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Positive Ways Leaders Can Motivate the Flock

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 05:55
by SilentDawning
I have been guilty of guilt-tripping people at different times when I was HPGL -- normally because most of the brethren would not do home teaching. Now that we have a more flexible set of guidelines, I think we are better off -- there will be less box checking, and more opportunities for members to feel successful in their efforts.

But I have seen our Ward continue with the guilt-tripping approach that makes such a program unsavory to many people. So, the struggle continues.

Can you suggest ways that leaders can motivate people to minister to others -- but which are positive and motivating, and not depressing and guilt-ridden?

I have a few suggestions:

1. Seek to put people together that have a lot of common interests so there is natural friendship and affection. Sure, we are to "love our enemies" but its so much easier when you have someone to visit or serve with whom you have a natural common interest.

2. Find out how people would like to serve in the ministering effort. A Ward party can be a great place to get to know people and talk to them. I would be inclined to give someone a light load if they would put on a party meant for people to come together. Do the organization.

3. Be sensitive to people's preferences for how they like to communicate. Some people like sitting at the computer and sending emails. After you figure out what level of contact people want, then assign all the email people to people who like to converse via email. People who like face to face interaction -- give them people that prefer that form of interaction.

Any other ideas?

Re: Positive Ways Leaders Can Motivate the Flock

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 09:35
by AmyJ
I realized that this is going off tangent to your current topic, but it fits in...

Pay gentle attention to the "Special Needs" Families in the branch/organization. People with children who have developmental difficulties (profoundly obvious or not) once identified will need people who can step in and help without judgement for the long haul. Their needs are more profound through making it to church, divying their collective personal mental, physical, emotional, and social resources with less obvious results.
In our branch, a sister adopted my children as her grandchildren - and she loves my 8.5 year old in her quirkiness. Another sister knows our circumstances and is willing to attend IEP meetings with me as an advocate. She has taught in private schools working with children similar to mine, so this is amazing. It helps me to know that when I go to advocate for my daughter, I will have someone else who has done this before, and understands school systems in our corner.

Temporarily assign additional "ministers" to families in transition circumstances (moving, divorce, adding a member to the family for example). Maybe have a sister who has dealt with post-partum depression check in with the new mom, and keep tabs in a low-key fashion unless she is needed to help a new mom. Maybe have a sister who is familiar with grieving touch base when someone looses someone beloved - just a "I am here and I have been in similar shoes and I am happy to help you/be with you if you need me". I ministered to a sister in our branch this way - she had a baby girl about a year after I did (with a long break in between children) - so I tried to be there for her via phone calls to vent and made sure she got my daughter's hand-me-downs.

Organizationally, to me, it feels like these are the "becoming" principles:
1. Have each person "throw out the checklist" and ask themselves "How can I serve" and "What are my needs/righteous wants?" Also a HUGE question should be "What are the life experiences I am comfortable and/or confident will help someone else in a similar experience" and "what are my strengths/passions?". Also a good question should be "how many families am I comfortable ministering to regularly" and "are there families that I can be a backup/additional ministering resource for?"
2. The leadership will need to compile the answers to these 2 questions (along with "Are there any allergies at play here" and "any ward history that makes it so 2 families cannot minister to each other", and "are there already any pre-existing ministering relationships already formed?") before making the matches.

Re: Positive Ways Leaders Can Motivate the Flock

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 11:26
by SilentDawning
Wow -- I like the idea of assigning a team to a family with needs. That really helps when people are needy. It can be extremely wearing when you have someone who calls you for help over and over and over again at inconvenient times, and it can jeopardize other relationships.

We once were asked to babysit someone's child who couldn't afford child care. My wife agreed, although I questioned if it was appropriate as an act of service over the long run. In fact, I objected. But she agreed anyway and then she had me picking up the kids from the school on a certain day she couldn't make it (my wife). I never agreed to it that when I finally reluctantly agreed my wife should be that involved in this family's life, it was sluffed off on mye and I missed it one day due to meetings in my work (I work from home). The mother had to leave work early and got a warning. I felt really badly, but I wondered, should our family be THAT involved that we are the family's transportation back and forth to school for as far as the eye can see? And is it realistic to expect me to do that when I never agreed to it, and in fact, sort of objected to it when my wife agreed to do it?

You have to draw the line somewhere, and when service becomes a long term care commitment, for free, it can cause problems. I am sure there are many examples like this -- when you hold yourself out as a service organization, you attract a lot of requests. Vetting those requests and taking on only those you feel you can do properly comes with the territory.