1st Sunday councils

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SilentDawning
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Re: 1st Sunday councils

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Jan 2018, 12:29

Heber13 wrote:
12 Jan 2018, 20:41
SilentDawning wrote:
12 Jan 2018, 11:22
I see it as an opportunity for the quorums and groups to make plans. Everyone is together, as much as possible, so it's a good time to set goals, review progress, make assignments etcetera. But it takes some leadership skill to do it. You have to understand how to direct participation into productive, meaningful avenues, how to filter out suggestions, let the best ones rise to the top, overcome cynicsm, make action plans, and use judgment to make sure any plans actually get implemented.
About what?

Maybe it will take time...but for now...it feels like everyone just repeats the same thing...do home teaching and go to the temple. What is this council supposed to produce?

Last week felt like the dumb leading the blind. And we walked away with not much, as if the teacher forgot he had to teach and was just winging it...which...was pretty much like every other week.


2 hour blocks. Let the ward leaders council 3rd hour, but let the rest of us go home. Is it possible our quorum council meetings agree to that? No? Okay...that's what I thought...same ole same ole
About What? Local needs. Or the mission of the church. As you say, people get so distracted by home teaching and the other hard stuff (hometeaching and temple) that never changes. Or changes for a while due to the commitment of a few people who carry the group....

It needs to be based on local needs, and, in my view, it involves using concepts from planning we find in professional management, adapted to the unique, volunteer context of the church.

here are a few tracks to run on...the possibilities are endless. You can be purely participative to somewhat directive in what is discussed.

Participative...

1. Use the first Sunday in Jan or Feb to poll the ward about what they feel is needed in the Ward to improve its ability to further the purposes/mission of the church. A survey could be created to focus on community, spiritual atmosphere, unity, execution of programs, quality of the talks and lessons, temple focus, etcetera.....the list is endless. Based on this survey, pick the items that seem to have the most support/relevance to the Ward. Use these items as areas of focus in the 1st Sunday meetings. Significant power comes from having a unified discussion across groups and quorums, each contributing to how specific areas could be improved. Don't have too many focus areas though, when you start talking about how to improve...

2. Simply exposing the passions people have for their service in their church. I've noticed some people love service to the community, others like simple social activities to get to know each other and build unity. Some like to serve the Ward through more enriching social activities like music concerts etcetera, Use the time to find areas of passion for service and ignite them...

More Directive

1. In the various groups, give them a blank sheet of paper with each of the four purposes of the church on it. have them brainstorm what they think might be done in each category to meet the needs of the members.

Even More Directive
1. Have the Ward council agree upon areas of needs for the Ward, and then disseminate these to the various groups. Have these groups then discuss ways they can improve on these areas.

2. Alternatively, the leaders of the individual groups and quorums decide what they think the needs of the group are, and discuss those, making action plans...and using the first Sundays to follow up.

So, there is a two phase process -- arriving at what the most important needs are in the Ward or even specific quorum group. Second, working together to meet those needs and improve them through reports and follow-up and continued improvement and discussion of those plans.

Let me give examples of the endless list of needs wards can have -- that I have seen in many different Wards over time.

1. So many baptisms it's hard to fellowship the people all and keep them.
2. Teen pregnancy and young adult immorality
3. A lot of marriage break-ups
4. Lack of commitment from members to callings
5. Lack of unity -- cliques but no real sense of community.
6. Poor temple attendance.hometeaching (the ever present problem)
7. Low referrals from members for investigators
8. Declining Sacrament meeting attendance/increasing trends to less activity among members
9. Burgeoning prospective elders who reach adult age and are never ordained.
10. Youth getting into trouble with the law on a more-than-isolated scale
11. Youth not signing up for missions.
12. Poor seminary attendance
13. People worn out from having 4 different callings in wards that are strapped for people.
14. Sundays that aren't uplifting.
15. People with a lot of welfare needs and financial problems.
16. Lack of strong gospel knowledge by the membership in general....
17. Discussion of needs as articulated by the Stake leaders for the stake, a well as regional issues.
18. Plans and assignments made, but weak follow-through....
19. Burnt out active people who need a pep talk, a break or a refresher -- conversation could be on how to do make this happen and make time for sef-renewal.

And the list goes on....

the needs are endless, even in Wards that may have some higher functioning than others (I served in one such Ward, and while there was strong programs and follow-through, there was no emotional connection or sense of deep community, just a community of doers, that bothered some people).

So, I think the problem you are seeing is that people/leaders are learning how to use the time effectively. I think professional managers would have no problem using the time. And i think it's a breath of fresh air really....

I will say this -- having an hour a month or so to set plans, review progress, and march toward a common goal is a gold mine for the leader who wants to improve their Ward. I suggest people give it time and let people find themselves in it. Let the upper leadership figure out who how to train everyone better in how to do it, etcetera. it is a change for the memgbership, and a positive one -- give it time to mature and become part of the culture.

I am working on an article on effective home teaching....and one of the principles, suprisingly, is to not focus too much on it!!! Yes -- focus on areas of service and contribution that brethren find interesting and exciting. this builds trust with the leadership, energizes the quorum, and provides opportunities for greater activity. I like what the savior said -- the poor you will always have with you. I look at ineffective home teaching programs as the poor in our suite or permanent programs in the church. Don't get so bogged down in them that you remove all the joy and passion people naturally bring to their Wards!
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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Heber13
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Re: 1st Sunday councils

Post by Heber13 » 13 Jan 2018, 13:46

Those are good points SD.

Perhaps my frustrations are I already feel we make announcements in SM, at the beginning of class, opening exercises for Priesthood, and now this whole class. So inefficient. So boring. Such a waste of my time...and now we are doing MORE??

I want less planning and meetings and talk. I want a religion of action and learning. I want more time with my family.

Maybe those are my local needs. It's frustrating if I have to go to council to participate in discussing less of that very thing.

If I skip...will the council understand my needs more? I am not sure what to do. Probably nothing. Just nod for them trying to do something.

I have a feeling based on last meeting that others in my HPG are in a different place than me anyway. I'm on my own on my journey. Thus...counseling doesn't seem to meet my needs at the moment. Perhaps it will help others
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SilentDawning
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Re: 1st Sunday councils

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Jan 2018, 15:12

Heber13 wrote:
13 Jan 2018, 13:46
Those are good points SD.

Perhaps my frustrations are I already feel we make announcements in SM, at the beginning of class, opening exercises for Priesthood, and now this whole class. So inefficient. So boring. Such a waste of my time...and now we are doing MORE??

I want less planning and meetings and talk. I want a religion of action and learning. I want more time with my family.

Maybe those are my local needs. It's frustrating if I have to go to council to participate in discussing less of that very thing.

If I skip...will the council understand my needs more? I am not sure what to do. Probably nothing. Just nod for them trying to do something.

I have a feeling based on last meeting that others in my HPG are in a different place than me anyway. I'm on my own on my journey. Thus...counseling doesn't seem to meet my needs at the moment. Perhaps it will help others
What I'm suggesting goes way beyond announcements. If done well, It is the use of church time to actually plan and distribute work to the quorum in a way that is truly meaningful to them. It's a means of involving less involved members in the actual planning of the work of the group/quorum/auxiliary. It is efficient use of time as well. How many times have we heard that we can't use church time, Sunday School, priesthood meetings, to do quorum business? That has always frustrated me because it means people have to stay after church, hungry, frustrating their families, or hitching rides. Or meet during the week.

Now, we can have our entire HP quorum meet on a Sunday and discuss how we are going to work together to do the most important things for our families and wards -- unconstrained by distant programs imposed on us that are often not relevant to us, and that we had no hand in crafting.

It also represents decentralization of decision-making and authority, with an efficient block of time dedicated to it. I have always been a proponent of local choice -- one reason I love our founding father's principle that government should be as close to the people as possible. To see that happen on the local level is a breath of fresh air!!! Taken with the teachers' council, which also provides a certain amount of local authority, it is another step in the right direction. We often criticize the top-down, authoritarian style of leadership we see in the church. Now is a bit of a swing in a different direction.

I think we should be celebrating it and hoping the higher ups see lots of benefits that encourage them to keep blessing it and making it part of our culture.

When I was HPGL, what they are doing is exactly what I did with the first Sundays in my quorum, most of the time. And it was very effective when used to involve the quorum in planning, assignment-taking, volunteering, and following up with reporting to bring plans to life.

The infrastructure is there now for some very empowering, autonomous decision-making by local leaders and their rank and file members in the stewardship. Let's hope the time is used effectively to bring it all to life!!!
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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nibbler
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Re: 1st Sunday councils

Post by nibbler » 13 Jan 2018, 15:27

Yeah... SD. None of that stuff interests me. Perhaps I'm just not cut out for this religion thing, perhaps I'm as burnt out as burnt out gets but...

Those needs aren't my needs. That's part of what makes church so miserable, we only talk about what we need to do for the church and usually it's discussion surrounding some metric that has absolutely no bearing on my life.

E.g. Temple attendance. Temple attendance is down? Sounds like that's more of a problem for someone that's worried about their next temple utilization report... but I don't care. I get that it might be important for people that can benefit from temple attendance... but if they benefited so much from temple attendance they'd be attending the temple. But here I am, sitting in PH where the teacher is talking about how important it is to attend the temple... but they're not that interested in attending either, they're just up there talking about how important it is because they're the teacher and that's their job.

And the discussion never goes deep. Usually it halts at "we need to attend the temple more" and that's the beginning, middle, and end of the discussion. Church isn't the place to have a real discussion about temple attendance.

"What prevents us from going to the temple?"

Busy lives and satan are pretty much the only acceptable answers. We don't have a discussion that starts out, "I don't really like the temple..." or, "I'd like to go to the temple to do [activity], can we change the temple experience to include [activity]?" Nope.

I'm singling out temple attendance to illustrate how the church doesn't rise to the needs of the individual, at church we expect the individual to rise to the needs of the church. Is it surprising that people lack commitment or enthusiasm in such a one-sided relationship? That's just temple attendance. I could say this for over half the stuff on your list.

As you can see, I'm jaded with all our church talking points. They're boring, uninspiring, and we're nearly always talking about how to meet manufactured needs... and... and... :evil: :evil: :evil:
I am.
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SilentDawning
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Re: 1st Sunday councils

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Jan 2018, 15:45

nibbler wrote:
13 Jan 2018, 15:27
As you can see, I'm jaded with all our church talking points. They're boring, uninspiring, and we're nearly always talking about how to meet manufactured needs... and... and... :evil: :evil: :evil:
Don't let my list imply that it's your list though. I said the list was limitless....The monthly meetings, if designed well, should give people a chance to voice what they think are broad needs in the Ward. And these needs may well go beyond the standard mormon needs we hear about constantly anyway.

Also, if done well, there is respect for the people who want nothing to do with such meetings!

I used to hold these 1st Sunday meetings regularly, throwing out the lesson schedule -- when I was HPGL. (See how far ahead of my time I was!!! :lol: :lol: ). And when it was time for people to commit to action, I made it clear that if people didn't feel they had the interest, desire or bandwidth to take on any responsibilities or assignments, by all means, claim that right. There was no censure from us as leaders -- only respect for their status as volunteers.

Of course, part of that desire on my part to promote "freedom to do nothing" was the fact that I knew from long hard experience that certain brethren wouldn't lift a finger even if we paid them. People will do, what people will do. Having them actually voice that choice up front was effective in focusing our efforts on the people who wanted to contribute.

I intend to go to the next one to see how our HPGL does it. I am not expecting much. He's a former Bishop but seems to think leadership involves standing up and talking to everyone non-stop. Not my idea of "sitting in council over local needs".

And by the way, I think such a meeting could involve nothing but listening on the part of the leadership as well. Sometimes it's good to do that. It provides good fodder for when leaders have to make decisions that are clearly in their purview...

I would also add that having leaders listening to their membership is a step in the right direction. I'd much rather be voicing some concerns about needs in the Ward than sitting through another expose on the Plan of Salvation, for example. Change is wonderful...
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Heber13
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Re: 1st Sunday councils

Post by Heber13 » 13 Jan 2018, 19:25

I actually made the comment in our meeting when discussing how to get more to attend monthly temple night, that we should be sensitive to those who don't want to go. Some people don't need more pressure or guilt to go...we shouldn't assume everyone is in a place to be able to go monthly.

That was my contribution. Because I am not interested in going monthly.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: 1st Sunday councils

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Jan 2018, 21:27

Fwiw, Heber, what you want and what you said fits our meeting quite well. Our HPGL said explicitly he didn't want it to end up being just more talk and no action, and we talked about a lot of practical issues while figuring out what we wanted to do.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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