Sunday, September 30, 2012

Is it Church, a Meeting or Both?

Today broke the record for the longest "announcements for the good of the congregation".  I try to have patience.  Somedays I can be all zen-like and just settle in.  Today was not that day.  I have never been a fan of live announcements, but I will tolerate them.  Sometimes, they really are needed.  But, when the announcements take 25 minutes and then you add Joys and Sorrows, it is tempting to just call it a meeting and go home.  I come to church to worship.  And, yes, part of building a community is sharing, but sometimes enough is enough.  Our congregation has a newsletter, weekly email updates, a webpage, a Facebook page and does an Order of Service insert every week.  I am not sure why the vast majority of the congregational announcements can not be included in those outlets.  One person spoke for ten minutes about the capital campaign.  It was useful information, but really deserved a whole separate meeting or a write-up in the newsletter.  I just want to start the worship service and as the announcements get longer and longer, I find myself getting more and more irritated.  We even had a guest preacher today and I felt bad that we did not value his time enough to stay within the parameters of our hour-long service.  What is the solution?  What do you all do? How do you manage the process?  It is getting to the point that Husband and I are dreading going to church.

4 comments:

Paul Oakley said...

In any service whose shape I have control over in a congregation that thinks they need spoken announcements, the announcements are at the end, with only the closing blessing remaining after. People are typically less inclined to go on and on when they will be clearly seen as the one(s) who caused the service to expend an extra 15 minutes. But better still, develop the practice of accepting only written announcements of no more than X number of words each to be read by a member of the board at the end of the service. Truncate when the maximum allotted time is up. And have clear and easily available (in the newsletter or bulletin, e.g.) guidelines for the kind of event, etc. that will and will not be read out.

Aimee said...

In our case, since the office administrator makes that weekly email, the website and social media updates, types the Order of Service inserts, and make the PowerPoint slides, she pretty much has the final say on what is announced during the service. She picks the three (maybe four) most important things, focuses the announcement on the title, date, and location, and makes extensive use of the words, "More details are in your Order of Service." The exception is usually if a Board member adds something that morning.

Liz James said...

We do our announcements after the worship is completely closed. Also, we ask people to submit them to the service leader ahead of time. The service leader reads everything they're given (the congregation would not like the feeling that announcements were being "censored") but nobody will write out ten pages worth for someone else to read... pretty effective, and doesn't feel too controlling.

John Hansen said...

My congregation is a relatively small compared to others so the announcements usually don't take too long. The issue I find is that it's an older congregation and they've all known each other for decades so the announcements can, at times, turn into a chat sessions among old friends.

It makes it difficult for a new member like myself to feel included.