7 Reasons Why Announcements Don’t Usually Lead to Church Member Involvement

I’ve heard it done often. In fact, I’ve done it too often. “It” in this case refers to trying to recruit church volunteers primarily by making announcements from the pulpit, via email, or within the church newsletter. Here’s why that approach doesn’t work:

  1. Folks aren’t listening to our announcements or reading our emails and newsletters. At a minimum, they’re not paying attention enough to hear with clarity the need for workers. Too many other distractors, including within a church service, keep them from giving undivided attention to our requests.
  2. Announcements seldom include the “why” with the “what.” We tell people what we need them to do, but we don’t often tell them why the work matters. Particularly for younger church members, the “why” matters even more than the “what.”
  3. Listeners hear a corporate announcement (if they hear it at all) for everybody else—not for themselves. A general announcement to a bunch of people usually leads to a bunch of people hearing it generally. Or, they assume the need doesn’t apply to them in the first place.
  4. Some church members carry baggage that makes it difficult for them to hear a call for workers. In some cases, they’ve served in the past and somehow been wounded. Others served, but with so little training that they felt like a failure. In other situations, the members don’t listen to any announcement coming from a particular church leader they no longer respect.
  5. The wrong people make the announcements. The best person to make an announcement to recruit workers for a ministry is someone who has an undeniable zeal for that ministry – not just the person who’s responsible for making announcements that week. A passionless announcer won’t produce a passionate response.
  6. Announcements put the responsibility on the respondent rather than on the recruiter. That is, someone who’s interested must then take the initiative to connect with someone else, express interest, and seek information. The more effective approach is for church leaders to recruit workers face-to-face, heart-to-heart, eyeball-to-eyeball.
  7. The church is making announcements, but no one’s praying for the Lord to raise up laborers. When that happens, we’re trying in our own power to recruit workers. We often seek God’s help only after we’ve failed in our efforts—and then we wonder why our efforts first went unheeded.

What other reasons come to mind for you? 


  • Mark says:

    There is no solicitation of ideas. If open committee seats and strategy meetings were open, people might be more responsive. Merely saying “something will be done at a certain a certain time and we need some people to come and work and check their brains at the door” results in no one paying attention.

  • Jared says:

    I don’t like announcements in the service, they feel out of place. But if people aren’t listening and aren’t reading our emails, how else do we communicate different events? What are some more effective ways to communicate?

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      Good question. I don’t think these realities mean that we don’t try to use these means at all; it simply means that we don’t limit our efforts to these. My preference is that build our communication around our small groups, where we can make announcements, answer questions, etc., at a more personal level.

  • Good word, Chuck. I agree with Jared and appreciate your response. In addition to your list, I might add announcements that are too long and too many. It is like a commercial break. If something is important enough (God’s glory/purpose and mission of the church) I may refer to it at an appropriate time in my message. This seems to be taken more seriously by members.

  • Larry says:

    Yet it is necessary to communicate information. Some people process information visually and others aurally. Visual learners will not prefer the spoken announcement and aural learners will be more likely to process what they hear. So the decision to eliminate spoken announcements will end effective communication with the aural group. The winner here is No. 5.

  • Ap Smith says:

    I have found many times that those that do respond are really not given any power to shape a response to a need. They are expected to facilitate someone else’s vision and don’t question it. I’ve seen people’s enthusiasm for a mission destroyed this way.

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