I grew up in the church and by my calculation, I’ve heard 10,931 church announcements, or thereabouts. I only remember one of them. Why did I only remember that one? Before I give you the answer, I must confess that for me announcements are often the most boring part of a service, yet mostly necessary. I’ve felt more stress from having to give them than when I’ve had to speak. I dislike giving announcements. I guess I don’t like them because I sometimes see most people’s eyes glaze over during announcement time. So why did I remember the one I referred to?
It happened when I served in California over ten years ago. I took a staycation and visited a few local churches since I didn’t have to attend my church the Sunday of that week. One church I visited met in a simple warehouse. About ten minutes into the service a man walked on stage with a microphone in one hand and a hotdog in another. He made a couple of announcements between bites. Then another guy walked up on stage with a mike and a hotdog. They began a dialogue about the church hotdog cookout that followed. I’ll never forget that creative announcement. Even as I write this post I’m getting hungry for a hotdog.
Although these two guys probably didn’t have the brain in mind when they made that announcement, they illustrated a basic rule of attention. The brain pays attention when expectations get violated. I expected the normal talking head to make announcements. But my brain was made more attentive because what I expected didn’t happen.
This simple brain concept not only applies to announcements, but to our sermons as well.
So, if you believe announcements are important and you want people to remember them, violate the people’s expectations. Here are a few simple ideas to incorporate into your announcements.
- Novelty (make them from a different location in your auditorium, use video, etc.)
- Surprise (mix up when during the service you make them, have separate people in the congregation stand up and make them, etc.)
- Humor (the key to humor is a surprise)
- Object lessons/show and tell (i.e., like the hotdog)
What ideas have helped your announcements become more sticky?
© Article copyright Charles Stone. Charles has been a pastor for forty years in the US and Canada and has been married 41 years. He has authored seven books, and his writing has appeared over 350 times on leading Christian leadership websites. He has earned four degrees and is currently completing his PhD.. His current book is If Jesus Gave a TED Talk: 8 neuroscience principles the Master Teacher used to persuade His audience (2021, Freiling Publishing). www.charlesstone.com