My family were visiting a Disney park and there was a major live show that we wanted to attend. For some reason the show was delayed and the arena couldn't be opened. There were hundreds of people queueing up to get into this attraction. And every moment that we had to wait a little longer, the restlessness in the crowd kept growing.
As the seething hordes started to rise up in mild discontent, there were two young female Disney staff members standing there try to stop around 500 people from simply pushing forward and forcing their way into the arena. What they did just then was magic. It showed that when the unexpected occurred … they were ready. They had prepared for this moment. They even embraced the moment.
One staff member stood up on a chair and called out into the hand-help megaphone: “Ladies and Gentlemen; just before you enter the arena you need to take the Disney oath. Everybody please raise your right hand and repeat after me …”
We all somewhat reluctantly raised our right hands. She called out again: “Repeat after me …"
“I … (state your name) …” With a bit of encouragement - the whole crowd called out: “I … state your name …” She continued: "I solemnly declare that I will be a great Disney guest today.” She paused while everyone repeated it. Then she continued: “I declare that I am looking forward to this great attraction.” (The crowd repeated each sentence). “This will be the highlight of my day” (pause and repeat). “I vow to tell my children and my grandchildren about this extraordinary event” (pause and repeat). "And when the gates open, I solemnly declare” … “that I will walk and I will not run” … "because the show is not going anywhere” … “and the show will be still there when I enter”.
By this stage the crowd was joining in enthusiastically. Everyone was laughing - and when the gates opened we all walked forward dutifully and took our seats.
The Disney team were prepared for the unexpected. They had taken the time to be trained for this moment. The unexpected did not catch them unaware. They embraced the unexpected. In one sense, the unexpected actually enhanced the experience of guests that day.
So - check the programmes and activities at your church. What happens when: it rains unexpectedly … or way too many (or too few) people show up … or there is an audio/visual hiccup … or the speaker hasn’t arrived … or … Does this unexpected hiccup catch you out.? Or have you anticipated it? Have you prepared for it?
When something goes wrong, does it derail your programme, or are you ready to embrace the unexpected?