Published: 3 years ago

Beware the Emotional Postmortem

We’re just coming out of a two day conference our church hosted for almost 200 pastors. That conference was immediately followed by an all-church event that brought a couple thousand people together to talk about what it means to live sent.

If you’re playing along at home, that’s over 48 hours of set up, tear down, re-setting up, another round of tearing down, deep-in-the-weeds logistics, volunteer management, troubleshooting, putting out fires, crazy-long days and too-short nights. To say that our team is tired is a vast, vast understatement.

As one of the staffers who helps with events like this, I do my fair share of post-game film review. My proclivity in the aftermath is to trend to one of two extremes: pride or despair. Pride leads me to hoo-rah the event, celebrate with the team, and view it all through rose-colored glasses. Despair means I pick apart every detail, mope over what went wrong or what we could’ve done better, or send terse emails as I drown my sorrows in a Chick-fil-A biscuit. And in every event – every single one – there are opportunities to travel the path to one of those two destinations.

But on the morning after, the more balanced measure is the logical one. If you’re a part of an events team or just the one who happened to be in charge, it means you have to distance yourself from the emotion. Rather than always asking How did I feel? we should rather ask How did it work? 

Just like in our spiritual lives, the emotions of our event planning lives will betray us. The twin sins of pride and despair will lead us to an imbalanced debrief. Better to sit down with a blank screen and a clear mind and simply write down what happened. What was a win? What was a loss? Where were the combustion points? Where did we need more people? What questions did we forget to ask? What contingency didn’t we plan for?

Replaying the event from your morning-after emotions is like performing an autopsy on a relative: nothing good comes of it. Beware the emotional postmortem.


Related post: Debrief the Event

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