I remember when our youth ministry was launching a new type of event that we were really excited about. We had momentum online, my student core team told me about all their friends that were coming, and the event was an ace in the hole.
And then it happened. Canadian winter.
Two hours before our event, the weather took a turn for this worse. Blanket snow storm. Now in my parts, the weather is crazy unpredictable. So it’s always a challenge trying to make a decision about canceling youth group over the weather because things can change so quickly.
My gut was telling me to not cancel and to just push through and make the event happen. We put so much effort into this night. It would be a great opportunity to connect new students to our group. It would be something our students would be talking about for months.
So the thought of canceling was unnerving.
Just to cover my bases, I called my pastor to check to see what he thought. He said:
“WELL, I KNOW MY DAUGHTER REALLY WANTS TO GO, BUT I WOULD RATHER NOT DRIVE HER.”
Up until I had that conversation, I was thinking about how much we’d lose if we canceled the event but I didn’t think about what we would gain if we cancelled.
By canceling the event, the parents of our students would thank us.
By canceling we would prevent arguments between a parent (who didn’t want to drive) and their teen (who didn’t care and wanted to go hang out with their friends anyway).
Yes, our students would be disappointed. But our program isn’t as fragile as I was acting. The students would get over it.
If we decided to run the event we would’ve had some short-term wins. We would’ve had fun. We would’ve made memories. We would’ve connected with new students.
However, by canceling we would gain one big long-term win.
Whenever you have the opportunity to build trust and put relational change in your pockets with parents, jump on it.
So when should we cancel our program? When parents get the win.