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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Passing the Baton

So, you have some checklists. Your welcome. You have volunteers who can do more than you’ve asked of them in the past. With the checklists, you’re ready to take your ministry to a new level. All you have to do now is simply hand over tasks. You need to sit down with your key volunteers. It’s time to release part of your responsibilities and hand them off – to a volunteer. Does this make your heart beat a little faster? What if the job doesn’t get done just like you like it? What if they don’t follow the checklist? What...

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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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Breaking Ministry Down

Some things never change. Fifty years ago, the job of kidmin was to lead kids to know Jesus. That is true of our job today and will be true of our job in another 50 years. Comparing other aspects of kidmin from today to yesteryear is very interesting (sometimes even funny). Just about everything has changed. EVERYTHING! The “job” of leading kids to know Jesus has grown in immeasurable ways in the last decade alone. Things such as: growing complexity of programming and events increased safety & security protocols expanding ministries and churches The “job” has become significantly more complex. Where someone...

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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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Human Error: Ignorance

In Europe around 1847, there was a huge problem. 1 in 10 women giving birth in hospitals died. A 10% mortality rate is awfully high for something as commonplace as childbirth. There was a doctor who was determined to discover why so many women were dying. His investigation led to what might be the problem. The location of where women gave birth was adjacent to where surgical procedures were performed. Many doctors would perform surgery and then come examine the women in labor. It turns out that these European doctors rarely washed their hands between surgery and examinations. They were...

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