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Home » Church Leadership, Featured

How to Handle Unmet Expectations in Ministry

Submitted by James Higginbotham on December 8, 2008 – 5:35 amNo Comment

I’ve recently witnessed some issues related to how people deal with unmet expectations. Dealing with situations within your ministry that don’t meet your expectations is important. In fact, I think it is really a true test of our character.

Let me give you an example. Suppose that a volunteer within your ministry is not performing well when it comes to building the overhead slides for your worship service. The slides have spelling errors and the song lyrics were in the wrong order. How would you handle this? Right now, you could think of a calm way to handle it, right? How about when one or more of your staff come to you asking why it happened, then you see the person responsible around church. How will you react then? Are you able to keep calm and address the issue, or do you “go off” and ruin their day of worship with family?

So, how can we deal with the situation properly? Here are some suggestions I have learned over the years:

  1. Accept criticism from others, apologize for the breakdown, and offer to make it better going forward
  2. Pray that God would help resolve the situation peacefully and with all glory to Him, not the person(s) involved
  3. Schedule a time to chat with the person(s) that were responsible for the breakdown at a time in the future when you are calm down and free of the immediate emotion of failure
  4. Write a half-page of notes that include the problem, possible solutions, and a recommendation of what you would like to see
  5. Review the notes with the person(s) involved, asking for input on other possible solutions
  6. Agree to a single solution. This may involve a change in workflow, or simply encouraging others to help out if someone is short on time and can’t produce the quality desired
  7. Pray with the team regarding the solution, being thankful for each person involved

How we react when things don’t go our way is a true test of character. I’ve failed at it numerous times, and I imagine you have as well. Failures creates emotions, both for you and anyone else involved directly or indirectly. Resolve to deal with the situation calmly and in the proper time using the suggestions above and hopefully you’ll handle failures and unmet expectations better in the future. I pray that I will!

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