A conversation with Hope – deliberate practice in practice

Easter is a busy time at churches.

Sunday evening, after three services and lunch and naps and a drive, Hope and I headed for a wings place to use her coupon for a free dessert. Nancy enjoyed some time at home.

It was a fun time to talk. Among other things, we talked about working hard, about doing things well.  I made a distinction that, as I listened to myself (which happens occasionally) ended up being pretty helpful.

On one hand, I said, there times that we finish an event, a task, a project, and we say, “I should have done better. I could have done that differently. That wasn’t very good.” If we are unable to identify exactly what we could have done better, we probably are talking out of guilt or false modesty.

On the other hand, I said, there are times that we finish and we say, “This is what I can do better or differently the next time.”  When that happens, we are on our way to actually improving our effectiveness.

I asked if she understood. She did. She offered a perfect example (which I won’t share.) And if she does what she said she needs to, it will in fact improve her performance in a specific setting.

I do, however, have an example I can share from my own experience yesterday.

We, like many churches, usually hand out a bulletin, a program, every Sunday. Like many churches, we usually put an ad in the paper for Easter, inviting people. Like many churches, we usually print invitations for people to give to friends inviting them to Easter services.

This year we didn’t do any of that.

Instead, we produced a DVD with four segments about our church. (Here’s one of the video segments ‘starring’ me.) We tried to give guests and regulars a picture of what we are doing every week, not just on Sundays. We handed them out to every family group that came on Sunday.

A great idea. (And our attendance didn’t suffer)

However, we have already had some feedback that some people don’t know how to use a DVD. We also found out that our website didn’t list our special service times on the front page.

It would be easy to say, “we failed.” But that would be silly. More than 1150 people showed up and had a great and thoughtful morning. 400 family groups have DVDs. Some have already watched them. And only a couple people reported not having the times…but they did make it into the building anyway.

We can, however, do better in specific ways. We can do a video on how to play a DVD and play it in the service most likely to not know how to use this format.  We can make a checklist that says “for Easter, list times on the sign, in the newsletter, on the website.” We can keep looking for opportunities to be even more effective.

Hope knows what she’ll be working on this week. I know what I’ll be working on this week.

But what about you? What one thing do you know that you can fix in what you are already doing well?


3 responses to “A conversation with Hope – deliberate practice in practice

  1. God bless your family and Ministry.

  2. I’m good at making “to-do” lists–today I assigned some time blocks to the tasks. I’m a little off at the moment, but I have a means for seeing where I can adjust and get back on track.

    Good post, Jon. (And Hope and Nancy are blessed to have a man in their lives who gives and allows the time that is needed to be who they are.)

  3. The key to this kind of thinking, especially with annual events, is finding/building a system where you can easily and naturally pull it back out and remember when the time is right. I am so good at the review and soooo bad at the pulling it out and implementing it.