Check-ins and check-outs
One of the easiest ways to introduce restorative practices into your congregation is by using check-ins and check-outs.
Check-ins and check-outs can be used with big and small groups.
Use check-ins at the beginning of your time together be that a short meeting or an all-day retreat.
Check-ins provide the opportunity for everyone to:
- speak without being interrupted
- be heard right at the beginning of participants’ time together
- learn to listen without commenting
- feel confident to speak
- get to know each other better
- settle in and begin to focus
Check-ins are not discussion times. Use a talking piece. Only the person with the talking piece speaks. Everyone else is silent
There are hundreds of possible check-in questions. Pick something nonthreatening everyone can answer. Here are a couple of examples:
- What did you need to do to get here today?
- Is there anything you need to let go of to be as present as possible?
- What’s been the best thing in your day so far?
- What’s one significant thing that’s happened to you since we last met?
A check-out allows participants to connect as their time together to an end. Check-outs are not discussion times.
Check-outs provide the opportunity for everyone to:
- be heard one last time
- reflect on the time together
- have a final shared time together
A possible check-out question:
What has been a blessing/hope/learning during this session?
It’s easy to forget about the check-out or just not bother with it, especially if you are down to the wire time wise. Check-outs, however, are an important part of a gathering and help build community.
If you are running short on time ask participants to answer in a word or a phrase. Most will. Some won’t. Nevertheless the check-out should move along quite quickly.