I am wondering what some of you do to keep the offering and/or Announcements from breaking the flow from a Worship Service? We've tried putting them after the sermon, but I felt like it takes away from the sermon, people leave thinking about the Announcements not about the Sermon content. We've also tried putting them before the sermon, but it breaks the flow from the worship set into the sermon. How do you keep the offering/announcements from breaking service flow? Thoughts?
Looks like your only other option is what we do. Announcements first.
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The problem with doing the announcements right away is that, if you're like our congregation, a quarter of the people are not in church yet.
We do announcements afterwards, and it doesn't seem to be a problem.
The ones that can't retain it through the announcements are going to lose it by the time they get their kids and start planning lunch anyway. I wouldn't sweat it too much.
If no one is making an issue of it, then I wouldn't spend too much effort on it.
we've put a lot of time and energy into determining whether or not announcement from the stage are heard and remember by our partner and regular attenders. The answer is NO. So, we don't do announcements from the stage any more unless it works naturally into the sermon. We use Facebook, email, Twitter and other outlets to communicate, which work a whole lot better.
Every local church body needs to determine whether "Announcements" from the stage are heard and remembered. Every body is different, so the same way of communicating doesn't work with every group.
As for how to do the announcements and offering during the service without breaking the "flow", I believe it's more a matter of perspective and purpose.
For one, for "announcements", if you're just spouting information, people can get that through paper, email, facebook, etc. if they care and want to be involved with them. No one (generalizing) is going to remember the small details about an announcement when you say them, but what is really important is communicating what God is doing and has done with the "announcement" (but not every announcement needs to be said). If the "announcement" is about a youth fundraiser, instead of talking about the small details, share what the fundraiser is supporting in the end and how God will use the youth to impact others. Also, if it has already been done, share what HAS happened and what God HAS done too. The point is to help people see the importance and how they can join in serving God and others.
I believe this changes an "announcement" into a testimony of what God is doing and has done and share how people can get involved. And so it's not a "break" in the "flow" of the service, but a continuation of worship and praise as well as sharing about an opportunity to serve.
In the case of offering, an idea is to simply place music around it and incorporate it into your songs, readings, prayers, etc. Or, you could always move to instead of having passed baskets, put a locked box at the back of the sanctuary and remind people that as they leave or come in every week, they can give their "sacrificial offering of worship" into the box. I know people worry that people won't give if they do that, but it's all a matter of trust and what is best for each congregation.
Secondly, it really is a matter of perspective and purpose. I believe that though "flow" is incredibly important in helping people focus and to decrease distraction, it's not essential. I can see if you're gathering's priority is to be professionally streamlined, leaning towards performance, being music and media focused, flow would seem to be a key. But if you view your gathering as a family simply getting together to worship God, the importance is the community and not making perfect transitions. A family loves one another, jokes, forgives mistakes when you make them (we all make plenty of them ), cares more about quality time together instead of getting through all the planned activities, and shares things with one another.
So in a family context, just do/say the announcements and offering when you need to and continue on, thanking God and the people. Again, I don't personally believe these aspects "don't fit", because as I said above, they are just another way we worship God and share about what He's doing within our communities. It's a matter of perspective and how we approach it.
But always, every church body is different, so finding the best way to communicate to them as well as knowing their priorities is key. Hope this helps. Let me know if I need to explain anything more.
I generally create my flow on a bell shape: ie. Mechanical items are either 1st or last. As to the offering, we view this as a form of worship so I'm not too constrained where it occurs but when it does, we typically don't have to say things such as "If the ushers will, come forward". I let them know when they are to walk forward and the reception is done while a song or instrumental is performed.
I wish we did our announcements first. I'd rather people be late and miss announcements than worship. But either way I'm not very concerned about it. We typically read only one or two important announcements... the rest are in the bulletin, which is also published online.
Here's how I do it.... We open with an uptempo praise song, something like "Let God Arise" or "Marvelous Light". This serves as our call to worship and the folks hanging in the foyer and drinking their coffee make their way to their seats. We'll open with these uptempo songs, usually one or two of them, then follow the songs with prayer.
Next we pause to allow for welcome and announcements. We do an email blast each week with all of the announcements, but we always do a run thru of announcements so that visitors know what's going on too. Also, it's not just one person reciting announcements from the stage. We have one of the men of our church serve as the announcer. I guess you could call him "the announcement announcer". Anyway, as he runs thru the announcements, he allows for comments from each group he's talking about....i.e. the youth pastor adds any events for that week, the prayer team leader might announce their meeting time for that week, the ladies ministry might give details about their upcoming monthly gathering. I find that having more than just one person talk about what's going on in the church family really engages the audience and grabs their attention. We don't call out our visitors or make them stand. But we do encourage them to fill out a connection card.(Also, we have tables in each row that have our connection cards for visitors, members, and prayer requests along with offering envelopes, note paper and pens for the sermon. We let them know that baskets will be passed during the closing song to collect the offering and connection cards.)
When the announcements are completed, the band begins to play something uptempo or midtempo and I welcome the congregation and invite them to greet each other for a few moments, and introduce themselves to someone they don't know. After a verse and a chorus length of whatever song we are playing, the band starts singing. This is how we transition to our worship time. Our worship time consists of anywhere from 3-5 songs, depending on their length.
We follow the sermon with a worship song that follows the theme of whatever the sermon was about, allowing time for people seeking prayer or decision. Then, when that song is over, the pastor will give his final closing words. Then, as the band begins playing a more uptempo song from earlier in the service, the baskets are passed for the offerings and connections cards. Once the baskets are passed, we only get about halfway thru the song, then I dismiss everyone. The band plays on while the folks exit the room, which i guess is our take on them being led out with singing.
I hope this is what you were asking for. I know its' very point-by-point, but I wanted to be clear in my description. God bless you!