April 9, 2008
I am going to spend a brief time on a worship issue this morning. Okay, it’s not that exciting – it’s the place and purpose of the announcements. Maybe that’s part of the problem. It should be exciting! It should help us move forward as we meet with God. I often feel a loss of momentum when I take the handoff from announcements. I can feel the energy being sucked from the room. The best announcers (I prefer to call them hosts) intentionally capture a heart for what God is doing among us and how we can be a part of it. I think that a few clear goals and some intentional planning before delivering the announcements will make a huge difference in making them an integral part of our worship gathering.
I usually begin the worship service with the invitation to meet with God. Our opening song and prayer centers us on God and is carefully chosen to include as many as possible in coming along. It is important to invite people from their individual context of worship into the corporate sense that we are a people meeting together for a purpose. I propose that the hand off to our announcement time pick up the ‘together’ theme and draw us further in, centering us on our God and evidence of his work among us. It should be 4 to 5 minutes long at most and it should communicate the following:
- “This is a great family and we want you to be a part of it!” – We must warmly and sincerely welcome people to the worship service and specifically welcome guests to our church family. Everything said in this time should indicate a real desire for them to join our family. This includes an encouragement to connect with us at the welcome center. (1 minute)
- “We are going somewhere exciting!” – We are a church that is moving toward God and his mission/purpose for our lives. We are in the middle of [current sermon series or focus]. Mention a specific thing coming up that people can be a part of. Encourage them to look at the worship folder for many other opportunities. (1 – 2 minutes)
- “Look at what God is doing!” – This is the time to brag on God (bring a Hallelujah). This could be a report of something He’s doing among us. It could be a quick interview with someone (who is adequately prepared and coached). It might be a faith story or a video recap of an event. When appropriate, it should include a prayer of thanksgiving and a request for God to continue his work among us. NOTE: This section could come anywhere in the service, but the announcer/host should allude to it and wet people’s appetite for where we are going. (2 – 3 minutes)
Then I would take the hand off moving us further in, fixing our eyes on the One at work among us, marveling at who he is and what he is doing. Everything is moving toward the moment where receive instruction from God’s word … and then the response afterwards … but that I shall save for another time.