Giving notice

I was a little bit surprised that so many people spoke out in defense of announcements at church. I want to be clear that I’m talking about things that are generally covered in the “news” section of a church bulletin, and hopefully these days the church’s website and Facebook page*.

Announcements are dead wood. They should be cut. Like a pine forest. They should just be printed on literal dead wood.

I don’t buy into the whole “seeker sensitive” style service where everything is run for visitors and the people who are part of the church family are ignored. But if you’re spending 10 minutes reading out the handout that everybody is holding already** that’s 10 minutes of wasted time. You could, though I wouldn’t, fit three more songs or one long prayer in that time. There are myriad things that can be done in ten minutes that are more beneficial to church life than boring advertisements for things that are no doubt already boringly described in your boring newsletter.

You know what happens when church is boring – people fall out of windows and die. And Paul isn’t going to pop in and resurrect the poor souls that expire during your overly long promo of the church working bee.

* Here are some great tips from Mikey for how churches (and in fact any organisation) should use Facebook. He’s much better equipped than me to comment on this matter… I’ve only got 27 fans on my Facebook fan page after a week of relentless self promotion… you could become one now. It would make me feel special…

Here are some more Facebook friendly resources I found through Church Marketing Sucks… an e-book called “Facebook for Pastors” and a set of general principles on using Facebook for your business.

**And while I’m on that note – what’s with churches (not just ours, though it’s guilty here) being so miserly about the number of handouts they print. One per couple? Per day? Are you serious? My attendance isn’t worth 5 cents to you? You’re expecting me to “give generously” when the offering comes around and yet I have to share the handout…

I also miss handouts with sermon outlines written in them.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the pastor of City South Presbyterian Church, a church in Brisbane, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus. If you'd like to support his writing financially you can do that by giving to his church.

7 thoughts on “Giving notice”

  1. You now have 28 fans :)

    People are lazy and need to be spoon fed. If the church has something particularly important that they want people to know, it's much safer to say it from the pulpit AND write it in the handout.

  2. When I was teaching, we had a staff briefing every morning. The staff briefing would consist of reading through the printed notices that we had already been given. I found ways to avoid going. (I also wrote choral arrangements during staff meetings.)

    I don't mind only get one bit of paper. I hate when there are too many bits of paper given to me.

  3. I also think that you have to cater for different types of people . Some people learn and remember better by listening, some by reading.

  4. Pretty sure you're quite welcome to take an additional announcements hand-out if you want.

    And I don't find the announcements boring. Often the announcements time includes things that aren't mentioned in the hand-out and can get a bit of a laugh out of people depending what's being discussed.

    1. The fact that people on the door even ask if you've got one already, or presume that you're happy to share (though I normally am) is problematic. Also, the fact that we run out every week suggests we're not printing enough…

  5. We don't have handouts. That's probably because we're pretty ad hoc as it is. Ad hoc churches are awesome and keep us humble I reckon. Like, when church is cancelled because the visiting Romanian church needs the room that we use, and they only found out on the Saturday, but didn't have our email yet so we tried to understand a Romanian / German service instead. Or like when the Pastor's imminently pregnant wife needs to go home so we just sing songs. And when the pastor is preaching in a second language anyway, you need to learn not to get caught up in things like whether to print or announce things.

    1. "And when the pastor is preaching in a second language anyway, you need to learn not to get caught up in things like whether to print or announce things."

      That doesn't make decisions surrounding those things unimportant though…

      And given that my whole point is that we should be cutting out the clutter in order to better focus on what's important I think you're actually agreeing with me… despite your comment on the previous post that suggests (though it may be tongue in cheek) that announcements are an act/form of worship.

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