We All Make Mistakes: The 60-Second Church Service

We All Make Mistakes: The 60-Second Church Service

March 19, 2018 by

In celebration of our newest book, You’ve Got This: A Pep Talk for Church Communicators by Kelley Hartnett, we’ve been talking about mistakes. Kelley shares one of her mistakes in the book, and rather than being ashamed, our failures are an opportunity to improve.

We asked for your best mistake stories, and we got some whoppers. The five best stories won a copy of Kelley’s book, and we’re going to share those winners.

The 60-Second Church Service

Here’s one of our winners:

I run the media booth at church. On Sundays, everything is up on the screen: announcements, hymns, responsive readings, etc. I prepare the Sunday service and announcements in PowerPoint, and like to review them both quickly by making my final drafts transition automatically every two seconds. At church, I change them to transition manually.

One Sunday I forgot to switch the PowerPoint slides to advance manually. The entire service zipped by in about 60 seconds while I turned my back to sip my coffee. Laughter brought me back to reality. More than one parishioner wanted to know if they could then go home! -Terri Betts

Oops. At least that’s a mistake where everybody laughs.

It still deserves a pep talk.

Thanks for sharing. It takes guts to share your mistakes.

How to Stop the 60-Second Church Service

Church slides are notorious for mistakes, though usually it’s the dreaded typo. A proofreading checklist can help you there, though a mistake like this is more about the process.

So in addition to a proofreading checklist, you should have a technical checklist:

  • Make sure nothing is automatically advancing.
  • Ensure any images, videos, and fonts are properly embedded, especially if you have to move a slide presentation from one computer to another.
  • Are you ready for an emergency? Have a plan in case your pastor calls an audible or you spill coffee all over your computer. What will you put up on the screen?
  • Make sure anyone working your slides is fully trained. It can be jarring when someone hits the wrong button and the presentation quits and shows the desktop. Doh.

You might want to consider switching from PowerPoint to church presentation software.

We All Make Mistakes

Remember that we all make mistakes. Some are funnier than others.

Have a laugh, figure out how to fix it, and move on.

We all make mistakes. The best of us learn from them.


Still need a pep talk? Check out You’ve Got This: A Pep Talk for Church Communicators. And check out some of our other mistake stories:

Need more help? Our Courageous Storytellers membership site has a number of resources to stop mistakes, including proofing checklists and how to vet proofreaders.

Need a pep talk?

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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