Open Mouth, Insert Foot

As I stood in front of the congregation, I took a brief moment to look at my notes and compose my thoughts before speaking. Apparently on that Sunday morning, I didn’t take long enough to compose my thoughts. If I had, I never would have said it.

It was the announcement segment of the service. I was working through my bullet point notes. Sunday school. Youth group. Women’s gathering. Yep, that’s when it happened. “Ladies, it’s that time of the month again,” I began. Out loud. No take backs.

And it was all downhill from there. How do you recover from something like that anyway? Seriously, how do you make that better? Because I’m pretty sure for the rest of the morning no one heard anything else, at all.

If there’s a least favorite segment of the Sunday morning service for me (on either side of the microphone), it’s announcements. Announcements seem to interrupt the flow. People often aren’t really listening. And it’s too easy to say something wrong. So after far too many bumps and bruises along the way, allow me to offer two questions that may help in the announcement segment of Sunday morning.

Is it the appropriate message?

Hinting at a woman’s monthly time (unintentionally or not) is probably not the appropriate way to introduce a monthly women’s outreach event. There are other ways a message may be inappropriate though. Does the announcement support the church’s mission? Does it apply to the majority of the congregation? These are just a few questions to ask in considering whether the announcement is appropriate.

Is the messenger appropriate?

There’s a good chance someone could argue that I was not the appropriate messenger for the monthly women’s outreach (at least on that day I wasn’t). When we’re choosing an appropriate messenger, we’re looking for someone who is clear and concise; someone who understands the mission and priorities of the church. We’re also looking for someone who is aware that announcements are for communication but are not the central point of the service. Of course, choosing the appropriate messenger does not mean that there should be a different person for each announcement (definitely not!).

Announcements may be a necessary part of our worship services but we must never forget that the main point of our worship (including announcements) is to glorify God.

I’d love to hear your announcement stories and thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Open Mouth, Insert Foot

  1. Paul said he did not come preaching with the enticing words of man’s wisdom but rather in weakness. I think when we mess up our words, it puts a human face on the message, the frailty we all have. We are flawed messengers of a perfect message. I think if we were “perfect messengers,” we’d mess up the perfect message!

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