use of your church, writing announcements is a vital communication function. And because department heads or ministry leaders tend to either give you too much or not enough information to promote their event, writing announcements is a chronically challenging task.
People typically try to make announcements sound as exciting as possible by embellishing it with as many adjectives and adverbs as they can. I did. The resulting copy usually ends up being a difficult to navigate set of churchy dribble. Here’s an example:
If you are married or planning to get married the Renewed Marriage Seminar is for you and your spouse. Join our senior pastor and his wife, John and Jane Smith, for this incredible time of renewal and refreshing in your marriage. Having been married 20 years, they will be teaching marriage principles from the Bible as well as from their own experiences. The registration fee is $35 which includes study materials, lunch and snacks. Childcare will be provided. The seminar is on March 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The seminar will be in the fellowship hall. Lunch and refreshments will be served in the atrium. Register at the table in the atrium after the service or call Dorothy at the church office.
Compounded with the rest of the churchy dribble in the bulletin, it all becomes noise that collectively scream “Ignore me!”
A Better Way
I am not a gifted writer. It takes me longer than most people to organize thoughts into words. Considering the volume of announcements and how much energy and time it takes to manage and write them, I had to figure out a way to do it more effectively and efficiently. I developed a basic format/template that not only simplified the process but has made our announcements significantly more clear and meaningful. Taken the above example, this is how the announcement would look after applying my template.
Renewed Marriage Seminar // Saturday, March 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. // Fellowship Hall // Pastor John and Jane Smith are leading the seminar. You can register for $35 (includes materials, lunch and childcare) in the atrium or by contacting Dorothy at 555-555-1234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some key thoughts behind this format:
- Placing the what, when and where upfront makes it easy for people to find key information they need to know as opposed to navigating through sentences to figure out the basic information about an event.
- This format shaved off significant time in writing copy for me.
- It streamlined the communication process of capturing the information needed to promote events from announcement requesters.
- Putting the day of the week before the date is a good rule to follow. It is easier for people to make scheduling decisions when they know what day of the week an event is.
- The main purpose of announcements is to get someone to respond to the opportunity. Stating the call-to-action clearly is a must.
This is one of the simplest free solutions I implemented with optimal pay off. Hope it works for you.
We’re thrilled to partner with Creative Missions (our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication, handles the Creative Missions finances). Learn more about Creative Missions and this year’s trip to Alaska and consider a financial donation to help church communicators help other churches communicate better.
For more helpful tips like this, check out Getting Started in Church Communication: Copy Matters. It’s a guide to writing and editing for church communicators.