Bytor is in need of advice


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Coming from a clerk:

Study your handbook. Know it inside and out. Know exactly what all of the policies are and follow them as best as you can. However, if you know all the policies but feel that going against policy will do more to bring an individual to Christ, don't hesitate to ignore the policy (evaluate on a case-by-case basis).

Be accurate in your reporting. There are a couple of things you will be required to report to your ward clerk every quarter. He'll likely be asking you for the number of families visited by home teachers, and the number of elders attending sunday meetings. Report these numbers by the definition (two phone calls to a family does not count as a visit). But more importantly, the handbooks say that you should be gathering the names of families who did not receive a visit, and the names of individuals who did not attend Sunday priesthood meetings. These lists will be far more valuable to them, especially if you know the names on the list and know why they are not being visited or are not attending.

Last piece of advice, pick a very dependable secretary. If your secretary does his job well, you'll be able to focus on the spiritual needs of your quorum without getting side tracked by the records and reports.

I know congratulations isn't the right word for receiving a calling, but I don't know what the right word is, so "Congratulations." Your quorum is in good hands.

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Guest mormonmusic

I have some advice from a former HPGL perspective.

1. Don't "rip" on the brethren when they don't do their home teaching unless you're actually moved by the Holy Ghost to do so. This only creates ill-will and I've never seen it heighten motivation when the Stake has done it to my quorum. I never did it because it just leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth, and hurts my relationship with them.

2. Report Hometeaching numbers on a best-efforts basis

Moe and I have disagreed with the reporting of Hometeaching numbers. In my view, he looks at it from a statistical and strict policy point of view, but I look at it from a motivational point of view.

Motivation for you as a leader that you've done your most with your families by meeting them at the highest level of contact they are willing to accept -- and if that means counting a letter, or a phone call as a visit, so be it. Also, motivation to that hometeacher who tried his heart out and got rejected. He needs to see that his efforts paid off in terms of having doing his best. I would report my best-efforts visits/contact in MLS and definitely kept the Stake off me.

If you subscribe to Moe's philosophy (which I believe he will consider not philosophy, but policy and procedure, and that's OK), then report home teaching on paper using your own system of defining a visit, breaking it out between actual visits and other contacts you consider a valid "best effort". Do this in your PEC meeting or in Stake PPI's. If I gave a name removal letter to the Bishop, and reminded him about it, I counted that family as home taught because I had done all I could. And that effort-based method of reporting home teaching is something I would report to my quorum, and the Bishop and Stake leaders in verbal meetings and reporting sessions. But again, if you like Moe's approach, then only report gold-standard visits in MLS, but keep your best efforts "visits" or contacts handy and ready when people start chastising you about low HT visits.

3. Send a home teaching report to the Stake before Ward Councils

If you have a quorum with bad numbers or a high proportion of uncommitted brethren, consider sending a brief home teaching report, listing the status of home teaching to your member of the Stake Presidency, High Councilor and Stake Exec Secretary a month or two weeks before Ward Councils or PPI's. In it, detail the ratio of companionships to families assigned, efforts you've made to contact famlies to find the level of contact they want, any mailing lists you're doing, and the percent of families you know nothing about, how you deal with new move-ins, etcetera, PPI's you're holding etcetera, and your efforts to get home teaching working in your ward.

Our stake would come and tell me my records weren't clean when they saw we had 99 prospective elders and only 1 active, when really these 98 brethren had all rejected us when we approached them about the Church. They would indicate we weren't doing enough about home teaching when we were really pushing ourselves, but just had a lot of people who were uncommitted in spite of our best efforts.

This way, when they attend your Ward Council, they will have the homework they SHOULD have done prior to making assumptions about your effectiveness/effort as a priesthood leader. Don't wait for them to do their homework -- do it for them so they can make it a good visit.

4. In PEC, report on.... the % visits, % contacts, families not assigned, families not visited in last three months, brethren not assigned to be home teachers, brethren not home teaching for more than 3 months, and the number of PPI's you held that month -- there might be more in the manual, but that will give the bishop an idea of how well the program is being administered.

5. If you can get a secretary, then consider making them responsible for setting up PPI's. I did them at Church so at least they got done. The brethren appreciated them, although sometimes they refused to come if they felt there was nothing to discuss.

6. Don't let home teaching be your only area of focuss -- focus on planning the work of the quorum such as service projects, socials, temple activities, and such. I think this energizes the Ward and makes it a happening place to be, which attracts people when they show up spontaneously after year sof inactivity.

I had a participative process for developing our quorum's plan tha worked fabulously.

7. Don't be afraid to hold conference calls to conduct Church business, like presidency meetings. We did this regularly and had spiritual experiences over the phone. There is free conference calling services out there is you do an Internet search, and most people have 3-way calling on their phones, and if you have a fourth person, one person calls 2 other people, and then one of those other people conference calls the fourth person so you can have a four-way call.

8. Don't expect anything of your Bishop -- do your calling to the best extent possible and try to take the burden off him as appropriate.

9. Delegate as much as possible. Someone once said "I wouldn't put my own hat on if I could get someone else to do it". The most effective quarter I had, I wasn't present at any of the service projects or socials due to work scheduling conflicts, and it didn't matter either -- they were all conducted by my assistants and secretary.

10. Delegate the weekly lessons on quorum meetings to someone in the quorum, consultatively if possible.

11. Focus on new move-ins -- every month, consider them to be your home teaching route. Welcome them to the ward, find out if there are non-members, and also get the missionaries involved in teaching. We turned up A LOT of referrals and saw good results from visiting new move-ins. That was my home teaching for 3 years.

12. For those inconvenient, spur of the moment service needs that come across your desk, ask the brethren who won't do home teaching FIRST. If someone needs a blessing that evening, then call those brethren and let them know so and so is sick and needs a blessing. Put the onus on them to find their own companion too, if they don't have one.

I found they usually did it for me. It's harder to say "no" to your priesthood leader when there's a pressing need.

Edited by mormonmusic
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As the High Priest Group Leader of my Ward, when I have a meeting with my Assistants I always notify them in advance in person or by email as to when I would like to have the meeting and I email them a copy of the agenda for the meeting. In my humble opinion, unless there is a real purpose for having a meeting, then the meeting can become a waste cof everyone's time. So, do not call for a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting. I also try to keep all of my meetings within a 1 hour time frame. I am a firm believer that "Meetings do not have to be everlasting to be eternal." One other thing that I would suggest is to keep all members of your quorum actively engaged. One thing that I am going to be working on for the High Priests is a teaching schedule in order that others besides myself and my Assistants have a chance to teach the lessons. I hope this helps.

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1. Pray

2. Do personal priesthood interviews monthly with each elder (split it up with your counselors). You can even do most of them by phone. I have a good powerpoint presentation on PPIs if you want me to email it to you.

3. Pray

4. Delegate. It is the Quorum that is supposed to do things. You can't do it all yourself.

5. Minister more than administer. Spend less time in meetings, and more time focused on individuals. PPIs and other efforts should be focused on helping families and individuals.

6. Pick excellent instructors for Sunday instruction who stick with the manual and scriptures

7. Get with the High Counselor assigned to your ward and have him give you training and instruction. You work directly for the stake president, and as a support for the bishop.

8. Did I mention prayer?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest mormonmusic

Also, seek a confirmation that this is what the Lord wants you to do. That was my downfall -- the frustration level can be really high in that calling because you're deeply accountable for results, but have no real authority over the people, notwithstanding your calling as "one of the Lord's annointed".

I just took the calling on faith; wish I had've sought a deep confirmation first so I had that silver lining when things got hard and frustrating.

There may well be times when this is so, particularly as you get confronted with a lot of effort that doesn't necessarily lead to any immediate, visible results.

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