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Last Minute Cancellations

By Alexis

Picture this…

It’s the day of your retreat. Months of planning and hard work are about to pay off! You have the perfect guest speaker and worship band scheduled, in addition to amazing activities for your guests. But at the very last minute, you get a phone call. Your guest speaker just cancelled. Now what?

Initially, your first response will be to freak out. I know it’s easier said than done, but try to stay calm and take a deep breath. It’s hard to focus when that little voice in your head is freaking out. Once you have calmed down, jump into action! Yes, I’m talking about having a Plan B, C or maybe even D.

If your guest speaker cancels:

Plan B: So, your speaker cannot physically be at your event, but what about virtually? Ask if they could still present by using a videotelephony software like Skype, Facetime or Facebook Messenger. 

Plan C: Reach out to your pastor, youth pastor or a group leader. Let them know what is going on and ask if they are available to speak at your event. Discuss your theme and what you are wanting your guests to learn from your guest speaker.

Plan D: Bring a movie that relates to your event theme. Guests love a good movie, and this is a great way to fill that open time slot. However, there are a few things you need to know before you show a movie at your event. Click here to learn more.

If your worship band cancels (which is just as likely as your speaker canceling):

Plan B: Do you have a staff member or even someone in your church that plays a musical instrument or sings? If so, ask them to lead the praise and worship for your event, even if it is just for one night. If there is no time to bring a musical instrument, ask if your venue has instruments you can borrow. Like a good old fashion piano.

Plan C: Utilize backing tracks! By simply Googling, you can easily find companies that allow you to digitally download backing tracks with lyrics. For example, WorshipHouse Media is a wonderful resource to purchase and download worship music tracks with lyrics. Or try to contact your church office. Find out if they have praise and worship backing tracks. If so, ask if you could borrow a couple of tracks for your retreat.

Plan D: Are none of these alternatives panning out? What about just singing acapella? Sometimes when you take away the instruments, the lyrics become even more meaningful. Aca-believe it! If you were planning to sing a set of eight songs, sing two or three instead. That extra time at the end can be used for a group discussion, prayer time or just an extra break period for your guests.

Life happens. People get sick, the weather doesn’t cooperate, and emergencies come up. Ultimately, you may have to be flexible with your event schedule. With that being said, take a page out of the Boy Scout’s book and “Be Prepared” with a backup plan (or two).

Keep an eye out for our next blog on what to do when your AV system fails.

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626