As I browse youth pastor forums it is pretty common to come across the guy or gal asking for last minute help on a Saturday night. We have all been in this situation where we just know that we simply can’t make tomorrow happen. Whether it be the flu, a death in the family, or
you procrastinated all week, the truth remains the same: you have no idea how Sunday is going to work in your absence (or mental absence if you decided to wait until the last minute to plan).
I’ve been in this situation more than once and have even been guilty on the procrastination part… as everything else just “had to get done” before Sunday all the while neglecting Sunday planning itself. Here’s the deal, you and I need a backup plan. Even when we plan for the best, student ministry can be filled with the worst Sunday surprises:
- The projector goes out.
- Your guest speaker doesn’t show up.
- Your game is planned, but that volunteer didn’t pick up the supplies.
- All of a sudden you have a weird cough… unable to speak at program.
- You have 20 visitors from out of town just show up (yup, it’s happened)
Student pastors are notorious for thinking on their feet and getting creative. I think we earn that element because we have been through so many surprise Sundays. Sometimes surprises can be nice but surprises on Sundays usually aren’t welcomed. So, what do you do?
Each surprise/situation could have a different backup plan and perhaps each student pastor would address it differently but the point remains the same: THINK THROUGH ALL SURPRISES AND ESTABLISH A BACK UP PLAN.
Your staff and volunteer team should know about backup plans and where to find them. Have your team practice them, rehearse them and just know that one day you will use them. This will ease the nerves of many including yourself when you call in sick on Sunday, have a family emergency, or your guest speaker doesn’t show.
What kind of surprises have you encountered on Sunday? How did you handle them? What are your ideas for back up plans?