7 Things to Remember When Your Service Goes Horribly Wrong

Do you ever get in your car to drive home from a morning of Sunday services only to realize that it’s the first time you’ve sat down since you got out of the car? That can’t be right.

You’ve must’ve had time to sit down at least once in between running up to the stage to change the battery on pastor’s mic during his sermon, resetting the fire alarm, popping out a quarter mile of drop ceiling tiles to trace a faulty video cable, and unclogging a toilet while simultaneously running slides, sound, and camera 2 to fill in for all 4 volunteers who’re out with the flu.

Next time your service is going horribly wrong, try keeping a few of these in mind.

1. The service isn’t for you.

Perhaps the hardest thing to remember in these moments is that the only reason you’re there in the first place is to worship God. If that means you have to worship while your crawling through the ceiling, all the better – how exciting!

2. The goal is excellence not perfection.

The pursuit of excellence is an ongoing process; a process that is wouldn’t be possible without some imperfection along the way.

3. Most people can’t tell that anything is wrong.

It sounds like a cop-out, but it’s true. It doesn’t matter how seamlessly the transitions went at rehearsal – if there’s suddenly 10 seconds of nothing between the last song and the announcements video that’s simply a pre-planned moment of reflection in the eyes of the congregation. Without a service-sheet in front of you, the assumption is that what is happening is supposed to happen.

4. God plans better than we do.

God’s vision for a service isn’t always what’s counting-down in Planning Center. There is not a single hiccup that He isn’t expecting or allowing – you never know how the Spirit will use spontaneity to impact someone’s experience.

5. Rarely is something one person’s fault.

Most people are either finger-pointers or carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, and neither is productive toward improving a team’s performance. Examine each glitch for ways that you can personally work to improve or prevent the problem from happening again.

6. Your team is watching how you’re handling the pressure.

How you handle the stress of a situation sets the tone for the members of your team. Treat mistakes as training opportunities and remember that volunteers are an asset. Excel in grace.

7. The sweat you’re feeling is the perfect motivation.

I’m sure this breaks at least dozen pillars of healthy psychological principals, but stress can be a powerful motivator. It’s easy to care 100% about the things that go wrong in the moment on a Sunday. It’s much harder to care quite so much come Monday or Tuesday. Try and commit the stress you feel in that moment on Sunday to memory so you can use it during the as a reminder to improve the processes which can prevent the disaster from happening again.

About the Author_02

Author Photo - Rob Merow

Lighting Designer
OneLux Studio | New York, NY

Rob discovered his love of theater and passion for creating dynamic environments early on as a volunteer at his home church in Pennsylvania. His degree in architecture and years of experience as a volunteer prepared him for his calling to full time ministry where he led teams in the areas of lighting & scenic design, audio production, graphic design, branding, and interior design. He and his wife Emily have recently moved to New York City, where he has come full circle into architectural lighting. Rob enjoys blurring the line between theatrical, experiential, and architectural design; keeping one foot in ministry as often as possible.