Our Church Banned Announcements. Yes, I’m Serious.

Our Church Banned Announcements. Yes, I’m Serious.

October 3, 2018 by

Our church banned announcements about one-year ago. Yes, I’m serious. Yes, we still get people to sign-up for stuff, in fact, we’re doing better than ever. Admittedly, when we first talked about the idea I got looks from folks on our team that implied they thought I was a bit crazy for suggesting this concept. Communicators should want to communicate, right? I don’t think so. Not our kind of communicators anyway.

You see, what I really want more than anything, is to see Jesus-led life change. I think you do too. I hope that’s why you’re reading this. God’s wired us to care a lot about words and transferring information in a clear way, but you could do that in a corporate setting. Why are you doing it at a church? Because what we have to communicate is better and different. So now what?

Do better and do different. Ban announcements.

How We Got There

You want the nitty gritty? Here’s what lead up to our decision. Make a mental note of how many of these ring true for your church.

  • Announcements weren’t working. They became white noise during the service and people tuned out. How do we know? People weren’t activating.
  • Announcements aren’t inspiring. People are bombarded with logistics and information all day every day. That’s not why they come to church. They come to church to feel something and be a part of something different.
  • Announcements aren’t the only option. The digital revolution has put countless tools at the fingertips of church communicators and many are low or no-cost options. (A few options include: websites, email, Facebook groups, Facebook events, social media posts, apps, cards on chairs, and even snail mail.) The idea we need to keep making announcements because it’s ‘what we’ve always done’ as a part of the service is a dis-service to your people. We need to use the right tool at the right time to reach the right segment of people.

What’s Next

So now what? Just because you give up announcements doesn’t mean you stop communicating (she writes with a glimmer in her eye). Here’s where God can really use your gifts to have a kingdom impact.

Start sharing stories of Jesus-led life change.

The local church is the only place that can share these stories in an authentic, intimate, and real way. You have a huge opportunity to show the people who walk through your doors what God can do when they keep walking through your doors. That is powerful stuff. That is what we should be communicating. I truly believe that when we inspire people and give them something they cannot get anywhere else, they will activate on their own. They will seek out the logistical information and sign up, because they want some of the “secret sauce” that they see and hear are happening at your church.

What It Looks Like

How did we do this at The Ridge Community Church? We scrapped announcements and crafted something dubbed ‘vision moments.’ We use stories of Jesus-led life change to show God at work, and we do it in a way that we hope inspires people to take action. You can collect stories via word-of-mouth, emails, or even a quick online form. Here are a few examples of vision moments we’ve done recently:

  • We used live hosts with young kids (grade school) at each campus to talk about why they liked our Ridge Kids ministry. The kids talked about their small groups, having adults listen to them, learning about Jesus, and then we mentioned our Ridge Kids ministry was looking for new team members to serve over the summer. The result? A record level of response and sign-ups.
  • An email came in about a guy’s change from skeptic to believer. This guy did a complete 180-degree turn and joined a group, got baptized and began serving. We asked if we could read his email. He did us one better and he shared his story. He then transitioned into a time of offering by thanking those who were giving when he first started attending and said he was excited to give because he felt God would use it to bring more people to our church this fall. (This was one of my all-time favorite moments.)
  • We have used several quick 60-second cell phone videos to help a live host share baptism and group stories as we pushed people to consider if that is a step they’re ready to take. Collecting the videos became easy after we created a quick tutorial email. Feel free to use it as a jumping off point if it would help your church.
  • B-roll of our people participating in a Habitat for Humanity build allowed us to share the story of the mom moving into the finished home with her two children and two foster kids. We talked about biblical encouragement and asked people to write her cards that she could read once she moved in and felt a bit overwhelmed. We bundled them up and got to deliver them to her to show her our support in a unique way.

Different & Better

I know the logistics of making a change like this may seem daunting. Let me to encourage you by saying for us, the effort and the change has been more than worth it. It feels great to see examples of God at work in our church, and he is using those stories to inspire other people into action as they walk their own faith journey. I can’t tell you how much new energy this has brought to services and our community.

Being better and different isn’t an accident. I believe it’s something we’re called to when we agree to answer God and serve as church communicators. Why would we need to write our own announcements when his stories at work within the people of our churches are right there for the sharing? Get out of his way and see what happens next.

More:

We’ve shared all kinds of resources for better announcements with our Courageous Storytellers members. Consider joining to get access to these resources, as well as an ever-expanding archive. Join today.

Post By:

Jodi Tonarelli


Jodi Tonarelli leads the teams that aim to create a dynamic, engaging, and relatable weekend experience at The Ridge Community Church, including the areas of communications, creative arts, tech, and guest services. She’s passionate about producing high-quality results on tight timelines, innovation, and those hair-on-end moments that make you know you got it right.
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