Have you ever met someone for coffee, only to have them show up late? Or gone to a meeting that was supposed to start at 6pm but started closer to 6:20? Or gone to a church service that was supposed to start at 9am but started closer to 9:13.
It’s frustrating. It’s also disrespectful and I think it hinders your influence in life.
Here are three things that being on time shows:
Your Leadership, Influence and Time
1. It shows respect to the person you are meeting with (and their time). When you’re late you communicate, “I’m more important than you.” Now you would never say this, but being late can be an attempted power play. It shows a lack of care for the other person because it says, “Your time isn’t as valuable as my time, and what you have after this isn’t as important as this is.” You can’t make that decision.
2. It shows you are self disciplined. When you are late (even though it will happen sometimes), it often shows you aren’t disciplined. Maybe your previous appointment went long, which means you should let the person know you will be late. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for someone who is late and not knowing when they will be there. So let the person know.
But being on time means you have planned your day, you know how long a drive will take or how long a meeting will take. It also means you keep meetings on track and don’t allow a 30 minute meeting to become a 90 minute meeting.
3. It shows you have your priorities in line. As a leader or a person who wants to have influence, your priority is people. Wasting their time by being late shows your priorities are out of line. It also shows you think higher of yourself than the other person.
Church and Time
Now let’s apply all of these to a church.
Why? So many churches and church plants don’t start on time. I remember when we first started Revolution and it was 10am, and the only people in the auditorium were myself, the band and the tech team. Our worship leader looked at me and said, “Do we start?” I thought for a minute and said, “Yep, we start on time.”
1. It shows respect to the people who came (and their time). Time is important in our culture, and we don’t like it when someone else wastes our time. For a church, you want to communicate to guests (and they are usually on time) that you will respect their time. This communicates, we will respect you. It communicates care and respect to the kids’ workers, because churches that start late often go late, and that is a fast way to lose kids’ workers. (They often have enough stuff planned for the allotted time, so if you go over, the Holy Spirit better be sending revival!)
Pastors often think, “We are supposed to start at 10, but most people don’t show up until 10:10, so we’ll start at 10:12.” Here’s what you just told everyone in your church: “We start at 10:12 so come then.” Which means they’ll show up at 10:20.
2. It shows you are disciplined. A lot happens on a Sunday morning, and it is easy to fall behind schedule or start late, especially if you are a portable church. This means to start on time you need systems to make sure things get done in a timely manner and aren’t stressful. Are some mornings stressful? Yes. Do things break and fall apart? Yes. But that shouldn’t be the norm.
3. It shows you have your priorities in line. Again, people are your priority, and if you as a church care about their time, whether they are a guest, a member or a volunteer, you communicate care to them. When you don’t prioritize time, you communicate you don’t care.