Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

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SilentDawning
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Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Apr 2018, 05:47

This came up in our EQ meeting last Sunday. In an effort to "motivate" everyone, the EQ president indicated quoted the "we are not a church of volunteers, we are a church of covenants". And went on that we promised to do certain thing as part of our promises.

I have a feeling some GA came out with this concept in order to get more out of the volunteers.

I personally think yes, we are a church of covenants, but a church of covenants made by volunteers. There are such things as business covenants where there is a legal obligation, and then, there is the spiritual obligation made by the members who are volunteers.

For some reason, the "we are a church of covenants" approach to motivating members to do things they find unpleasant or repetitive, or boring doesn't work for me anymore. Yes, we made general promises to mourn with those who mourn, and to serve each other, but this doesn't mean that each person has to get behind every single policy that church puts out. And we also have the right to serve according to the dictates of our own conscience. In that respect, when you add agency and the lack of legal or practical consequences (like loss of pay, benefits), I think leaders are best advised to treat us as volunteers.

What do you think about the idea -- what are we -- a church of volunteers, covenants, or assignments, and what does this mean for our ministering program?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

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DarkJedi
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Apr 2018, 06:53

I suppose it depends on who you ask. My own view of covenants is probably quite different from the mainstream view. I personally believe we are an organization of volunteers. But it is easier to guilt people if they think they're breaking covenants.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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AmyJ
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by AmyJ » 23 Apr 2018, 07:18

I think a lot depends on how we see the world (MBTI type is a general example of this).

Covenant-thinking does little for me, and less these days of faith transition. However, my INFJ self sees the ministering program as an opportunity to bring meaning into someone's life - so I will volunteer and create assignments for myself to achieve that and I can see the usefulness of organization and reporting back - but my motivation is internally driven because that is how I roll. I pay some attention to external check boxes, but the older I get, the less of the checking the boxes to check the boxes I do.

I think I picked up a piece of general information that the majority of people (and the church) are SXJ types, so the external application of covenants to motivate them makes sense (on some level). It is a way to create a nice organized bundle I suppose.

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nibbler
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by nibbler » 23 Apr 2018, 07:35

Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?
Yes. ;)

That meeting sounded like, "The beatings will continue until morale improves." The layers upon layers of guilt and shame we heap on people at church fail to motivate anymore, if anything I find this approach demotivating.

I've found that there are a lot of implied covenants at church. The "covenant" to wear garments while doing yard work comes to mind. I certainly don't remember explicitly promising to that, but it's a part of the TR interview. Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?

There are lots of covenants like that. What's that, you decided to be baptized? That means you covenanted to [comply with a policy or participate in a program].

When you're using someone else's covenant as a bludgeon to get people to comply with something you want them to do it kinda borders on unrighteous dominion IMO.

You want to motivate, focus on the whys. All we ever talk about at church are the whats. We don't even get into discussions about the hows.
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dande48
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by dande48 » 23 Apr 2018, 07:41

It's important to remember that our covenants (minus one in the temple) are with God, and not with the Church. Of course, most members feel God and the Church are one in the same. Personally, I feel the Church hasn't dealt honestly with me, and IMHO a covenant made under false pretense isn't binding. We should be committed to the Church institution so long as it aligns with our covenants to God. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Covenant-eers work out of a sense of duty. Volunteers work out of a sense of love.
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nibbler
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by nibbler » 23 Apr 2018, 07:58

dande48 wrote:
23 Apr 2018, 07:41
Covenant-eers work out of a sense of duty. Volunteers work out of a sense of love.
:thumbup:
We must all live in the real world... and sometimes that world can be pretty grim. But it is the dream... the hope... that makes the reality worth living.
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Roadrunner
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by Roadrunner » 23 Apr 2018, 08:40

In the past month I've heard each of those. I prefer volunteers but they are all accurate at different times. Being a church of covenants or a church of assignments makes me feel like we have no options but to do as we are told without regard for personal circumstances.

I can't quite figure out the difference between a calling and an assignment, except the length of time. Setting up chairs for stake conference = assignment but setting up chairs every week for a year would probably be a calling. It seems artificial and arbitrary but I get it because we don't have time to sustain every little assignment. Often church leaders justify something because it's only an assignment and they don't feel as obligated to do the same due diligence as a calling.

AmyJ
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by AmyJ » 23 Apr 2018, 09:19

Agreed Road Runner.

The other semantic difficulty is that for a calling you get set a part for as part of standard protocol. For an assignment, generally not - though I have heard of people requesting a priesthood blessing prior to starting a specific assignment.

Roy
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by Roy » 23 Apr 2018, 09:45

dande48 wrote:
23 Apr 2018, 07:41
Personally, I feel the Church hasn't dealt honestly with me, and IMHO a covenant made under false pretense isn't binding.
Early in my faith crisis I shared with my bishop. My crisis centered on my belief that paying tithing would bring blessings upon my family and then my daughter was stillborn. My tithing contributions fell off a cliff.

In trying to convince me to return to paying tithing my bishop made the following argument: It does not matter what blessings may or may not materialize. We made covenants at baptism, including the covenant to pay an honest tithe. Now your integrity is on the line. Are you the type of man that is going to fulfill your sacred promises or aren't you?

I have compassion on this good bishop. Honor, duty, and commitment are what made his world view meaningful. Let's just say that I did not find his logic as motivating as he did. ;)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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AmyJ
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Re: Are we a church of volunteers, assignments or covenants?

Post by AmyJ » 23 Apr 2018, 09:52

Roy wrote:
23 Apr 2018, 09:45
I have compassion on this good bishop. Honor, duty, and commitment are what made his world view meaningful. Let's just say that I did not find his logic as motivating as he did. ;)
I hear ya.

My husband mentions regularly that he is striving to "become" a better man so that he can live with me in the Celestial Kingdom. I can understand and I respect that.

But for me, it was interesting to realize that I was and am passionate about having as "Celestial" a marriage as I can with my husband - without believing in the Celestial Kingdom anymore. I was blindsided the first few times he mentioned it and his viewpoint - and then I realized what I am doing about it, why it bothered me, and that we are striving for the same goals (being better marriage partners) in this life even though we have different driving motivations for it.

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