I had my first colonoscopy a couple of days ago. It was an experience that I would prefer not to repeat very often. Fortunately the doctor gave me a good report and I am very grateful for that report. I am always looking for real life experiences to use in sermon illustrations. Much of what takes place surrounding a colonoscopy is probably not appropriate for sermon illustrations, at least not if I desire to remain in my pastorate. However, there are some lessons that can be learned from the experience that I believe are transferable to my ministry.
-Preparation is a big deal. Preparation for a colonoscopy is a full day experience, sometimes longer. The event took 20 to 30 minutes but the preparation for it was 24+ hours. I need to remember this more often in my ministry. The preparation is as, if not more, important than the event itself. In fact the outcome of the event is determined by the preparation.
-It takes a team. I encountered at least 14 different people in my short event at the hospital. The focus is on the doctor, but before the doctor did his/her thing I had engaged with 13 other people. I hope the doctor realizes how valuable the whole team is to his/her success. I was reminded of how many people are involved with a Sunday morning worship service as I went through this process. I must do better at thanking my team, and do better in praying for them and do better in making sure they realize how valuable they are to the whole process.
-A personal touch makes a difference. I had my own nurse from arriving in the procedure area until I was dismissed to leave. It was reassuring to have that same voice caring for me when I came out of the procedure as I had before I went into the procedure. I must remember that a personal touch makes a difference at church. Whether it is a greeter, a teacher, an usher, a worship leader, the pastor or the person who is seated nearby, a personal touch will be remembered.
-Encouragement is a big deal. I didn’t have anyone chanting my name as I went in for the procedure (that would have cool though). I did encounter many who assured me that they knew what they were doing and that I was in very good hands with all who were caring for me. I was encouraged by them saying that I would do fine and that I would do well as I went home. Encouragement is a powerful thing for everyone. We all have different needs when it comes to what type of encouragement speaks the best to us. But all of us do better with encouragement than without. We need to be great encouragers in the church and as we encounter people anywhere.
-Being treated with competence brings you back. Not that I am looking to go back and repeat this procedure just because I was treated well. However, I was encouraged by how they did their jobs so that when I need another medical procedure these are people I will choose. That is a transferable principle for the church and me as the pastor. I want us to do so well at what we do that people will have confidence to come back again.
Here’s hoping I will do better at these things in my ministry. What do you think of these lessons? Can you see how they apply to your ministry? What are you doing to see that they are being done where you serve?