Tag Archives: Church Service

5 Steps to Improving Church Announcements

You know the drill. The youth pastor oftentimes is responsible for church announcements. I get it. It provides face time for other staff members on stage, and a connection with the adult audience. Makes sense. However, church announcements can be a recipe for disaster. Let’s just take a stroll down memory lane to my church internship experience…(cue blurry picture and piano music for the flashback)

It was 10 years ago, and I was asked to announce the dessert fellowship to welcome new members who were recently baptized. Seemed simple enough…that is until I opened my mouth. It went something like this, “For all those that want to be baptized…no wait, we are going to baptize people…nope, dessert will happen after the service over there…you know where the basketball hoops are, what’s that called…

Yep, it was that bad. Sweat was pouring off my face, and I seriously debated sitting back down and asking the senior pastor for a “re-do”. Unfortunately, there are no “re-do’s” in church announcements. Over the years of doing this, there have been a few lessons I’ve learned in the process:announcements-710x325-crop

  1. Write it Down. Sure most blogs on announcements will tell you to not read a paper. While that’s true, it’s important you at least write out what you are going to say. It might even be smart to practice it, or you might end up looking like the Chevy guy after the World Series. I felt his pain…I’ve been there (see story above). In fact, I had to change the channel, it was too painful.
  2. Applicable to Crowd. The best announcements are those that affect the entire seated audience. The announcement that the 2-year-old Sunday School class is out of goldfish crackers would be best sent over email to the parents.
  3. Short & Sweet. Get to the point. Long-drawn out announcements are never a good idea. People will begin to drown you out. Give only the necessary information.
  4. Use Humor. Oftentimes, I will intentionally or non-intentionally allow humor to be part of the announcements. It relaxes the crowd and also allows the announcements to be more enjoyable. Rather than a simple reading of events they could just find in their bulletin.
  5. Videos.  Recently, I’ve been implementing videos during the announcement time. Since this can be time-consuming, I’ve only committed to doing these the 1st week of each month to highlight each month’s important events. See an example here.
  6. Research & Learn From Others. Here is how the pros do announcements. Learn from others.  Want more?  Try here and here.

Speaking of learning from others. Got other ideas? I’d love to hear from you! Leave some ideas in the comments below.

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How to Plan a Mission Trip Report Service

missions1In most church situations, members of the church contributed in numerous ways to the youth mission trip.  Whether it was being a faithful prayer warrior, donating materials, or contributing financially, the church as a whole was invested in the student mission trip.  Therefore, it is wise to dedicate a service to celebrate what God did on the trip.

Here’s how you plan such a service, and I broke it down into categories for you because I’m such a nice guy:

Music:

Depending on the talent and trip experience, you may not have the capacity of the youth being in charge of the music for the service.  If that is the case, then you simply have the normal praise team sing, play, and lead per the norm.

However, if music was a big part of your mission trip outreach, then by all means, allow the church to participate in what you have worked so hard to prepare and present on the field.  Even if it is children-centered music, so what!  Sing praises to the Lord!

I’ve done it both ways and they both are effective.  Again, it just depends on your circumstances.

Service Responsibilities:

This is an opportunity to teach your teens responsibility and also provide ministry training.  So, go all out and allow the teens to be ushers, door holders, sound technicians (supervised, if needed), lead the opening prayer, give announcements…and the list goes on.  Take advantage of being able to put teens in places during the main service, and hope that it sticks on a regular basis.  I’ve seen teens continue in the sound booth or do announcements periodically as a result of this opportunity.

Trip Recap:

It’s tough to pack in all the details into one sitting, but do your best.  Separate the trip training, the responsibilities and the trip days into smaller chunks.  Allow several of your students to explain each aspect of the trip, both preparation and the trip itself.

Testimonies/Message:

Typically, I say something to the effect of “this was a student mission trip, so you don’t want to hear from me, you want to hear from the students”.  And you know what, it’s true!  So get the students on stage and allow them to give their testimony.  Typically I ask for volunteers, but this year, each of them got on stage and said the following:  Name, Grade, # Mission Trip, Responsibilities on the trip, & lesson God taught them.  The impact this had on the church was astounding!  I’m still hearing great things from this!  Sure, many of the teens will be extremely nervous.  Sure, you may need to help them with their speech.  Sure, you may need to hand out paper bags for them to breathe into…but it’s worth it, and the parents will be thrilled.  If possible include leaders in this testimony time.  (Disclaimer:  I realize if your group is large, this is near impossible, so maybe have them each write/type it out and put in book form & have the older students or those that experience life change give testimony)

As for the message, if you have a student mature enough to present the message, then by all means.  Again, anything you can hand off to the students, then do so.  With this, please spend weeks up to the message helping prepare and craft the message with the teen.  Don’t leave them hanging to prepare for a message.  If a message is too big to handle for your students, then allow some to give short devotionals from the Scripture you studied in training or on the trip.

Video:mission-trip-Video1

Everybody likes a video.  Put some music to it.  And if you’re like me, you probably have students that could do this way better than you, so give them the pictures and video and let them have at it.

Other ideas: Include other summer activities within the time of testimony for those that worked at camps or those that were impacted by camp or summer conference.

There ya have it.  If you have more ideas, I’d love to hear from you.

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