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Guest mormonmusic

Creative Church Design

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Guest mormonmusic

Some have argued in other threads that the role of a Bishop is too diverse for a lay clergy to handle effectively. I've even heard Bishops admit this.

I was talking with our recently released HPGL who is a former Bishop.

I proposed a structure where the role of the Bishop is altered.

In the Ward is a Ward Welfare Director who handles welfare issues only. He reports to a Stake Welfare Director, who then reports to the Stake President. These Ward Welfare Directors are men of judgment, who receive a lot of training and oversight by the Stake in how to use the funds. They have budgetary control and check signing control on a Stake welfare account -- independent of the Ward funds. There would still have to be two signatures, perhaps in concert with a Ward financial clerk. They would also handle all the transient requests for welfare assistance.

The Bishop is not accountable for the use of these funds -- the Ward Welfare Director is. However, the Bishop is responsible for seeing that correlation happens with the Ward Welfare Director and the Ward leaders through the appropriate Ward committee to see that non-monetary needs are met by the Ward.

If you are capable of rethinking issues like these, without seeing them as simply not practical since we never do it this way, I would be interested in yoru opinion as an interesting organizational design exercise.

I have found that Bishops spend a lot of their time dealing with welfare issues in some wards. And often, are unable to do things which make for stronger programs, such as BYC...this could be one way to ease the burden specifically in Wards where there are a lot of welfare needs.

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The problem is not unwillingness to "think outside the box". The problem is that our hierarchical structure is divinely revealed. We are not in a position to instruct the Lord how best to administer his kingdom.

In principle, the bishop need not be the same man as the ward president. One high priest (the bishop) might be called to preside over the priests quorum and the Aaronic Priesthood in the ward and also see to the temporal needs of the ward members, while another high priest (the ward president or presiding high priest) could see to the spiritual needs and counseling of the ward. But in practice, these two roles always go together. So until the Lord sees fit to tell us to separate the roles, I don't see it happening, nor do I see the need for it to happen. I trust that the Lord knows best how to administer his kingdom.

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Separating the temporal from the spiritual would be a mistake in my opinion. In our lives we are trying to gain spiritual control over the temporal so it would seem backwards to separate the two. We would do better to emphasize the importance of the spiritual in our temporal dealings not deemphasize it.

Bishops do have a lot of work, not denying that. Isn't that why they have counselors? Perhaps the thing to do is learn to delegate more when ever possible. I know in some wards the bishops try to do the RS presidents job as well as their own, adding a huge amount of extra burden on themselves as well as depriving the RS president of the blessings of doing her calling.

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Guest mormonmusic

I was a Bishop's counselor, but there are certain things Bishop's can't or won't delegate as they fall under their purview. Some of them are just far too busy, and even if they delegate everything they can, there is still a lot for them to do. One estimate was 35 hours a week on top of their other life responsibilities.

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I proposed a structure where the role of the Bishop is altered.

In the Ward is a Ward Welfare Director who handles welfare issues only. He reports to a Stake Welfare Director, who then reports to the Stake President. These Ward Welfare Directors are men of judgment, who receive a lot of training and oversight by the Stake in how to use the funds. They have budgetary control and check signing control on a Stake welfare account -- independent of the Ward funds. There would still have to be two signatures, perhaps in concert with a Ward financial clerk. They would also handle all the transient requests for welfare assistance.

The Bishop is not accountable for the use of these funds -- the Ward Welfare Director is. However, the Bishop is responsible for seeing that correlation happens with the Ward Welfare Director and the Ward leaders through the appropriate Ward committee to see that non-monetary needs are met by the Ward.

The problem I see with this is now you've got more people that are dealing with some confidentiality type things instead of just the Bishop and probably the Relief Society President if there is a female in the home involved.

People complain about possibly the Bishop not keeping confidences...how would it be with more people "in the know." Even about financial situations within a home.

For me, personally, I would not like it at all. You don't think that Relief Society Presidencies don't also spend numerous hours on their callings as well?

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The direction the Church is currently going is to refocus roles to where they need to be. Bishops need to focus on youth, being judge in Israel, and coordinate efforts in the ward.

Elder's Quorum Presidents and High Priest Group Leaders are now being considered the "bishops of the adults and families". We can also see Relief Society Presidents as the "bishop of the sisters." We will see the leaders of the MP/RS use the resources at hand to deal with welfare, counseling, etc. No longer will it all be the bishop's job, but the bishop will turn many issues over to the MP/RS to handle.

In our stake (I'm on the high council), the High Councilors take a very big role in guiding and training the HPGL/EQP in the wards. The Stake Presidency is busy teaching bishops how to let go of many things they have traditionally done, and just give it basic oversight through coordination and councils. And the stake RS presidency teaches the RS presidents in the units how to function as a priesthood support over the sisters.

In this way, the bishop does not need to be an expert on welfare. The quorums will produce the expertise, and use it as needed, or find assistance in the community if needed. If a person or family needs counseling, the MP/RS will manage it, while providing feedback to the bishop in the ward council, so that the bishop can better coordinate the efforts of the ward organizations.

We are teaching the units the importance of group revelation. As Elder Ballard taught in a couple General Conference talks in 1993/1994, such group revelation creates a synergism. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Bishops no longer dictate what will occur, but will received inspired input from the Council, and then prayerfully determine the best method from the insight given from all.

This is the inspired method given of the Lord. It is the method that will work, without going outside of revealed authorized priesthood channels.

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Guest mormonmusic

The problem I see with this is now you've got more people that are dealing with some confidentiality type things instead of just the Bishop and probably the Relief Society President if there is a female in the home involved.

People complain about possibly the Bishop not keeping confidences...how would it be with more people "in the know." Even about financial situations within a home.

For me, personally, I would not like it at all. You don't think that Relief Society Presidencies don't also spend numerous hours on their callings as well?

First, if you look at the model Rameumpton described, there is still a lot of people who will know about welfare issues. Also, when I was an HPGL, I knew about a lot of them, so did the RS President, etcetera. The Bishop would ask people's opinion a lot of the time in Ward Welfare Council....(although I hear that council doesn't exist? I've forgotten). I found there wasn't a lot of confidentiality anyway, so I don't think we are losing on the count.

Regarding RS having a lot to do -- agreed, but one issue at a time, that's all I can say.

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I just always have a hard time with threads that discuss or insinuate that the way things are done need to be changed. It's as if we are saying that the inspired way the Church is run is wrong. I'm with Vort when he says we don't tell the Lord how to run His church.

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Guest mormonmusic

I just always have a hard time with threads that discuss or insinuate that the way things are done need to be changed. It's as if we are saying that the inspired way the Church is run is wrong. I'm with Vort when he says we don't tell the Lord how to run His church.

I find it disturbing that people find it threatening in this way. For some reason, I don't. In fact, the idea that there are multiple ways of achieving the same objective is liberating to me and is one reason I've managed to maintain activity and high levels of commitment to the Church.

I find it interesting, and have these kinds of conversations with long-in-the-tooth, Temple Recommend-holding members in my Ward who have been Bishops.

So, don't take this as an insinuation or challenge to authority as I believe you do. For me, it's an interesting organizational design issue, especially since the last iteration of the CHI made alterations which I understand are meant to start addressing this very issue.

Edited by mormonmusic

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I find it disturbing that people find it threatening in this way.

It is not a matter of being "threatening". It is a matter of being inappropriate.

I think one of the most objectional statements I have ever heard is "after the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done". It wouldn't be surprised if prophets themselves would disagree with such a statement.

Then you will not be surprised to find that the prophets have indeed declaimed the statement. So why are you bringing it up? What does it have to do with this discussion?

Are you insinuating that Pam and/or I have suggested any such thing?

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The prophets are just expanding what has always been out there. The Ward Council is the group that becomes the ruling group in a ward. An effective Ward Council can change things greatly for a ward and its members, making the overall effectiveness and efficiencies surge. And it isn't a new thing. Elder Ballard spoke about councils back in 1993/1994 in General Conference.

There isn't a need for a ward welfare director. We already have a council that handles that.

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Guest mormonmusic

I have this feeling we aren't going to agree on this. I think we're pursuing an interesting discussion for a while in the OP, and then it gets this "you're disloyal" interference I don't see, which then drags the conversation into a seemingly personal debate about motives.

I wasn't aware of the declaiming you mentioned, and I'm in full agreement with that. I'm relieved by it. And therefore, I don't object one bit to people thinking deeply about issues like these

So, if anyone would like to explore the issue in the opening post further, then so be it, but I find this sideline conversation rather annoying, and far from the point of my original post. Therefore, I see little value in pursuing that part of it any further.

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I have this feeling we aren't going to agree on this. I think we're pursuing an interesting discussion for a while in the OP, and then it gets this "you're disloyal" interference I don't see, which then drags the conversation into a seemingly personal debate about motives.

The only inferences that struck me as personal were the ones you made.

I wasn't aware of the declaiming you mentioned, and I'm in full agreement with that. I'm relieved by it. And therefore, I don't object one bit to people thinking deeply about issues like these

You have failed to answer my questions:

"So why are you bringing it up? What does it have to do with this discussion? Are you insinuating that Pam and/or I have suggested any such thing?"

So, if anyone would like to explore the issue in the opening post further, then so be it, but I find this sideline conversation rather annoying, and far from the point of my original post. Therefore, I see little value in pursuing that part of it any further.

You asked for thoughts. I gave you my thoughts. You then say, "No, those aren't the thoughts I want to hear!"

So whose fault is that?

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The problem I see here is stewardship. There are proper lines of authority to discuss improvements in how these things are done. If you want to see a better organization then it makes more sense for you to use those organizational interests to work on places you do have stewardship.

Perhaps the Lord will be impressed and put you to work where He sees you can be useful.

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Guest mormonmusic

You know Vort, you remind me a bit of Gunther in the movie Rob Roy -- there was a scene when Gunther challenged Rob Roy to a duel of swords over some issue of unknown importance, with the rule that "the first person who shows blood loses".

Rob Roy agrees to the challenge, and then gentl.y draws his hand across Gunther's outstretched sword, intentionally drawing blood from the ensuing light cut. Roy shows the blood to Gunther and says to Gunther:

"You Win".

Vort, I'm concerned this will turn into a contest that doesn't really settle any differences as I've followed your discussions before. Plus I'm not really interested in the direction you seem to want to take this.

Therefore, my response to your outstretched set of questions is:

"You win". [shows blood on his hand].

Edited by mormonmusic

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Vort, you remind me of the character Gunther in the movie Rob Roy. Gunther disagreed with Roy on an issue of uknown importance to Rob Roy. To settle the matter, Gunther proposes a sword duel with "the person who shows blood first loses". Gunther displays his outstretched sword, ready for battle.

Roy gently passes his hand over Gunther's outstretched blade, drawing blood. Roy then holds up his hand, displaying the blood. He says to Gunther...

"You win".

I'm concerned that the line of questioning you are proposing will not lead to anything productive. I don't agree, and am not really all the interested in convincing you otherwise. So, to your outstretched questions, I say:

"You win" [MM shows blood on hand].

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MM, where did you think this Ddscussion was going to go?

I have to agree with Pam and Vort. It is not our place to tell the Lord how to run his church.

Its not about thinking outside or inside the box... (reminds me of my favorite book "C in the Box") Its really about obedience. Until changing the way things are done is within your sphere of influence I see discussions like this pointless.

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I find it interesting, and have these kinds of conversations with long-in-the-tooth, Temple Recommend-holding members in my Ward who have been Bishops.

Are you aware of the changes, and allowance/expectation for additional delegation made in the new 2010 handbooks? These are changes that past bishops did not operate under, and likely are not fully aware of. Ram and his stake are following the direction of the First Presidency to delegate more away from the Bishop's role.

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MM, where did you think this Ddscussion was going to go?

I have to agree with Pam and Vort. It is not our place to tell the Lord how to run his church.

Its not about thinking outside or inside the box... (reminds me of my favorite book "C in the Box") Its really about obedience. Until changing the way things are done is within your sphere of influence I see discussions like this pointless.

While I understand the sentiment that we shouldn't be telling the Lord how to run his church, we do need to recognize that administrative policy changes are rarely initiated from the Office of the First Presidency. Policy changes usually have their origins at local levels, when it becomes clear that the current policies aren't sufficient to meet the needs of local leaders.

It was mentioned that the ward welfare committee meeting was discontinued. This was a change that was enacted throughout the church when the 2010 edition of the handbooks was released in November, 2010. In June, 2010, I had a conversation with someone in a western stake that mentioned they had been instructed to discontinue ward welfare committee meetings quite a bit earlier. Turns out, they were part of a pilot program to see how well units functioned under a newly proposed paradigm that grew out of ideas from local leaders about how to administer the ward more effectively.

Surprisingly few of the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have ever been bishops or stake presidents, and most certainly haven't sat in that role in a long time. It shouldn't shock anyone that they rely on feedback from local leaders on more efficient ways to administer the ward.

So if mormonmusic observes that welfare needs are not being sufficiently met in his unit, he ought to be encouraged to find a solution.

On the other hand, local leaders shouldn't simply change their administrative policies on a whim. They ought to build proposals, submit them to leaders, and seek approval before implementing ideas that aren't clearly authorized by the handbooks.

Seeking to improve a the Church's form of administration is not the same as seeking to fix the Church's form of administration, and the intentions of the person raising the question ought to be given consideration before condemning or approving the attempt.

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THREAD RECAP:

mormonmusic: I proposed a structure where the role of the Bishop is altered...I would be interested in yoru opinion as an interesting organizational design exercise.

Vort: [opinion]

annewandering: [opinion]

pam: [opinion]

rameumptom: [opinion]

mormonmusic: I find it disturbing that people find it threatening in this way...I think one of the most objectional statements I have ever heard is "after the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done".

Vort: It is not a matter of being "threatening". It is a matter of being inappropriate...Are you insinuating that Pam and/or I have suggested any such thing?

mormonmusic: I find this sideline conversation rather annoying.

Vort: You asked for thoughts. I gave you my thoughts. You then say, "No, those aren't the thoughts I want to hear!"

mormonmusic: [Rob Roy and Gunther! Cut my own hand with a sword! Look! Blood! So you win, but really I'm just dismissing you and avoiding your question!]

I guess I have to agree with applepansy's question: Where did you think this discussion was going to go? Were you hoping to have lots of people agreeing with you about the woeful deficiencies of the Church's hierarchical structure and brainstorming all sorts of cool and enlightened alternatives?

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While I understand the sentiment that we shouldn't be telling the Lord how to run his church, we do need to recognize that administrative policy changes are rarely initiated from the Office of the First Presidency. Policy changes usually have their origins at local levels, when it becomes clear that the current policies aren't sufficient to meet the needs of local leaders.

It was mentioned that the ward welfare committee meeting was discontinued. This was a change that was enacted throughout the church when the 2010 edition of the handbooks was released in November, 2010. In June, 2010, I had a conversation with someone in a western stake that mentioned they had been instructed to discontinue ward welfare committee meetings quite a bit earlier. Turns out, they were part of a pilot program to see how well units functioned under a newly proposed paradigm that grew out of ideas from local leaders about how to administer the ward more effectively.

Surprisingly few of the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have ever been bishops or stake presidents, and most certainly haven't sat in that role in a long time. It shouldn't shock anyone that they rely on feedback from local leaders on more efficient ways to administer the ward.

So if mormonmusic observes that welfare needs are not being sufficiently met in his unit, he ought to be encouraged to find a solution.

On the other hand, local leaders shouldn't simply change their administrative policies on a whim. They ought to build proposals, submit them to leaders, and seek approval before implementing ideas that aren't clearly authorized by the handbooks.

Seeking to improve a the Church's form of administration is not the same as seeking to fix the Church's form of administration, and the intentions of the person raising the question ought to be given consideration before condemning or approving the attempt.

Moe, I completely agree. The place to discuss a change in within the Ward, Stake, etc.

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