When Everything Goes Wrong

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If you, as a worship leader, haven’t had a service derail and begin crashing into towns, destroying everything in its path, you may not have been leading very long. Or perhaps you are perfect. It’s almost certainly one of those two things. For the rest of us, we’ve led services that we feel like were a complete disaster. How exactly do we bounce back from those services?

Throw away the game tape (or maybe review it)

Every Tuesday in our staff meeting, one of the first things we discuss is how we feel the Sunday morning service flowed. What went well, what could have gone better, and what we can try next time. While this evaluation is incredibly important, sometimes it’s better to skip it. There have been several times where I’ve begun the evaluation with a statement like this: “That was a disaster. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Let’s just write it up to a bad morning and move on.” When you know that there was no planning, practice, or preparation that could have been done to fix what happened (i.e. a giant technical problem, a huge mistake by you or a band member, etc.), then sometimes it’s better to throw away the game tape. Don’t review it, it may just make you feel bad. However, if you feel like there was something to be learned, or if there was something that could have prevented it, take a look. It’s always better to learn from our mistakes. In those cases, review that tape!

Confess things you may have done wrong

“That was my fault.” That’s a statement that should come out of our mouths far more than it does.

Plenty of times, the fact that something went wrong rests squarely on our shoulders. If that’s the case, take time to talk about it. Sometimes that means apologizing to your worship team that put a lot of time and energy into preparing for the service. (Sorry, team.) Sometimes it means apologizing to your A/V crew for putting stuff in the wrong order. (Sorry, Mike. Sorry, Barry.) Sometimes it means apologizing to your sound tech for giving someone the wrong microphone. (Sorry, David.) Sometimes it means apologizing to the other pastors that helped you plan that service. (Sorry, guys.) Sometimes it means just apologizing to God when your head wasn’t in the right place, or you were focused on the wrong goal. (Sorry, God.)

Remember that it’s not about you

I can’t even begin to count the times that I have walked into my office on a Monday morning feeling like I blew it. However, it seems like every time I open my e-mail while I am feeling that, someone has sent me something to let me know how encouraged they were by the service.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how badly I think the service went.
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At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how badly I think the service went. Only a couple of things really, truly matter:

  • Did it glorify God?
  • Did it help to bring people closer to Christ?

If it did those, you’ve done your job. Sure, we can (and should) always strive to be better, but after all is said and done, I don’t think God will be asking me why I put my capo on the wrong fret. (Sorry again, guys.)

How NOT to Evaluate a Worship Service
Things Worship Pastors Need to Stop Doing

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