|I finally figured it out.|
For years, I’ve heard people say they don’t know what’s going on in church. Never mind that we printed in the bulletin for three weeks. It was in the newsletter, too. I mentioned several things after Bible study as well. I guess people missed the PowerPoint slides and Facebook posts. Oh, don’t forget our church email, printed calendar and the flyers posted in the hallway.
So, what did I figure out? Besides that people don’t listen?
I’m not asking you to just trust me on this. You can verify it yourself. People do know what’s going on in church. I just do announcements differently. Announcement time is always a strange thing. Do you make them at the beginning or end of our worship? At one point, it was innovative to land them during the offering. I’ve told people I’ll let them sneak one in during prayer if they wrap it in prayer language.
With all this thought and effort we put into the announcement time do you know what still happens? People don’t listen. I can give you a handful of examples right off the top of my head. My big mouth stood right in front of a microphone and gave all the details (that were already printed in the bulletin). But people still asked me about some upcoming event they hadn’t heard about.
Now, as a leader and communicator, I have to take responsibility for people not hearing what I’m saying. That’s why I try to get rid of announcement time. Well, at least the way most of us are familiar with it. Let’s focus on one announcement at a time and communicate it well. That’s what I like to do. If everyone lets me is another story. Not taking ten minutes to read a list of announcements makes people feel like they’re missing out on something.
Announcement time shouldn’t be a ten-minute occasion. As important as your event might be to you, you lose people after about thirty seconds.
Okay, what does announcement time have to do with our walk with Jesus? First off, it gives you something to pay attention to in your church. More importantly, it allows me to bring to attention something I seek to do.
Our primary task on Sunday is to worship together. So, let’s focus on our worship. I like to say “Let Sunday be Sunday.” That applies to announcements and any other church business.
Instead of cramming as much other business as we can into our short time together, let Sunday be Sunday. We don’t need organizational meetings or fundraisers on our sabbath. If the work we’re doing is that important, find another time to dedicate to it.
Relearning sabbath prepares us to live and work faithfully to God. All our announcements and Sunday meetings cloud our vision of how important sabbath is to God. God rested after creation. God establishes the sabbath for us. It could teach us trust and dependence on God. It could bring renewal to our hearts and minds. It could help us slow down enough to better sense God’s presence with us. It could prepare us for greater work.
God commanded the Israelites to forgive debts every seven years. This was an idea built upon the sabbath. It would make no sense by itself. The weekly rhythm of rest framed the idea to forgive debts every seven years. It was a way to “open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”
Learning to trust God each week prepares us to do what seems impossible. Look into the concept of the Jubilee year. You’ll see that gets expanded into further impossibility. But it starts with sabbath.
Let Sunday be Sunday. I promise you we’re not hiding church events from you.