We’ve all had “one of those Sundays” when nothing seems to go right. The sound system was giving you all kinds of trouble. Videos were being fired at the wrong time. Team members didn’t know their music. Feedback. Frustration. Feelings hurt. It was far from the kind of experience that you want to have for your guests. To put it plainly … it was a train wreck.
When Sunday is a total write off where do you start to rebuild on Monday? Here are some steps to move forward as a church leader in building positive momentum as we look to the future.
- Get Out of Bed. // I’ve had those Monday’s where all I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and sleep the day away. Don’t. Set your alarm and force yourself out of bed. Next Sunday is coming and you need to respond today.
- Write Some Thank You Notes. // Even in the midst of the toughest day there are always team members that shine … sometimes it’s because of a tough day that they shine even brighter. Take some time to thank those team members first. Doing this before you jump into the details helps focus you on the people side of solutions.
- 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 and 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.
- Don’t Waste a Crisis. // This is an amazing opportunity to learn and grow as an organization. Take on this challenge to learn how you can become better as a team. Lead your team publicly through this process so you can spread the learning as far as possible. Show how fixing this problem is a part of vision of your church. You have to fix this problem because you don’t want it to be the thing that hinders what God is doing.
- Watch out for Confirmation Bias. // When you start digging to find the cause of the problem be sure to have as open a mind as possible. It’s a proven fact that people favor information and interpretations that confirm our personal bias or preconceived notions. [More on confirmation bias.] Whatever went wrong yesterday isn’t going to be solved by some magic bullet solution … it’s going to 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 way smoother. Like a patient bleeding on the hospital table … the first thing you have to do is stop bleeding before you can move onto the systemic issues.
- Define Mid-Term Fixes. // After you ensure that the next weekend is going to happen … you’re going to need to put into place a plan that helps make sure that you can take steps towards recovering. The bigger the problem the more long days and late nights will need to be invested to restore this thing. Call extra meetings. Pull in the teams earlier for a month. Triple check every system.
- Be Patient … Rebuilding Trust Takes Time. // You aren’t just trying to fix the problems but also rebuilding trust with everyone in your organization that was impacted by the issues. Trust erodes quickly in feet but rebuilt slowly in inches. It’s going to take many Sundays of no problems before people will relax and trust that everything will be ok … even if you “solve” the problem 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 next Monday. Stay encouraged. God wants to use you, your leadership and your team to reach the community that He’s placed you in. You can move forward from here. Thank you for leading so well.