It's a typical week and your team is planning for the upcoming Sunday services. Your pastor has the message ready, the worship team will rehearse the set tonight, and the media team has the lyrics and sermon notes prepped. All seems to be in-place, right?
Wrong. There may be tension brewing underneath the surface and it's one your team feels on a regular basis. The big question is whose announcements will be made from the stage - and whose will be cut.
Each ministry department leader wants to make sure the congregation knows about an upcoming event or program. Perhaps there's even an element of competitiveness involved where each leader wants his/her event to be more successful than last year's or even another departments (yes, sometimes we get competitive even in ministry). Each leader can make a solid case for why it's important to include his information in this week's announcements, but if you include them all you'll have about 15 minutes left for the actual sermon.
So, how do you prevent this weekly conflict?
Create an event calendar for the next 6-12 months. Include every service, event, and program on the calendar.
Step #2: Establish guidelines for how to inform your congregation of these opportunities. This includes what methods you'll use in addition to announcements from the stage such as emails, text messages, the church website, social media, and the bulletin. While we tend to think announcements from the stage are the ultimate communication tool, that's certainly not our only option.
Add communicating these opportunities to the event calendar. Consider what you'll do when for each event.
6 weeks prior: Make the first announcement in an email blast
4 weeks prior: Video announcement before the sermon plus post information on social media
2 weeks prior: Include signup cards or a special insert in the bulletin
1 week prior: Announcement from the stage, email, and social media
Stick to the event calendar as much as possible. The key here is to get input from ministry leaders as you develop the calendar. Once they've bought into the calendar, it's easier to remind them of what they agreed to a few months ago than rehash the issue the day you're trying to finalize the service order for that week.
You'll probably have some disagreements as you create this calendar, so these steps don't guarantee zero conflict.
However, when you plan a few months ahead and have these conversations early, the team won't feel as much last minute pressure and will be more likely to make reasonable requests. Going through these steps is worth the effort to maintain healthy relationships within the team, give those who'll actually create the announcements enough time to do an excellent job, and ensure you're not overwhelming the congregation with too much information at a time.
Try out these steps and enjoy a more peaceful service prep meetings.