Author: Kenny Conley

52 Days Until Christmas

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to host Jingle Jam for our for a Family Experience the week before Christmas. I wrote about it here. Just a few weeks ago, we decided to double down on our Christmas experiences here at MISSION Church. Our vision at MISSION is to be an irresistible church for our next door neighbor and the next generation. In years past, we wouldn’t program for elementary aged kids because pulling off a program for elementary on Christmas Eve is challenging. However, not offering something for elementary kids really doesn’t align with our vision. All the...

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Checklists: Timing is Everything

When it comes to checklists, timing is everything. Knowing when to use the checklist matters almost as much as using it at all. Every checklist needs a pause point (or multiple pause points), a specific time when the checklist is supposed to be run. Sometimes the checklist needs specific instructions on when the checklist is supposed to be run and at other times, pause points are obvious. In the book “The Checklist Manifesto,” the author, an accomplished surgeon, was tasked by the World Health Organization to develop a system to save lives in field surgery centers in developing countries....

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What Makes a Good Checklist

We’ve written a lot about checklists. We’ve explored why checklists are important, how they work and what their implementation in ministry can actually look like. However, it’s important to look into the anatomy of a checklist. A great deal of research has gone into checklists and every checklist are by no means equals. There are good checklists and there are bad checklists. Let’s take a look at the differences between good and bad checklists. The following items make checklists bad: They are vague They are too hard to use They are too long They are impractical Checklists that try...

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Don’t Skip the Checklist

If you’re going to use a checklist, commit to the checklist. Choosing not to use it can undo all the efforts you’ve worked so hard to establish. Not using the established checklist can sometimes be the result of having the best of intentions. However, deviating from an established process, regardless your intentions, could be putting your work or even your organization at risk. This exact situation happened a few years ago in regard to her visit at a emergency medical center. A failure to follow a checklist put her life in jeopardy.  My wife, Sara has several food allergies....

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One Checklist Could Change Everything

If you’re a parent, you’re thankful for Virginia Apgar, a woman you never met. Virginia Apgar was a doctor from the 1950’s who very name has saved the lives of thousands (maybe millions) of infants over the past 6 or 7 decades. When we think of legacy and making the kind of impact that long outlives us, there are few greater examples than Dr. Apgar. And what is this legacy that she provided that has so impacted humanity? I’m so glad you asked. Dr. Apgar created a simple checklist when no one thought one was needed. This simple, five...

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Preparation First – Delegation Second

I remember something really embarrassing. I got an email from a parent who offered to come in and help in the office during the week. Her kids were in school and she wanted to serve by giving some of her time during the week. I was elated. There was far too much work for me to do on my own and the extra help would be greatly appreciated! However, as time went on, I started to panic. I didn’t know what to give her to do. As I looked through my lists of tasks, there weren’t very many things...

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Checklists > Job Descriptions

If you’re really serious about recruiting volunteers, you have probably created job descriptions for available volunteer positions. Specificity always trumps generalities. We can recruit people to work in the children’s ministry, but people tend to use their own imagination of what that might look like and opt out of what they sense to be a coming disaster. We’ll always be more successful when we recruit to a specific role. People want to feel good about making a difference, but what the really want to know is what it is they will be doing… specifically. This is where job descriptions...

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Facing Extinction

Here’s something to think about. Progress usually leads to innovation. Innovation then leads to complexity. With complexity then comes a revision of systems. Inevitably, the revision of systems leads to the elimination of things that are no longer necessary or helpful. Therefore, innovation leads to extinction. I remember the first time I flew out of the airport of my hometown of Valdosta, GA. The ticketing agent warmly greeted me with his thick southern draw as he transferred my suitcase to a bin behind him. Twenty minutes later, I looked out the window and actually saw the same man driving...

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Human Error: Ineptitude

Human error is a reality we face in nearly every segment of life. Our drive through order is wrong. The pants we bought are the right size, but they don’t fit. The cashier gives us the wrong amount of change. The email doesn’t go out when it is supposed to. We forget about the meeting we scheduled two weeks ago. Human error happens to us and human error happens because of us. Human error can be broken down to two primary causes: ignorance and ineptitude. Ineptitude happens when when we have the correct knowledge or skills, we just apply it...

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It’s Not Complicated

Sometimes we tend to over-complicate things. We over-think solutions. When something doesn’t work, we are tempted to make sweeping changes and re-think everything. Sometimes, the solution is really simple. So simple it is often overlooked. The difference between overwhelming success and glorious failure could depend on a slight modification. In October 1935, the US Army Air Corps had aircraft manufacturers compete to build the “next-generation long-range bomber.” Boeing’s design had the lead; everyone thought the flight trials would be just a formality. But, minutes after its smooth takeoff, the giant four-engine Model 299 stalled and “crashed in a fiery...

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