Callings


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6 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

I've turned down one calling officially, and hinted strongly that another shouldn't be extended to me as I would immediately decline.

The first, I was asked several years ago to be the "Stake Scouting Coordinator." I was somewhat excited at the thought, as I initially thought I would be training leaders and helping them to provide a better program and scouting experience to the young men. When I discussed my vision for what scouting could look like in the stake, they said, "oh, no. We don't want you to do anything like that. We just want you to coordinate and oversee all of the rechartering paperwork for all of the wards."  As arrogant as it might seem, that seemed like a mismatch of the job to my skill set and I declined the calling.

The second happened just a few weeks ago.  My bishop indicated to me that the stake president was contemplating calling me to organize the stake young men camp for June of this year. I advised my bishop to tell the stake I wasn't interested in planning such a large event on such short notice. While I would be happy to plan the camp in general and would likely rather enjoy it, I also know how much stress and frustration are involved in trying to accomplish that task in so short a time frame.  I wasn't willing to put myself through that.  If they had asked me a year in advance, I wouldn't have hesitated to accept (and I told the bishop to pass that on to the stake).

 

When members of our ward have asked for releases or turned down callings, I've typically pushed to respect their boundaries, but to also change how we extend the callings.  Instead of simply saying, "will you accept this calling," I've encouraged leaders to offer three or four days to think it over. I've also encouraged leaders not to stop at "We want to call you to [calling]," but to create a vision of what is needed in the calling.  There's a big difference between "We want to call you as a Primary teacher" and "We have been short a consistent and reliable teacher for the CTR class, and [specific child] especially would benefit from having a consistent and familiar face. We would like to ask you to serve as a Primary teacher to help [child] develop their testimony."

Another one I remember was calling a woman on the autism spectrum to serve in the Primary Presidency. She admitted she hated working with kids and said, "I will accept the calling, but only because I think it's wrong to decline." At that point, we backed up a bit and advised her that maybe we needed to clarify what was needed of her.  We described the needs the Primary President felt were in her weaknesses, and identified that those weaknesses were in this sister's strengths. We also went a step further and advised her that service in the church should bring joy, and if she went a couple of months and felt miserable in her calling, she should talk to us so that we could release her and find her a calling that she would be more uplifting for her. Her attitude changed from "I'll accept this calling because I feel like I have to," into "I have something to offer, and I find it less stressful to try because I know I can an 'escape route' if I really don't like it." she served for two years before the Primary presidency was reorganized

Most recently, we had a sister that had declined a couple of callings for a lack of time. But when we called a new Relief Society President, the new president felt strongly that this sister needed to be her first counselor. When the interview was held, she was extended the calling, her concerns about time were acknowledged, and then she was told, "we'll give you a few days to think about it, but before you go, we are going to bring in the new president to talk to you about what her vision and goals are for the Relief Society and how you can help." We then let the two of them talk. The two worked out how they could work around her time constraints and she accepted the calling.

I think one of the biggest things we can do to support members in callings is recognize that they all have diverse obligations, time commitments, interests, and insecurities. If we get complacent enough to just name a calling and ask for acceptance, it's hard for them to find their place and get their footing. If we take a little more time to help them discover where they can contribute around their other obligations, I think they are much more likely to accept calling and feel good about what they can accomplish.

What a breath of fresh air this was to read! Thank you for sharing. If only every ward/stake gave such consideration. 

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I am of the notion that the primary reason for callings within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that without a calling no one (or very few) would serve.  I have observed this from my own experience - especially when it come to serving those that I do not like so much.  If I am not called to serve such - I tend not to serve and I have really good excuses.  But when a call comes from G-d (or one of his servants as per the oath and covenant of the priesthood; D&C 84) - I have a most difficult time refusing Him.

The worse experiences of my home all come from not completing an assignment or expectation from my parents.  My parents are the best examples of the good things in humanity I have ever encountered.   I remember once being stopped by a policeman and him telling me that he knew my father and could not believe that his son would do what I was doing.  I am sure that such experiences will be worse in the "next" life. 

 

The Traveler

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did not exactly turn one down, but one of the counselors in the stake presidency asked me to give beginning computer lessons.  After thinking and praying about it, I spoke with the church leader and let him know about being a facilitator in the ARP program and that the assignment would conflict schedule wise.  He told me that my ministering was more important and they got someone else to do the class.

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  • 7 months later...

What about a second calling? Anyone say no to that? The handbook says that generally everyone has only one calling at a time. My ward has been giving some people multiple callings, and I wish they wouldn't burden certain people who are busy doing so much for the ward already.

I wouldn't say no to a calling, but I would insist on being released from my old one! Although, it would depend on the season of life that I'm in. My dad has juggled 2-3 callings at a time, but he was retired and enjoyed having things to do.

Anyway, years ago, I was asked to help take the burden off the organist by playing once a month. My husband was in the bishopric, and I'd just given birth to my 6th child. So I said no (I felt ok because it wasn't a calling...I already had a calling and ward organist was this other person's calling). My husband told them I said no, and he said they were really surprised I would say no. I wasn't there but always imagined them being disappointed in me. But I really felt like it was asking too much at the time! I was primary pianist already and 3 hours without being able to nurse a newborn was not going to work. I was overwhelmed and doing the best I could. So, I see other people who look like they're taking on too much, and I get mad at the bishopric for not following the handbook.

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35 minutes ago, Comp said:

What about a second calling? Anyone say no to that? The handbook says that generally everyone has only one calling at a time. My ward has been giving some people multiple callings, and I wish they wouldn't burden certain people who are busy doing so much for the ward already.

I wouldn't say no to a calling, but I would insist on being released from my old one! Although, it would depend on the season of life that I'm in. My dad has juggled 2-3 callings at a time, but he was retired and enjoyed having things to do.

Anyway, years ago, I was asked to help take the burden off the organist by playing once a month. My husband was in the bishopric, and I'd just given birth to my 6th child. So I said no (I felt ok because it wasn't a calling...I already had a calling and ward organist was this other person's calling). My husband told them I said no, and he said they were really surprised I would say no. I wasn't there but always imagined them being disappointed in me. But I really felt like it was asking too much at the time! I was primary pianist already and 3 hours without being able to nurse a newborn was not going to work. I was overwhelmed and doing the best I could. So, I see other people who look like they're taking on too much, and I get mad at the bishopric for not following the handbook.

 

I currently have two.  I've had three at one time.  At one point I was asked to take a 4th and said no.  I think it matters on each individual to decide what is too much.  Currently my stake and ward callings are the same, so no big deal.

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Here's me: 

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The social media specialist thing was from like a decade ago.  I think I've given two presentations on stuff and that's it.  The Technology Specialist thing means I do most of the broadcasts - I think it's cool and fun.   And finance clerk allows me to help with some of the purest forms of service I've ever encountered.  

I'm quite happy to do this stuff, and whenever a bishop asks if I'm overloaded or anything I beg him to please not fire me from anything. :)  I know if that ever changes, they'd be happy to reduce my workload.  But this has worked very well for me for the last 6-7 years.

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At one point I had four.

Ward Membership Clerk
Ward Music Chair
Youth Sunday School Instructor
English Connect Instructor

Part of this was that there was availability of personnel in a very small ward. We had average attendance of about 85 to 90 people per week.  We've grown since then.  But at the time...

  • My initial calling was Membership Clerk
  • There was no one else who was qualified to be the ward music chair. 
  • The Sunday School instructor calling was because they couldn't keep people in the calling for long.
  • No one else spoke Spanish that was available on the nights when the meetings were scheduled.

Sometimes it's necessary.

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I have had 2 twice: EQ instructor and scout leader, and Gospel Doctrine instructor and Temple ordinance worker. If I truly felt that my family or employment responsibilities would suffer, then I would raise those concerns.

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I am currently serving as Sunday School president in my ward, and we have a couple that teaches a large (10+) class of teenagers that has basically failed to show up for class with no prior notice and no attempt to get a substitute, every Sunday for the past three months.  I talked to my bishopric today about getting a replacement, and we reviewed the list of “members without callings”, and suffice it to say . . . there is no one on that list who regularly attends, has a strong testimony, and can be trusted with children.  We will probably have to combine classes next year.  We are a mid-to-large ward in Utah County; but between our enormous primary and our stake (the latter of which insists that even the folks filling the stake’s cushiest, most do-nothing callings must never, ever under any circumstances be asked to shoulder any modicum of responsibility in their home wards) (I have virtually no use for any of my stake leadership aside from the stake presidency and high council, in case you didn’t notice! ;) )—all of the members who can be trusted to actually fulfill their callings are “taken”.

I get the need to maintain boundaries; particularly for nursing mothers and the like.  But consecration and exaltation is supposed to be at least a little bit hard; and the natural result of a critical mass of ward members setting up overly stringent personal boundaries is work that doesn’t get done and ministering that doesn’t happen and and wards that don’t function. 

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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3 hours ago, scottyg said:

I have had 2 twice: EQ instructor and scout leader, and Gospel Doctrine instructor and Temple ordinance worker. If I truly felt that my family or employment responsibilities would suffer, then I would raise those concerns.

Is temple ordinance worker considered a calling? I've never done that, so I didn't know.

You guys are impressive, lots of you with multiple callings. :)

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6 hours ago, Comp said:

Is temple ordinance worker considered a calling? I've never done that, so I didn't know.

You guys are impressive, lots of you with multiple callings. :)

It sure is. You are called by a member of the temple presidency and set apart by them.

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We went over Jeremiah chapter 1 in Sunday school yesterday.

I pointed out that sometimes a person is given a calling because of what they're supposed to learn from the calling rather than what they can bring to it.

Cue a bit of a panic because I was in the YSA branch and none of the younger members had considered this prospect.

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