Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

What Message are You Sending?

calendarSeveral years ago, serving in a small church with a small youth group (less than a dozen), I had an event planned for the youth. After announcing the date & time, some youth stated that they would attend, others said they couldn’t make it. One of the youth leaders suggested that we postpone the event by one week so that more youth might attend as they said they might. I did ponder that for a while, but then I came to the realization that the youth that could attend the original date could not attend the following week if it was re-scheduled. I kept the original time and I caught flack for not being flexible.

What others did not realize is that not everyone will be able to attend every event. If I had rescheduled it for the following week when some said they could make it, then the message that would have been sent to the ones who could make the original date is that those for whom the event was rescheduled are more important and they were insignificant. That was not the message I wanted to send.

More recently, I was deciding on a date for a specific activity and I intentionally avoided a date I knew that at least one youth could not make because of another activity. I would have tried to accommodate others if I knew their activities as well, so it wasn’t making this one youth special, but knowing I cared enough to remember their activity did have a positive result. Ultimately, they did not attend the event. So even with intentional planning, some for whom it was accommodated could not make it.

So whether you intentionally try to accommodate those in your ministry with schedules or not, once you announce an event, publicize it, and receive notice of those attending, I would not reschedule it just because another could not make it. By doing so, you are saying, by your actions, that some are more important than the others because you accommodated them when they could not attend, but did not accommodate those who could.

Be careful of the unintended messages you send to others by your actions.

The Author

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