About two months ago, I watched an episode of the Colbert Report on Hulu, probably the 3rd time I’ve watched the show. Near the end of the show, he interviewed an author (who was also a surgeon) about a book he’d written about checklists. I was intrigued, but quickly forgot about the book. About 3 months ago, my friend Sam Luce told me about the very same book, The Checklist Manifesto. My interest was piqued again. I was in the middle of a reading binge on productivity, so I ordered the book through Amazon.

As soon as I finished the book, I called Sam to discuss. I felt that this book has some significant implications for Kidmin. Our conversation has just begun, but I really feel that this will be one of those books that makes a mark on at least the ministry at my church… if not Kidmin on a greater scale. Time will tell.

This morning I was pleased to see that Sam wrote a post about checklists on his blog. Be sure to read it here. In his post he used a checklist for a check-in volunteer as an example. One of the items on the checklist was “smile.” It seems like a trivial and sub-intelligent item to put on a check-list, but it’s essential. I remember fromt he book where a checklist was created for how to restart an engine of a specific airplane when the engine dies in mid-flight. The first item on the check-list was “fly the plane.” Any person reading that checklist would probably think, “How dumb do you think I am?” However, experience has shown that when an engine dies in mid-flight, the panic and adrenaline associated with trying to get the engine restarted distracts pilots so much that they often forget the most important thing… to keep flying the plane.

Checklists aren’t for idiots or the forgetful. In an environment of complex, high-pressure and fast-paced situations, even the most intelligent people sometimes forget or overlook simple tasks, which is what makes checklist so important. They can even save lives.

So, if you’re in ministry, I highly recommend this book and I’d love your feedback as well. BTW, you can pick up the book right here.