Let’s face it. A lot can go wrong with scheduling.
- People forget to sign up for equipment or rooms, often resulting in duplicated needs, leaving you scrambling to figure something out.
- People arrive at meetings late or don’t show up at all, even though planned well in advanced with reminders sent.
- People cancel out of their ministry responsibilities, sometimes with little or no notice.
These scheduling woes can make it a very frustrating leadership task. It’s especially grievous when the same person repeatedly leaves you in a lurch.
Be Christ-like in Dealing with Scheduling Woes
1) Maintain a holy integrity.
Outwardly we can respond graciously while masking utter stress, anxiety, and frustration over people’s inconsistencies, inconsideration, and endless lame excuses. God looks for a holy integrity wherein what’s on the inside matches what’s on the outside. Hence, as leaders, we must learn to not only remedy the fallout of these scheduling woes but also deal with our own feelings and attitudes. To do that, we must learn to …
- Always pray about these situations, as well as our reactions to them.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
- Take captive those negative thoughts and replace them with that which is positive and edifying instead, not allowing ourselves to go in a downward spiral.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)
2) Respond with grace AND truth.
Too often in these situations we lean either toward grace OR truth rather than grace AND truth.
All Grace: How often might we hear ourselves respond to the person with, “It’s okay. We’ll figure something out.” Too often, though, it isn’t okay. Other people, including yourself, are inconvenienced. Classes or groups may need to be combined or cancelled if you can’t find a substitute. Structures may need to be revamped to accommodate less workers. At minimum you might simply lose out on the contribution of the missing person but sometimes it could require a change in the agenda due to that person’s part.
All Truth: This often comes after tolerating these scheduling woes rather than dealing with them with the Christ-like, holy integrity referenced above. We let the frustration build within us until we finally lash out. What we have to say may be actual truth, but, spoken without grace, can undo months or years of impact on people’s lives through a single outrage of truth.
Grace AND Truth: We express understanding when the unexpected or unavoidable happens, yet have pre-established systems or processes for people to follow to make it the least inconvenient, inconsiderate, or obstructive for all involved. We don’t wait for abuses to occur before communicating the consequences of people’s actions but rather by example build an environment where thoughtfulness abounds. And, when someone does otherwise, we use it as a discipling or mentoring opportunity wherein we help the person understand the consequences of their actions but do so in ways that edify rather than condemn.
3) Put the focus where it belongs.
We’re able to respond with Grace AND Truth when the focus shines on the effect people’s actions have on Christ and true ministry in His name, rather than the effect it has on us being inconvenienced. We’re able to respond with Grace AND Truth when we are more concerned about people’s accountability first and foremost to the Lord, who is the Head of the Church, rather than how they let us down. When we put the focus where it belongs, our perspective and priorities shift as well.
Read the following for a reminder: God’s Heart for the Church: Christ-like Character