Announcements, Bulletins, and When to Say No

Can you announce that the mission team is having a barbeque fundraiser this Saturday? The ladies quilting group won’t be able to meet next week either. Make sure to get that in the bulletin. Oh and by the way, last Sunday you forgot to mention that the Richardsons had their new baby here for the first time. Now they’re upset and will probably never come back. This is the communication nightmare that happens in far too many small town churches.

Today, I want to give you permission to say no.

For years, the church I serve heard these types of comments and suggestions.

Each time we would scramble to get every little detail in the bulletin and make every announcement that someone thought necessary. And you know what? We still didn’t please everyone.

Not only that, the more announcements we made, the less people attended the events we were announcing.

So, we made a decision. No longer would everything get promoted equally. The staff would decide what was worth promoting from the stage, in the bulletin, on social media, and through any other avenue we might use.

This did two things.

  1. It ticked people off.
  2. It helped us focus on accomplishing our vision.

You see, it’s impossible to please everyone and accomplish the vision God has given you at the same time.

If you don’t prioritize what you’re communicating, you’re failing to lead.

I know that’s harsh, but you know it’s true. You can’t treat everything the same.

When you try, you’re actually hurting the chances of getting people to engage in the ministry.

I can’t place the same priority on announcing sign up to be baptized as I do on announcing sign up to join the church softball team.

Does that tick the coach off? Maybe, if they’re more concerned about winning games than they are about seeing people go public with their faith.

If that’s the case, you probably need to get a new coach.

But what you’ll find more often than not is, if you are willing to have the conversation to explain why something isn’t getting announced, most people will understand.

If they don’t, it just shows that they’re more concerned with their event than the mission of the church.

Today, we have a generic bulletin that welcomes people to our church and doubles as our connection card.

The majority of Sundays we have one announcement, except during very busy seasons when we’ll have two.

These announcements always center around the vision of the church and apply to either new guests or at least 50% of the congregation.

If it doesn’t fit those criteria, it may get put on the screen that scrolls before service starts, or on social media, or on nothing at all.

The easy thing to do would be to avoid tough conversations and let anyone promote anything.

If you care about being a leader and reaching a vision, you have to prioritize the important.

What gets announced in your church, and who makes that decision? Let us know be leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church leadership, growth, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

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7 thoughts on “Announcements, Bulletins, and When to Say No

  1. I love this idea. our bulletin is crammed full of announcements each week, sometimes more than a dozen different things. So… what criteria do you use to determine where something gets announced? Is there an actual “list” of priorities that you use, or do you take everything on a case by case basis?

    • Jeff, thanks for the comment. We’ve done away with our bulletin at this point. So, our announcements either happen on stage or online. We limit stage announcements to no more than 2-3 a week, but prefer to keep that number as low as possible. Criteria is it has to apply to at least 50% of the audience, or it’s something major that we’re making an exception for. Hope that helps.

  2. I’m trying to share this with a friend who is our communications director but can’t get it to share from my iPad. She’s not part of the FB group, but I’ve told her about it so she may be joining soon.

    We are so struggling with this:

    You see, it’s impossible to please everyone and accomplish the vision God has given you at the same time.

    Our church is going through some difficult transitions – one pastor retired, two others resigned. They don’t know what their vision is and are struggling to discover it. In the meantime, they are all about pleasing everyone, and pleasing no one in the process. I’m seriously discouraged and burned out. I’m the bookkeeper and it is increasingly difficult to view my job as ministry and not just a job any longer.

    • Teri, thanks for the comment. Believe me I feel your pain. I went through a few years like that as well. Not with the pastor transitions, but with having to deal with people who didn’t want to change. Luckily I survived and lived to tell about it. Hopefully you’ll have the same story. If you enjoy reading, I highly recommend picking up one of Bob Goff’s books, Love Does or Everybody Always. There’s something about reading about someone who’s trying to be like Jesus that helps give me a renewed since of purpose. Maybe it will be the same for you.