Last week we talked about the use of checklists as a means of gaining consistent performance of activities within your church. And I’d ended that post by saying that checklists are the foundation of many other benefits.
So, when is a checklist not just a checklist? When it is:
- A Teaching Tool
- An Outreach ministry
- A Trusting environment
- A Deeper Understanding
- A Community
- A Succession Plan
Let’s take each one in turn.
A Teaching Tool – Since the foundation of the checklist is how to perform a function, it will automatically become the basis for bringing new volunteers up to speed with respect to the things your group does and how they do them. That helps to remove a lot of stress from folks and actually encourages them to volunteer. And as the team leader, you know you have a tool that can be used to address concerns and help with learning
An Outreach ministry – One of the best ways to help bring new faces and fresh perspectives to the church is to have ministries that are relevant to the interests of your congregation and your visitors. The checklist becomes your discussion tool when you talk to potential volunteers and it gives them confidence that the function is well understood and well organized.
A Trusting environment – Since the checklist helps to organize the function, each team member knows what to expect and what’s expected of them. They know that their team members are equally prepared and trained which contributes to their trust in the team. There is nothing worse than discovering that something you rely on being completed in order to fulfill your function has not been done. The checklist avoids this becoming a source of frustration to the team and helps to reduce churn from the team.
A Community – Since each member of the team knows what to do and what to expect and they trust each other to do those things, camaraderie develops, and the team of volunteers becomes a team of friends. Now more folks who have an interest in what your team does will want to join because you are serving and having fun and they can see it.
A Deeper Understanding – Since the checklist will touch on “Before” and “After activities, it becomes a way to discover the myriad contributions of people who are regularly involved in the church functions. A better sense of what it takes to make the church function and worship happen results. Along the way, you may discover the next area where your skills could help to contribute even more. At the very least the ebb and flow of the church becomes more evident and appreciation for all the contributors develops.
A Succession Plan – One of the greatest benefits of checklists is that they alleviate the pressure usually felt by a team leader when it becomes necessary to find. There is no better feeling than knowing the function will continue in full force though you may not be there to lead it. Then when you depart you go knowing that you’ve left the role in better shape than when you had inherited or created it.
Finally, there is one objection to checklists that occurs from time to time – that they can increase rigidity and contribute to a “we don’t do that here” mentality. Truthfully that is always a risk in any human enterprise, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember the checklist was meant to be improved over time and our formula from the last post calls for repeated review. When that approach is used consistently improvements in the checklist and the process will occur in a very natural progressive fashion.
Please let me know what your thoughts are regarding this post and if there are other benefits that you may have experienced in your own use of checklists.
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