FIRST-PERSON: A weekly 30-second celebration at your church
INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- I've noticed an interesting common denominator in vibrant, growing churches: They always seem to be celebrating something God's doing there. Your church can do that. Use these two simple steps to add a mini-celebration during weekly church announcements.
Step One: Be vigilantly observant to see what God's doing in His church. He is at work! Keep an ongoing list, and select at least one current praise to mention each Sunday.
Step Two: Plan the best way to tell everyone what God is doing. Use varying methods to praise Him for that specific blessing during Sunday worship's announcements. Here are some ideas and examples, each requiring less than 30 seconds:
-- Show it. "The Fire Department sent this thank-you note for our church's prayer and the Fireman's Bibles we gave them."
-- Numbers. Create giant numbers, and use them to announce camp enrollment, baptism numbers, cans of food collected, etc.
-- Tour instructions. "After worship, follow the yellow arrows to see our remodeled nursery!"
-- Assignment. "God's blessing our new singles class! They are distributing invitation cards for you to give to a single adult you know."
-- Tradition. Play four musical bars of "Jesus Loves the Little Children," then announce "God's newest blessing at our church -- Ian Key, born to Hal and Jan on Monday."
-- Reminder. "We exceeded our Annie Armstrong offering goal! Take the bookmark in your chair to remind you to pray for our North American Mission Board missionaries."
-- PowerPoint slide. Add praises into pre- and post-service audiovisuals. "73 stopped here to pray on National Day of Prayer!"
-- Facebook. "Ann, who is being baptized today, wrote her testimony as a Facebook post! Share it on your page today!"
-- Wall graphic. After every baptism, our pastor refers to the wall visual tallying God's blessing of new believers.
-- Applause. "God has answered our church's prayers for new small group leaders. Let's all applaud Him for His blessing!"
-- Raise hands. "Our men's Bible class is the fastest-growing in the church. If you're in that class, raise your hand."
-- Certificates. "Everyone on the front row has completed our Discipleship 101 class! Each received a beautiful certificate like this one."
-- Visible results. "Our youth garage sale raised $800 to buy these 40 Bibles and 100 witness bracelets for their Mexico mission trip!"
-- Stand up. "Our 5th grade Bible class set a record attendance of __! Stand up, 5th graders!"
-- Photo. Use supersized or PowerPoint photo. "Here's the property our church plant, Soma Church, has purchased!"
-- Ask for action. "Let's use our vehicles as mobile church invitations! Take a church window sticker. Volunteers in the parking lot can help you with installation."
God is at work in His church. Will you be constantly on watch, and use praise announcements during worship to intentionally, joyfully celebrate what He's doing?
Diana Davis is author of "Fresh Ideas" and "Deacon Wives" (B&H Publishing). She is an author, columnist and wife of North American Mission Board's vice president for the south region, Steve Davis. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).