NeedleinA

Efficiency is good, but not at Church?

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Is the Lord interested in efficiency? If he is, then his Church should be too... right?
I recently had two interesting interactions with members in councils. After I presented what I thought was something efficient and for the benefit of members involved, to my surprise some members of the council stated, "The Lord is not interested in efficiency".

I'll share one example.

Example: In many of the units in our Stake, tithing has shifted almost exclusively to online donations with the exception of children and one elderly hold out. This means each Sunday at least two priesthood holders are stuck at church doing 'tithing' AND then driving to the nearest bank drop off. Many Sunday's those drop offs consist of <$10 in change, the kind you know is change in the envelope before you even open it. I suggested that unit leaders either offer to collect tithing 2 times a month OR that the Bishop securely holds donations and they count it only twice a month.

Why?  To allow brethren the opportunity to not stay late, drive 40 minutes round trip and call for rides. These brothers will have already been at church of several hours in other meetings beside block meetings.
To my surprise I was met with, "The Lord is not interested in efficiency".


Have you ever heard this response before? Have you ever given it, if so, why?
One time was weird enough, but it just came up again in another council.

 

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I think I would have been tempted to respond, "Maybe the Lord isn't interested in efficiency, but I am."

At face value, the statement is silly. In what ways is the Lord uninterested in efficiency? He may not care about efficiency in doing this or that task, but I bet he cares a great deal about a father being efficient in his use of precious family time. It's probably worth noting that Paul thought time management was important enough to mention at least twice, in Ephesians 5:15-17 and Colossians 4:5.

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20 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Have you ever heard this response before? Have you ever given it, if so, why?
One time was weird enough, but it just came up again in another council.

I haven't heard those exact words.  But I've heard a similar sentiment.

I wondered at it back then.  I disagree with it today.  The Lord wants us to use our time efficiently to do his work.  If we don't, not as much work is going to get done.

Quote

President Wilford Woodruff left this testimony of help from beyond the veil:

Joseph Smith continued visiting myself and others up to a certain time and then stopped. The last time I saw him was in heaven. He came and spoke to me. He said that he could not stop to talk to me because he was in a hurry. The next man I met was Father Smith; he couldn’t talk to me because he was in a hurry. I met a half a dozen brethren who held high positions on earth, and none of them could stop to talk with because they were in a hurry. I was much astonished.

By and by I saw the Prophet again, and I got the privilege to ask him a question. “Now,” said I, “I want to know why you are in a hurry? I have been in a hurry all my life, but I expected my hurry would be over when I got into the Kingdom of heaven, if I ever did.”

Joseph said, “I will tell you, Brother Woodruff, every dispensation that has had the priesthood on earth and has gone into the celestial kingdom, has had a certain amount of work to do to prepare to go to the earth with the Savior when He goes to reign on earth. Each dispensation has had ample time to do this work. We have not. We are the last dispensation and so much work has to be done and we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it.

Of course that was satisfactory with me, but it was new doctrine to me.

 -- Discourse delivered at Weber Stake Conference, Ogden, 19 October 1896; as published in Deseret News Weekly, vol. 53, no. 21.

 

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34 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Why?  To allow brethren the opportunity to not stay late, drive 40 minutes round trip and call for rides. These brothers will have already been at church of several hours in other meetings beside block meetings.
To my surprise I was met with, "The Lord is not interested in efficiency".

Sort of strange comment. For a church that values families, shouldn’t you want the fathers to be home more? 

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52 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

I suggested that unit leaders either offer to collect tithing 2 times a month OR that the Bishop securely holds donations and they count it only twice a month.

Why?  To allow brethren the opportunity to not stay late, drive 40 minutes round trip and call for rides. These brothers will have already been at church of several hours in other meetings beside block meetings.
To my surprise I was met with, "The Lord is not interested in efficiency".

Oh this one is easy - the Lord is absolutely interested in efficiency, but neither you nor the council person understand it.  😁  (Yes, I'm a finance clerk and yes, I'm opinionated on the subject, what gave it away?)

The church is wise when they beat it into us that tithing should be gathered, counted, and deposited on the same day whenever possible.  Any other option is to have fallible mortal humans , sometimes already worked hard in their callings, carrying around the Lord's funds in their coat pockets or glove boxes or scriptures.  And that occasionally means lost or delayed or damaged (or even stolen) tithing.   The funds really are sacred, and the general notion is we treat them with reverence.  Like carrying around other people's temple clothing.  So yes, you have two brethren staying after church week after week to handle little Timmy's dimes and pennies, because those funds are consecrated and sacred.  In this case, efficient doesn't mean "the shortest amount of time and hassle possible".

 

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15 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

The church is wise when they beat it into us that tithing should be gathered, counted, and deposited on the same day whenever possible. 

With the above ^^^ thought in mind, I offered the alternative suggestion in council.

1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

I suggested that unit leaders either offer to collect tithing 2 times a month

Simply don't collect that often. This way no one can lose those sacred funds.
Bishop: "Brothers and sisters, we will only be collecting donations 1st and 3rd Sundays since so many of you have converted to online now."

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27 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

The church is wise when they beat it into us that tithing should be gathered, counted, and deposited on the same day whenever possible. 

Since we are talking shop for a moment...
I understand the sentiment of not losing someone's sacred funds, I do.
Church Handbook says:

Quote

Where a 24-hour bank depository is available, the bishopric member, accompanied by the other priesthood holder, deposits the funds in the bank on the same day the funds are opened and verified.

Steps
1. Gathering
2. Opening/Verifying
3. Depositing

Deposits are required if the funds are opened and verified.
Bishops receive donations time to time that they must hang on to until a later date and members are none the wiser.

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When I was in the bishopric, my bishop would collect and store tithing envelopes in a locked desk drawer until the tithing was counted. The counting did take place every week, but I don't see why it might not be changed to every two weeks or once a month or something like that.

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Personal pet peeve of mine -

When people speak and act as if they are in the service of the Lord when in fact they are just acting in their personal best interest or use the same excuse for connivence sake. 

I believe this falls under the commandment found in Exodus 20:7

Not saying this happened in this instance… Just saying.

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54 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

With the above ^^^ thought in mind, I offered the alternative suggestion in council.

Simply don't collect that often. This way no one can lose those sacred funds.
Bishop: "Brothers and sisters, we will only be collecting donations 1st and 3rd Sundays since so many of you have converted to online now."

Eventually the church will become more efficient  @NeedleinA. When younger generations take over, generally speaking, technology steps up and makes things more streamlined. 

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23 minutes ago, mikbone said:

Personal pet peeve of mine -

When people speak and act as if they are in the service of the Lord when in fact they are just acting in their personal best interest or use the same excuse for connivence sake. 

I believe this falls under the commandment found in Exodus 20:7

Not saying this happened in this instance… Just saying.

I hear you.

In this particular case, after doing several financial audits in various wards the issue above keep manifesting itself.
My suggestions were/are for the benefit of the those 'other' brothers who could use "precious family time".

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47 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

I hear you.

In this particular case, after doing several financial audits in various wards the issue above keep manifesting itself.
My suggestions were/are for the benefit of the those 'other' brothers who could use "precious family time".

Its pretty evident from recent conference talks and church policy that current leadership is working hard to make of worship services more focused and efficient.

Just for example:

2 hours of church services

Come Follow Me

Temple endowment ceremony changes

Priesthood and Women’s conference sessions.

Reduction in manuals.  Coordination of Church magazines.

Online tithing…

I was in Utah last week (daughter got married) the wife and I got all new temple endowment clothing.  We were worried because we had left our recommends at the VRBO.  The nice lady working the counter let us know it was no problem, and that she could look up our records in a jiffy.  

In and out.

If only the government was as efficient as the church…

 

Edited by mikbone

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1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

With the above ^^^ thought in mind, I offered the alternative suggestion in council.

Simply don't collect that often. This way no one can lose those sacred funds.
Bishop: "Brothers and sisters, we will only be collecting donations 1st and 3rd Sundays since so many of you have converted to online now."

So, not only would you task the executive secretary with reminding the bishop and his two counselors which Sunday they can and can't accept tithing, you're also asking an entire ward to remember it as well?  And the family who just had the FHE on tithing and spent 3 hours getting all 5 kids to fill out their tithing slips for the first time ever, and they go to hand it in to the bishop only to hear "not today, I only take tithing next week".   This from someone claiming to be interested in efficiency?

(Hope I'm not too fierce here.  This is sort of the only time a finance guy like me gets to be fierce.  And yes, I already know I may be the only person on the board who would ever think in a million years of associating my reply with the word 'fierce'.  Well, finance people can be fierce!    Grrrrr!)

Edited by NeuroTypical

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1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

Bishops receive donations time to time that they must hang on to until a later date and members are none the wiser.

True.  Some folks hand over envelopes on youth night.   And in the age of government stimulus checks, there has been more than one righteous individual who made it a point to immediately drive the horrid thing to the bishop's house, so as to not be burdened with the vile thing one second longer than necessary.  But I've still had more than one bishop struggle with keeping track of the envelopes.

 

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1 hour ago, NeuroTypical said:

True.  Some folks hand over envelopes on youth night.   And in the age of government stimulus checks, there has been more than one righteous individual who made it a point to immediately drive the horrid thing to the bishop's house, so as to not be burdened with the vile thing one second longer than necessary.  But I've still had more than one bishop struggle with keeping track of the envelopes.

 

Our ward is one with many elderly...we still get a good amount of envelopes. We also have one brother that doesn't use technology as it allows others to spy on him. (no joke) It's great that they are so dilligent...but youth night is a pet peeve of mine. I always have to leave my boys and run to the clerk's office to lock it up because I don't have a suit coat pocket to put it in. 😩

Full disclosure: my kids are some of those penny donating envelope using monsters who need to get with the times. 😉

Edited by scottyg

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I can see the argument that we want to make it so that any church member who wants to deliver their tithing to a bishopric member should be able to do it anytime they choose.  I can also see the argument that individual bishopric members/clerks can find tremendous devotional meaning in sacrificing the extra time it takes to make the deposit each and every Sunday.

But, like @mikbone, I find it irritating when people take their own personal preferences and try to cloak them with divine authority because they’re too lazy to explain the real reason that they prefer to do things their own way. 

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9 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I can see the argument that we want to make it so that any church member who wants to deliver their tithing to a bishopric member should be able to do it anytime they choose.  I can also see the argument that individual bishopric members/clerks can find tremendous devotional meaning in sacrificing the extra time it takes to make the deposit each and every Sunday.

But, like @mikbone, I find it irritating when people take their own personal preferences and try to cloak them with divine authority because they’re too lazy to explain the real reason that they prefer to do things their own way. 

Yes.  It is one thing to say that we have additional criteria or other priorities.  It is quite another to say that efficiency is not a priority or a concern at all.

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The other day I was picking my kids up from a friend's house. Now, we used to be in the same ward as these friends before boundaries were reorganized, and said father of friends happens to be the bishop. No longer my bishop as now we get to actually attend the church building across the street (saves three minutes in walking!), but I still liked to see him at home with his kids, looking frazzled in jeans and a t-shirt, saying my two children were really no problem at all because his house was chaos and what were two more... (my middle daughter, always having been a little mommy sort, apparently keeps his youngest in line).

While some may look at this account and say the poor man needs to escape to the church more, I like seeing him in that state. We do need our priesthood leaders doing their roles with the church, but we also need them with their families. 

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16 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

So, not only would you task the executive secretary with reminding the bishop and his two counselors which Sunday they can and can't accept tithing, you're also asking an entire ward to remember it as well?  And the family who just had the FHE on tithing and spent 3 hours getting all 5 kids to fill out their tithing slips for the first time ever, and they go to hand it in to the bishop only to hear "not today, I only take tithing next week".   This from someone claiming to be interested in efficiency?

Yes Sir, I would.

If it makes it even simpler, do it only once a month... on the first Sunday of the month, like Fast Sunday.
Will it take a little reminding in the beginning, sure. After a while the ward should remember it just like they do, Fast Sunday.

I've tried to find, and perhaps I haven't looked hard enough, a place in the handbook that states that tithing must/should be accepted every Sunday, like most folks are accustomed to. So far I can't find it.

Edited by NeedleinA

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15 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

True.  Some folks hand over envelopes on youth night. 

13 hours ago, scottyg said:

...but youth night is a pet peeve of mine.

Youth night is a great example. People who mail it or drop it off directly at the Bishops house. People who turn it in after the bank run has already taken place. Etc. 

10 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

individual bishopric members/clerks can find tremendous devotional meaning in sacrificing the extra time it takes to make the deposit each and every Sunday.

Less scenario = once a month
Customary = every Sunday
More scenario = deposit it every time it is received

I know Bishops who will call in their Clerk mid-week to make a deposit as though the tithing envelope contains radioactive material OR they might lose it like @NeuroTypical shared, and they need to get rid of it asap.

So... which one is right? Which is less efficient or more efficient OR who cares because sacrifice brings forth blessings?

Does the Stake offer guidance to their Bishops OR do they let them do their own thing under their individual keys.
Some Bishops don't know the correct answer OR what is even a possibility.
FYI: In our Stake 80% of our unit leaders have been serving for less than 1 year, most less than 6 months.

Edited by NeedleinA

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