The morning worship service was broadcast live each week on the local radio station. So, the pastor knew he had to wrap everything up by noon. At the close of the sermon, he glanced at his watch to see that he had only one minute left, so he quickly transitioned to announcements.
Imagine driving in your car and tuning in just in time to hear the preacher announce, “Tonight, we are going to fill the baptistery to my rear and celebrate these professions of faith!”
Announcements don’t always communicate what we intend. Sometimes, (unfortunately) they don’t communicate at all.
Announcements are the most dreaded part of a church service. Most people don’t want to sit through them, much less be the poor soul trying to communicate them. No matter the method of communication –verbal, bulletin, PowerPoint, video, website, email, etc.- things just seem to get “lost in translation.”
There are a few masters of communication who can find ways to make announcements “stick,” but even the best “announcers,” have experienced the frustration of a church member saying “I never heard about the picnic,” or “Why didn’t you tell us about the time change?” even though it had been announced in fourteen different formats for five consecutive weeks!
Human communication has its limitations. The communicator is limited in sharing the information and the audience is limited in receiving the information.
So when it comes to the message of the gospel, it might seem that God is taking a huge risk to entrust “this treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4). After all, isn’t the message too important for imperfect human communicators?
In the past, when God wanted to communicate, he used various means including His audible voice (Exodus 3) and angel proclamation (Luke 1:26-38). But even in those situations, after God spoke, He usually instructed humans to pass along the message. For instance, God communicated directly to Moses, but then told Moses to communicate to Pharaoh (Exodus 3:13-22).
Later, however, God chose to communicate through a different medium: His Son. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Now that’s a powerful announcement! Still, after communicating the message of salvation to us through His Son’s life, death, burial, and resurrection, God once again calls us to share the announcement of His grace through human communication.
But (unlike any announcement regarding picnics, special events, or schedule changes) the human proclamation of the gospel is equipped with divine aid in its communication and reception.
The first way in which the gospel is equipped with divine aid is in the nature of God’s Word. It is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
What an encouragement! When we communicate the gospel, God injects (sword) His message into the heart of the hearer. And His message powerfully exposes the hearer at the deepest level.
But, as if that wasn’t enough, the sword of God’s Word belongs to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). The Spirit, utilizing the Word, convicts the hearer of sin (John 16:8), and draws their heart toward Christ (John 6:44).
We are never alone in our efforts to “announce” the gospel! The living Word and the Holy Spirit work to translate our limited human communication into a language that speaks powerfully to the hearts of men. No other message shared by human lips will ever boast such power as the proclamation of the gospel!
So take all of the energy you spend agonizing over announcing the upcoming church softball league or the next church-wide pot-luck, and pour it into sharing the gospel with someone today. It’s more powerful –and it’s an announcement they may never forget!