Make your ministry announcements better: Tips that boost action
You’ve finally confirmed the dates of the upcoming youth mission trip and want to make sure everybody in the congregation hears the announcement.
While your goal is to get others to respond to a ministry opportunity, the actual result may be that the message is getting lost amid a plethora of other church business.
This article about preaching announcements is full of wise nuggets to keep people tuned in. This one stuck out:
“Ministry announcements need a firm basis in scripture, and sermons need more practical application.”
Robert Carnes supports the oft-debated idea that churches need to stop making announcements — suggesting instead that they be preached. “Announcements and sermons are more effective and memorable when they support one another,” he writes.
Making announcements, Carnes contends, isn’t promotion for promotion’s sake but rather providing a context through your message for your ministries or events. If an activity is scriptural and worthy of support by your church, then it merits being integrated within the sermon.
As Carnes asks, when is there a more compelling time to announce an upcoming mission trip than during a sermon about global outreach? What better setting to encourage the congregation to care for an ill member than when you are preaching on Matthew 25:35-45?
So, how to begin?
Learn as much as you can about content marketing and follow these four steps:
- Find a contextual hook to include the activity in your sermon by considering what drew you to it in the first place. What spiritual need does it fill? Whom does it serve? How can the faith of members grow from it?
- Think about topics and events around which to build your sermon’s content. If you follow the lectionary, plan your sermon first. Then have a look at the church’s calendar. See anything that intersects?
- Remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words. A storytelling testimonial on video is worth about 10,000. A testimonial from someone helped by your ministry, whether in person, video or by Skype, manifoldly reinforces your call to action.
- Simplify. Don’t get lost in the trees of overproduction or too many adjectives and exclamation marks, forgetting that all anyone really needs to know is what, when, where and why.
Most of us are trying to find ways to practice what’s preached, and outside ministries offer an opportunity. Go ahead and tell your congregation what’s going on and how they can put their faith to work. Using the tips above will ensure the message is heard.
Your turn: How do you “do” announcements? What’s worked for you?
— Jane Massey fell into a deep sleep during a particularly long announcement. In her waking hours, she is email marketing specialist and advertising manager at UMCom.