When Sunday Sucks

The life of a church planter is incredible! The adventure, the
blessings, the feeling of accomplishment, the closeness with God, the
last-minute miracles are just beyond words.

However, not
everyday is a great day in the life of a church planter. Some days just
suck. They are far and few between, but they do exist. It’s especially
tough when the day that sucks is a Sunday. The hours spent in planning,
preparation and implementation seems like a waste when the Sunday
service just goes in the toilet. Today was one of those days for
Compass Point and me.

We got to the YMCA this morning to set up
and they’ve had a teen lock-in that no one told us about. Kids are in
sleeping bags all over the area where we are suppose to set up. They
have stuff in every room making it almost impossible to get our
children’s area ready. Then the lights in the atrium keep going off for
no reason throughout the morning – leaving our "welcome area" in the
dark. Our children’s leader doesn’t make it because her niece had an
emergency C-section. Our Life Development Pastor is late because of
food poisoning. To top it off, we have to make the announcement today
that he will no longer be with us because he is going to Bible college
(he wants to plant a church in the near future). The children’s area is
hot because one of the teens from the lock-in leaves a window open all
night. The air conditioning system has been programmed to lock out any
changes so we can’t get the rooms any cooler (sweating kids do not make
for happy parents). Almost half of our congregation is college
students, so the attendance for today has bottomed-out due to spring
break. During the worship time the YMCA phones keep ringing until we
have to finally unplug them. While I’m trying to deliver the message
the YMCA staff is cleaning up from the lock-in by loading equipment
onto a cart and rolling the squeaky-wheeled thing from one side of the
building to the other. A mom – who has refused to put their child in
our nursery because it’s too hot – is now trying to keep the kid from
screaming out in the service (which he has done for about ten minutes).
During my message the batteries die in my wireless so the Podcast is
toast. I finish with no microphone at all. It doesn’t really matter
because the squeaky-wheeled cart and screaming kid have overpowered any
sound system we possess. We finally get to the end of the service where
we announce the resignation of the Life Development Pastor (who has
finally arrived), thus totally bumming everyone out. As we are tearing
down the YMCA staff has discovered the "broken" phones and called the
Area Director – who has called the phone company in to fix them. When
it is discovered that the Compass Point staff unplugged the phones, the
Area Director informs us "not to touch their stuff again." About this
time the counters have informed me that we took up the lowest offering
in the recent history of Compass Point. It was at this point that I
began to envy the just-resigned Life Development Pastor.

Why did
I share this? Because I think too many times the PlanterBlogs.com guys
only tell the upside of church planting. Again, it is the greatest
experience in the world, but there are some really tough days. Days
when everything goes wrong and you just want to crawl in the bed to
hide. Days when you question your abilities and God’s faithfulness. I
believe, however, it is the days that suck that makes us more into what
God wants us to be – than, say the really mountain-top-experience days.

So how do you handle it when Sunday sucks?

I’m sure there are better, more experienced church planters out there with better ideas, but this is how I handled today:

1. Pray – Yeah, I know that sounds like a Sunday School answer, but I spent quite a bit of time this afternoon praying.

2. Trust – Trust that God still spoke to people even through all the crap.

3. Don’t Hurt Others – It’s easy to take a day like today out on the ones you love. Don’t!!! It’s not their fault and they don’t deserve it.

4. Analyze
– See what could be done better (like new batteries in the wireless)
and what you just can’t help (like emergency C-sections and food
poisoning).

5. Take A Break
– Get away from the church for the rest of the day (if you can). No
meetings, no phone calls, no visitation. Go to the movies. Go play
putt-putt. Go fly a kite. Whatever, but get away from the church
planter/pastor thing for a few hours to recharge the spiritual and
emotional batteries.

6. Forget It – Today is done. You’ll have another shot at it next week. Make the changes you need to make, but let it go from there.

I
hope this helps. If anyone else out there has a few ideas on what to do
when Sunday sucks, email them to me and I’ll post them here.

When Sunday Sucks