Jump Start # 2085
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
In our last Jump Start, we talked about impressions and what a congregation can do to make a good impression upon a visitor. There are more things that need to be said in this area. Becoming a welcoming church is important. Jesus welcomed the crowds around Him. People found in Jesus someone who cared. Children were welcomed by Jesus. The outcasts, the troubled, the diseased, all found a friend in Jesus.
Our verse today, not directed congregationally, but individually, reminds us of the importance of influence and impressions. Shine that light in such a way. The same light that can attract, can blind. The light that draws attention, can make it hard to see. Give a five-year-old a flashlight, and he’ll shine it in your eyes. There is a right way and a wrong way to shine that light.
As we continue our thoughts about making impressions congregationally, one area that so little consideration is given to is announcements. The idea of making announcements is not found in the Bible, but is accepted and convenient to keep the church informed. We make announcements about special meetings, the sick, those needing help and all sorts of things.
Here are some thoughts about announcements:
First, make announcements with consideration of the visitor. I’ve seen some make announcements as services begin and then they make the same announcements as services end. I’ve seen some try to recap what the sermon was all about, often times, missing the point of what the sermon was about. I’ve seen long, drawn out announcements. I’ve seen people add to the announcements from the pews, speaking out or making corrections to what was being said. I’ve seen names mispronounced and personal medical information that is delicate and private being announced.
Give some thought to a person who might be visiting for the first time. Consider how to stream line announcements. Using the bulletin, and opening slides, possibly cut down the number of announcements.
Second, the timing of announcements is also important. I’ve seen services begin with the announcement of a death that happened the night before. Few knew about it. You could hear the expressions of shock in the auditorium. That one statement put a dark pale upon the rest of services. Our announcements can change and even disrupt the thoughts necessary for worship. Maybe hold off on that announcement until the end. I’ve seen the opening of a special meeting with the announcement of church discipline. Could that have held off for one more week? Give thought as to when and what is being announced.
Third, at the beginning of worship is a wonderful time to have a warm and kind greeting. Welcome visitors. Very briefly, let it be know what is going to take place. Set the tone for encouragement and put God before our eyes.
Fourth, give some thought as to who gives announcements. Face it, some are comfortable behind a mic and others nearly pass out. Some mumble. Some don’t stand behind the mic, they stand to the side of it. Some do not raise their voice. So the result is a few people in the first roles can hear, but the rest can’t. Within the audience, people whisper, “what did he say?” “Who’s in the hospital?” That rather defeats the purpose of announcements if what is being said cannot be heard.
Fifth, some go off script and use the occasion to get a few things off their chest. The announcer is not the preacher. The preacher peaches and the announcer gives announcements. Sometimes those two get their roles confused.
Sixth, we know the power of prayer, but often in a large congregation, everyone knows someone who is in hospital or having a hard time. A co-worker, a neighbor, an aunt’s best friend, someone from down home, and often no one else has a clue who these folks are. Is it wrong to do that, no. But, in a large congregation, you could have a long, long list. Discretion needs to be used. Someone, like the elders, ought to have the final say as to what names go in the announcements and what names do not.
Finally, closing announcements, may be one of the final things a person remembers and takes with them. There has been a sermon, prayers, lots of songs and now a final few announcements. Letting people know where material, CD’s, and other information is located at and are free is important. Final thoughts. Make them positive, uplifting and inviting. There may be some things that are announced on a Sunday evening or Wednesday evening that may not be announced on a Sunday morning. The reason being, thinking about the visitor.
The announcements should not be an obstacle to the worship. The announcements should not hinder worship. Impressions. Give thought to what is being said and who is listening.