How to Get a Family You've Upset to Come Back

I received a message that I was needed in the preschool hallway one Sunday morning.  

When I got there, I was met with a husband and wife who were extremely agitated, angry and upset.  

And for good reason.  They came to pick up their daughter after the service and she was not in the room.  

This obviously caused them to freak out.  Who wouldn't?  It appeared that someone else had picked up their child.  

We were able to find their child in another classroom.  Here's what had happened.  

The preschoolers left their rooms and went to a central location for chapel time.  After chapel time was over, the kids lined up again based on their classroom and walked the short distance back to their classrooms.   

Somehow the child had gotten in the wrong line and went back to a different classroom.  The teachers, who keep a list of kids in their classroom, forget to check their roles.  That is why their child was not in the room they had dropped her off at. 

We were quickly able to resolve the situation by checking the other classrooms.  She was there and we released the child to her parents. 

While they were relieved to find their daughter, they were upset about the breakdown of our safety and security policy....and rightly so.  The mother was crying and the father was visibly angry.  

After we released their daughter back to them, I talked with them and explained what had happened and apologized.  They left after that. 

I thought we might lose them over this.  When they left that is the vibe I felt from them.  

I've learned over the years, when you or your team does something that angers or upsets a family, you have to reach out to them and go the second mile to communicate with them and take steps to reconcile with them.  

For this family, I decided to write them a handwritten note.  In the note, I apologized for the mistake we made.  I let them know how much their family meant to us.  I let them know we are going to do training on this so it never happens again.  I let them know that we are committed to the safety and security of their family. 

I also did this - I gave them a gift card to a nearby restaurant. 

The next weekend they were back.  They made it a point to thank us for responding the way we did.  And the best news...they didn't leave the church. 

When a family gets upset in your ministry, consider taking steps like you read above.  This will soften their hearts and bring down their anger.  Show them that you care about their family.  Place a gift with your note if possible.  The gift shows that you really do care about their family. 

Your turn.  What do you do when a family gets upset?  Share your thoughts, insight and ideas with us in the comment section below.