Planning for the Unexpected

It’s five minutes until your meeting starts and your worst fears have come true; the speaker hasn’t arrived. Your anxiety level is high and you’re unsure what actions you should take. You pray fervently, even desperately, hoping God will deliver you. You’re acutely aware that you should start the meeting and you still don’t know what to do.

Sound like a bad dream? Unfortunately, this bad dream can easily be a reality. Speakers do get delayed or unable to come at the last minute; equipment has a way of breaking down just when you need it; and even musicians get the flu and can’t make the meeting.

We’d be foolish to pretend you can plan away trouble. What you can do with planning is know what actions you’ll take if your original plans can’t be followed through. If you’ve thought through what actions make the most sense before the crisis, you’re much more likely to have an effective large group meeting even when all your plans fall apart.

Here are a few questions to get you started in formulating “Plan B.”

1. If someone who helps with your meeting is sick, or just doesn’t show up, who can be called on to help?

2. If your speaker has to cancel on short notice, or just doesn’t come, what are your options? Develop an options list which you bring to each meeting and from which you can choose what best fits the circumstance.

A standard fall-back over the years has been to “have a time of sharing”. It can be very good for people to tell others what God has been doing in their life. A key is whether the sharing does direct people’s attention to Jesus, or just to themselves.

You might consider scripture skits, extended worship, reading through a book of the New Testament before the group, individuals reporting on what’s happening in their small groups and living units.

Take some time and develop your ideas of how your large group meeting time could be well used when the unexpected happens.