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How Do You Deal with Disappointment?

The dictionary defines disappointment as the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest themselves.

And the fact is that disappointment is inevitable in church planting. People will let you down. You will let down people. Things will get screwed up. Plans will go awry.

So how do you deal with disappointment? Do you take it out on the people around you? Do you withdraw? Do you let your responsibilities  go? Do you let it consume you? All of these are negative responses.

I am learning that disappointment is connected to unrealistic expectations. Someone once told me that unrealistic expectations is the chief reason many plants fail.

The first question I ask myself when I am disappointed is: was my expectation of outcome realistic? If it wasn’t, there’s nothing to be disappointed about. But if the expected outcome was realistic then disappointment is a natural response. And I am learning that the only way for me to really deal with my disappointment is to give them to God in prayer.

What about you?


  1. Nathan DeCaro says:

    Normally, I will allow disappointment to consume me. When I disappoint someone I always try to make it right. When someone disappoints me I try to forgive and move on now. In the past however, I didn’t offer any forgiveness, I would just tend to isolate myself from those who have disappointed me. I guess I still do this, since my family has disappointed me and I don’t hardly ever speak to them anymore.

  2. I have to agree with Nathan. When disappointed enough, and I give the benefit-of-the-doubt. I let “some” people go a few times disappointing, or letting me down. Then after that I’m done. I walk away. Now someone I don’t know doesn’t get that many chances. I know the things that get to me are minuscule in the grand scheme of things, but. You just expect (maybe to much) from some people. Anyway that’s just my opinion and we all know what thats like :)

  3. I’m a planner, so I plan for disappointment with the planters I work with. Yeah, I know it sounds morbid. But here’s the thing: 9 times out of 10 disappointment is wrapped up in numbers. Pastors and planters aren’t the one’s who build the church. Jesus is. It reveals an area of life where we need to let the gospel take hold. Our identity isn’t in the numbers but in the One who created us.

  4. Lucas Motley says:

    I think I tend to be more confrontational. I always say, “I never kick people out of working in the arts ministry, I just make it easy for them to quit.” Not that I’m trying to run them off, but I resonate with Tony when he says he lets some people slide and some not. If you and I have a good relationship and I think you are trying I’ll be infinitely patient, but if we don’t have a good personal relationship it is just easier to say, “This is the expectation and you are not meeting it, so what do you think we should do about that?” Then they usually “take a break.” I do this so I can say that I don’t ignore the problem, but really it is just a different way to get away from disappointing situations quick and easy.

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