(I promised yesterday that I would start unpacking the definition of a worship leader today. But I forgot that this is Q&A Friday. I really will get to it next Tuesday.)
Forrest is at a church currently without a pastor, and sent in this question:
“We have typically used the worship service time as a means of giving out information about upcoming events. However, we are also trying to be more conscious about planning worship services that focus on God’s revelation of Himself and His works and our response to that revelation. We are having a lot of tension between worship planners and ministry leaders who want to give announcements. Do you have any insight or resources that might help?”
In my experience, dry, dull, long, and uninspiring announcements can be one of the most effective ways to quench the Spirit. Can announcements be included in a service where we desire to worship God? I think so. Here are a few thoughts.
1. Worshipping God includes edification.
David Peterson makes the point that “it is misleading to think of church services simply as occasions for worship in the sense of prayer and praise. Paul’s teaching requires us to recognize also the central importance of the concept of edification for the meeting of God’s people.” (Engaging with God, p. 196) He draws this conclusion from passages 1 Cor. 14, 1 Thess. 5:11, Eph. 4:11-16, and other Scriptures. We edify others when what we say and do builds others up and strengthens our unity in the Gospel.
2. The New Testament letters were read in church meetings.
This means that greetings (Rom. 16:3-16), corrections (Phil. 4:2-3), announcements (2 Cor. 9:3-5) and more were all part of the meeting. When Paul met with the church after his first missionary journey, he shared the details of what had taken place with the church (Acts 14:27). All of these were done to build up the church, thereby glorifying God.
3. The explanation and number of announcements can affect how edifying they are.
Well prepared announcements can bring glory to God in a number of ways. Here are some examples.
* motivate people to share the Gospel. “We will be having a special event next month designed to answer questions many unbelievers have.”
* thank God for the expansion of the church. “We’d like you to carpool because we’re running out of space.”
* honor true servanthood. “Tom Green, one of our children’s ministry teachers, has been serving the church for ten years.”
* display the effects of the Gospel. “This morning we’d like to welcome 23 new members to the church, another sign the God is continuing to add to the church those who are being saved by the gospel.”
But if we don’t help people connect what we’re saying to the Gospel and the glory of God, those connections will be missed. Announcements should be shared with enthusiasm, clarity, brevity, and faith. Creativity and humor are an added bonus.
On the other hand, too many announcements can cause people to forget why we’re meeting. We don’t gather simply to hear about what’s happening at some other time.
4. To avoid announcement overload, we should make use of alternate means of imparting information.
Some options we’ve used include:
* an easy to navigate church website
* announcements projected on a screen before the meeting
* flyers and brochures
I’m sure you can think of others. The important thing is to decide what the church needs to hear on a Sunday morning, and find alternate ways of sharing the rest.
Can the church function without announcements? Of course. But used wisely, they can be opportunities to build the church and bring honor to our Savior.