How would it feel if your church announcements actually inspired a response from the congregation? And what does it take?
In today’s show Dave and Justin interview Adam Mclaughlin to discover if video announcements are really better than live, how to get and keep people’s attention, and how to make signing up for events a whole lot easier for your congregation.
About Our Guest: Adam Mclaughlin
Adam’s a guy who loves Slurpees, pokes at computers, and loves Jesus. He’s still learning so we gave him a shot.
Adam oversees Marketing and communications at Life Church in Fort Myers, Florida. On the side, he helps other church communications teams by blogging at adammclaughlin.net where you can download his latest ebook!
Video or Live Church Announcements?
In Adam’s world, variety is the spice of life…and Adam’s a jalapeno.
For that reason, Adam’s church does a mix of live announcements and video announcements to keep things interesting. When people don’t know what they’re going to see on a Sunday they don’t automatically tune announcements out.
Getting people to respond to your church announcements is more important than using a green screen, scenic background, or even perfect audio levels. At the end of the day, people should remember the announcement, not the video editing quality.
The temptation is to dress up our church video announcements with fancy graphics and effects. Remember, the most important part of the announcements are the announcements, not the effects.
So whatever you’re doing to create your announcements, your initial goal has to be inspiring a response. Anything that could distract people from taking action has to go.
So to really succeed with church announcements, don’t focus or spend too many resources on the medium. Do what your resources allow and focus on the content.
Choosing Your Announcements
Adam’s church maxes out at 5 announcements. One at the beginning of service, three during the “announcement time” mid-service, and one at the end that requires a direct call to action.
What should you announce? Only what applies to 75% or more people in the seats at that moment.
We have to get away from the perspective that if something’s not announced on Sunday morning, then nobody’s going to come. That’s false!
If you bombard someone with 7 out of 8 announcements that don’t apply to them, they will miss the one announcement that does. So only announce what applies to the most people in the room.
For the <75% impact announcements, there are many other ways to get the word out.
- Targeted social media ads
- Pre/post service slides
- Small group contacts
- Write a post in your church blog
Your Why Is More Important Than The What
Say you’re having a children’s campout. Which of the following announcements compel you to take action?
- If you’re on our kid’s team or want to be on our kid’s team you can join us next Saturday night at 7 pm. We’re going to have s’mores. So if your name starts with A – M bring marshmallows. If your name starts with N – Z then bring graham crackers. We’ll provide the chocolate. And don’t forget your bug spray!
- At Life Church, one of our core values is loving relationships. And we have an opportunity to build friendships and relationships next Saturday with our kid’s team. If you’d like to be a part of the team, stop by our information center to RSVP, and they’ll have all the information for you.
Notice the 2nd announcement focuses on the why. The event is happening because of the core value, loving relationships. So even if someone is not interested in the event or it doesn’t apply, they can still have the church’s core value emphasized to them.
Remember that after church your audience will leave to go on with life. No matter how much info you give out during the announcement, people will forget. You have to give them something to remember the details anyway.
So don’t focus on the what of the announcement, make that information available for someone to obtain elsewhere.
Focus on the why. Use your announcements to reinforce your core values and beliefs, and compel people to take action by buying into your vision, not the work involved.
Before you make an announcement, consider the following:
- What core value does your announcement reflect?
- Does your announcement focus on the why more than the what?
Why Aren’t People Signing Up?
Is this you?
- Want to go to the men’s campout? See Jerry in the back
- Want to go to the women’s conference? Go to the desk in the back
- Want to be on the music team? Come see me
- Want to go to youth camp? Go to the website (or worse, go find Jerry in the youth building and get a packet and bring it back with your check)
If people aren’t signing up, it may be because you’re throwing too many calls to action at them.
Or you may be giving an unclear call to action: “Go see Jerry in the back for the softball signup.” Is that announcement actionable? Consider your new visitor that wants to play softball…that call to action pretty much means, “Go ask random guys if their name is Jerry.”
Or consider Starbucks: After you place your order the barista tells you, “You can pick up your drink to the right.” At that moment, you know where to expect your drink. Can you imagine how confusing how confusing it would be if they said, “Carla will have your drink ready.” Or worse, “Your drink will be on the south counter.”
Try to have a single call to action that resonates across all of your announcements that day. For many churches, this is the information desk, or connection center, or whatever you call it. It’s your one-stop shop for follow-up. If Jerry is the guy to talk to about going to the men’s campout, he can be waiting at the information desk.
For your website, use one place for all your next-steps. Life Church has a button on their page for all events and signups.
You can take up another level by offering iPads at your information desk that has your event page always displayed. Then you only have to update one location, your event page.
Upgrade Your Church Announcements With Storytelling
Did you know you can make your announcements memorable with a story?
Your story doesn’t have to tie into your announcement neatly. But you do need a segue that can move you into the announcement.
Once you develop a pattern to telling good stories with your announcements, you’ll develop leverage to get more undivided attention from your audience.
At this point of the show, Justin performed an actual announcement for Adam to critique. Jump to 00:30:33 in the YouTube video at the top to catch the full critique or click here.
When you do utilize storytelling, make sure you consider the following:
- Be sensitive to the flow of worship. Don’t go into joke mode after an emotional time in service.
- Shorten your story as much as possible. Don’t embellish for 10 minutes. Get to the point then make your segue.
- Study and follow great storytellers. Stand-up comedians are excellent studies.
Getting The Staff On Board
In a previous podcast with Church Marketing School, Seth Muse noted that Pastors are great at writing…that’s why they’re great at writing long announcements.
Using this new announcement strategy, you will cut a lot of the fat from announcements that may be handed to you. So how do you build a church culture where you no longer announce the details but focus on the why?
As a fun challenge, grab a flyer for the event and ask the event leader to tell you all the details by memory. Our bet is that even if the leader created the flyer, they won’t be able to tell you all 13 details of the event. If they can’t remember, your audience definitely won’t.
Your job as the announcer is to get people excited for an event. Details don’t get people excited. The why and value behind your event will. If you can get your audience to decide to come to your event, you no longer have to beg them to come.
Sell the why and provide the details after they’re already bought in.
The way people pay attention is shifting, so you need to adapt the way you do announcements.
Focus on why someone should care. Get your audience excited for the event first, then they can get the details at your information center, website, flyer, etc.
Give clear calls to action so your members AND guests know exactly where to go. Leave no room for guessing or assumptions.
Master these 2 basics and throw in some good storytelling to make your announcements stick and get people excited for your events.
To dive deeper into church announcements, check out Adam’s free ebook, Snorkel Fork: The book title is confusing. Your church announcements don’t have to be.
How does this compare to your current church announcements? What are you going to try first? Leave a comment below!