7 Steps to Take on Monday When Sunday is a Train Wreck at Your Church
Some weekends at your church are better than others. Things seem to fall into place and everything clicks. The band is in the pocket. The announcement time goes well. People connect with the message.
Then there are weekends that seem like a total train wreck. Everything goes wrong. Nothing seems to work.
The chances that you are going to have a few of these weekends every year are high. In fact, the odds are stacked up to ensure it will happen!
Here are some actions to take on Monday after a tough weekend at your church:
- Take Responsibility // When good stuff happens in your church it’s always because your team did such a great job. When things go wrong it’s your job as a leader to take responsibility. Take a deep breath, figure out what part of the problem is yours, and own it all. Owning the problem and finding the solution will grow your leadership influence. Assigning blame and pointing fingers will only shrink your influence.
- Write Some Thank-You Notes // Even during the toughest day there are always team members who shine. Sometimes it’s because of a tough day that they shine even brighter. Take time to thank those team members before you jump into the details. It will help focus you on the “people side” of solutions.
- Don’t Waste a Crisis // This is an amazing opportunity to learn and grow as an organization. Lead your team publicly through this process so you can spread the learning as far as possible. Show how fixing this problem is part of the vision of your church.
- Watch out for Confirmation Bias // When you start digging to find the cause of the problem be sure to keep your mind as open as possible. It’s a proven fact that people favor information and interpretations that confirm personal biases or preconceived notions. [More on confirmation bias.] Whatever went wrong yesterday isn’t going to be solved by some magic bullet solution. It may take a number of things to fix the problem. If it was simple … you would have solved it already. Resist the internal temptation to find simplistic answers.
- Stop the Bleeding // Often you need to develop a short-term plan that makes it possible to do church the following weekend. You need to formulate that plan on Monday … before you finish your day. Communicate to everyone involved what you are doing the next weekend to make sure that everything runs smoother. Like a patient bleeding on a hospital table, the first thing you have to do is stop the bleeding before you can move on to the systemic issues.
- Define Mid-Term Fixes // After you ensure the next weekend is going to happen, you’re going to need to put a plan in place to take steps toward recovering. The bigger the problem, the more long days and late nights will need to be invested to restore things. Call extra meetings. Pull in your teams earlier for a month. Triple-check every system.
- Be Patient … Rebuilding Trust Takes Time // You aren’t just trying to fix problems. You’re also rebuilding trust with everyone in your organization who was impacted by the issue. Trust erodes quickly in feet but it is rebuilt slowly in inches. It’s going to take many Sundays with no problems before people will relax and trust that everything will be okay … even if you “solve” the problem for the next weekend. Settle in and be patient as people work to trust again.
I wish I could say that this post was theoretical but the reality of it is that I’ve had many of “those Sundays” and struggled with the following Mondays. Be encouraged and move forward. God wants to use you, your leadership and your team to reach the community that He’s placed you in.