What’s a doom loop?
Imagine you’re in an airplane, and suddenly you have some kind of mechanical failure. No problem, right? You just operate without whatever piece of equipment just went. But doing that strains another piece of equipment, which then fails. System after system fails, and ultimately, you lose control of the plane. You go into a spin, picking up G forces and losing consciousness. You frantically try other things to fix your problem, but nothing works and everything just gets worse.
That is a doom loop.
Many intimate congregations (fewer than 200 people) get caught into a doom loop. They have had some kind of failure or crisis and they try to fix the problem. Trying to fix the problem, they exacerbate it. Things get worse, so they try other things. Before too long, the entire thing is out of control, and they are frantically trying to do something.
Things go bad, so we react. Other things go bad, so we try something new. We never stop to realize we are in a loop. We think we are acting in a linear manner – meeting challenges one after another, but really we are never solving the problems completely and each subsequent problem begets the next problem.
What to do? How do you break the doom loop?
- STOP! Don’t keep trying to fix things. Stop doing so you can understand and act appropriately.
- GET HELP! Don’t find fixes. Consult someone with more knowledge of the problem. Find out what is causing the loop rather than trying to correct the loop’s symptoms.
- FOCUS! Come up with a plan – NOT TO CORRECT THE LOOP BUT TO RESTORE FLIGHT. Don’t focus on the loop. Focus on what it means to fly straight, to operate correctly.
That last one is absolutely vital. If all you’re trying to do is correct the loop, you will never get out of it. Focus on where you should be instead of where you are.
Stop the doom loop.