One of my favorite ministry tools is the humble announcement sheet. Or bulletin. Or handout. Or whatever you call it.
I use a half-sheet announcement sheet for every class of the world—Sunday school, Wednesday night, choir practice, special meetings, school classes, chapel services, and, well, youth leader sessions. Announcement sheets do more than announce things.
They communicate. Francis Bacon said, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” My mind is always roiling with ideas, but writing forces me to get the ideas into print. Once it is written, I have a reference point of communication.
They encourage. One never knows what someone needs or when it is needed. The best I have to give is words, so I work to use my words wisely. Sometimes, the content is encouraging. Sometimes, mentioning someone’s name is encouraging. Sometimes the encouragement comes immediately, and sometimes later (when they find the sheet tucked in the back of their spare Bible.)
They build respect. Starting out as a young youth pastor, I had to intentionally build trust with the teens’ parents. I wanted them to know that if they could trust me in small things (home from activities on time, didn’t drive crazy, remembered birthdays, etc.), they could eventually trust me with more spiritual influence. Announcement Sheets provide a future reference to show that you are intentional about the details. No more: “We didn’t know how much the activity would be,” or, “Why didn’t you tell us what time we were meeting?”
They entertain. Our announcement sheets include funny things that happened, inside jokes, or straight-up making fun of someone (usually our summer interns.) We include word puzzles, pictures from the FatBooth app, or obituaries of deceased iPods—whatever we think makes a connection and facilitates laughter.
Oh yeah… they announce. Last, we put announcements on our announcement sheets. This includes all details of activities—costs, times, what to expect—and anything else coming up within the next two weeks. We promote upcoming missionaries, share prayer requests, thank people, print song lyrics and more through the announcements section.
I LOVE my little announcement sheets. Maybe it’s something you could use, too.