I was reading something recently, although I don't remember what it was, that was talking about announcements in church. The question they asked is what they would illustrate to someone who was a first time guest. Would they understand them? Are they about the way we are serving the community, or are they geared only at people who are already in the church? What would the announcements leave them thinking about who the church is and what we are doing?
They got me really thinking about the things I announce each week, most of which is geared at us, not about the things that we are doing in the community. We don't talk that often about our youth center (which is not in the church but is instead on the main street), about our food pantry (again at an offsite location), about the work we do supporting our volunteer firefighters and EMTs, or how we lift the people who work at the schools up in prayer each week.
These are just some of the ways we are involved in the life of our small town, but instead of highlighting these we talk about choir practice and prayer group, upcoming meetings, and Christian ed classes. Now these are all important things, but are they more important that what we do outside our walls? I don't think so.
Clearly people in the congregation need to know about these things but how do we reach a balance so that we also talk about other things so that those who are visiting don't think that everything we do is about us?