It was an honest mistake. You lost track of time. You were talking to someone. The drummer was in the bathroom. For whatever reason, you started a service late. No big deal.
Unless this isn’t this first time.
Churches that habitually start late create a problem that prompt churches rarely encounter: the lost 15 minutes.
When you start late, people come to expect it. They don’t mind running late themselves, because they know they won’t be missing anything. Before you know it, your service time will have shifted 15 minutes, inconveniencing everyone. If you ever need those 15 minutes, you’ll have a hard time getting them back.
If you’d like to break the cycle, your first step needs to be a commitment. Commit to start on time, every time—no exceptions. Communicate this to your worship team, and mean it. Then you’ll need to start front-loading services with important elements. Put the coolest, most interesting, and most important elements very first in the order of service. Know that most people are going to miss these things, but you need them to understand that the first 15 minutes of the service are important.
Have you ever fallen into the late-start rut? Did you escape? Tell us all about it in the comments!