Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

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SilentDawning
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Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by SilentDawning » 22 May 2018, 03:20

I have a question -- when people WANT to be visited, or have legitimate needs, then it's not that hard to meet those needs. It's the people who don't care and aren't responsive that burn me out personally. As I have aged and matured, I have learned to work with the people who want to be helped, who value your input and effort. This is true not only in my church work, but also in my community service. And as I've gotten older and less foolish, I have learned to exercise judgment about where to put my efforts, who to ask to do things, etcetera.

Under the new ministering program, how do you propose you work with people who are indifferent? For example, I sent letters to people I don't know indicating I am from the church and would like to meet them and get to know them. If they would like this level of contact, they could contact me various ways. None of them responded, although I did get one person who wanted no contact.

How do you suggest we deal with people who are non-responsive? It is not a good use of time to chase after people who are not motivated at this time, really. And I find it makes the church experience unpleasant. Human needs are unlimited, and so are service opportunities. So its important to use time wisely. So I personally see no point in chasing after them when they aren't interested enough in contact outside the church to meet with someone who reaches out with them. I am not being negative on them -- I could be in that bucket at some point -- not wanting contact.

I am interested in what you think, and what any training in your Wards have suggested. I suspect there isn't much of a consistent message except to avoid box checking, meet needs, and truly try to care about the people. But I'm interested in hearing about the landscape.
"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

AmyJ
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Re: Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by AmyJ » 22 May 2018, 05:53

For me, I would do what I could to get to know a little about them - see what their face book says, google what their name says, or ask any family members in the branch who know them a little about them. All information is used to decide if I have enough in common to be friends with them on their own merits. Then, I make time/resources available in discrete small ways that might help them but don't over drain my resources.

Case in point:
I have a very less active VTee who lives with her active parents and has 2 little girls - and minimal contact with me and NO desire to connect about the church. We are face book friends, and I watch what she posts and reply back encouragingly (Hugs for a bad day, smiles for something funny). Sometimes I say privately "hi" or ask her how she is doing and try to get to know her better as a person. Her littlest one is about 6-9 months behind my toddler in age, so I give her baby clothes my daughter outgrows. We are about 6 months or so in this, and she is starting to realize I want to be friends with her because she moved back from FL (and might not know people very well), and I have no desire to do anything about her church decisions. I like knowing I can pay forward the clothes to fulfill a need her family has (while liberating my closets), and I think she would be an interesting friend to have.

I let the leadership know that I have a relationship with her (more so than anyone else in the branch except her mother), and that it would make the most sense for them to keep this ministering relationship in place in their records.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by DarkJedi » 22 May 2018, 06:46

From one point of view there's still the "assigned friend" mentality. That was one of my issues with HT, we shouldn't have to be assigned to be friends and frankly some people one is assigned to probably can't ever really be friends because they have so little in common and little desire to be friends. And I like to make my own friends, not be told who to be friends with or who to "care" about. From another point of view though the only way to have contact with some of these people is to have someone assigned. I don't think our ward is atypical - we are about 1/3 active and a good chunk of those not active have been on our list for many years - so long that most of us don't know who they are (even those of us who have been in the ward 25+ years). And, from my own time as an inactive (10 years) I didn't want people who came there only because they were assigned to come there or because it was part of their "calling." (And I didn't want calls or letters from those people either.)

I do see that there could be an advantage to the new program in that there are some people who do have contact with inactives that they weren't assigned to (neighbor, coworker, someone they do business with, etc.) that could now be counted as "ministered" to. I think you could say in the interview "Oh, yeah, I see Brother Inactive sometimes at work and sometimes he sits at my table at lunch. He's good." I have a hardcore inactive next street over, kind of like what you describe SD. There's no way she would respond to a letter or answer her phone if she sees it's someone from church, and she'd refuse appointments. She knows who I am and if I'm out walking and say hi she'll respond and participate in cordial conversation. Granted, I'm not going to find out what her needs are but she doesn't want anything from us anyway.

My short answer to your question is let sleeping dogs lie. You're right, it's not a good use of our time to chase them and they don't want to be chased. Go be friends with who you want to be friends with. Other than that, invite them to the ward picnic and Christmas party and let them be.
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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dande48
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Re: Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by dande48 » 22 May 2018, 06:49

The difficulty with home teaching is, people know they're an assignment. It's as if you are only being their friend, because you were told to. It can make people feel uncomfortable, especially if they don't want to have anything to do with the Church.

If they're unresponsive, I'd first check to make sure they're still at their listed address. In attempting contact, I'd make it clear that you will respect their wishes regarding contact. If you really hear nothing back, I'd consider dropping off a plate of cookies at Christmas and a basket of "goodies" at Easter, along with a short Christian goodwill message, printed on an index card. Just something to let them know they're thought about, and have the opportunity for further involvement if they wish.

(typing the same time as DJ. What he said.)
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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SilentDawning
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Re: Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by SilentDawning » 23 May 2018, 06:21

I see the "assignment" mentality is of value when there are emergencies, and the leadership needs to contact someone to help the person. Even if that person doesn't have the skills to fix the problem (like the financially struggling family who has a simple plumbing problem they can't fix themselves), the assigned person can try to marshall resources to help the person.

There are too many people for the leadership to have to field it all. From that perspective, assigned families is of value, but I also agree with DJ that some people you will never want to be friends with, and neither do they want to be friends with you. This is not anti-social behavior, just the reality that like minded people tend to enjoy each others' company.

I raised this once on a TBM discussion forum years ago, and the people there said I was operating out of a clique mindset. I disagree because a clique is exclusionary. You may have friends you enjoy, but if someone with whom you have little in common approaches you, you still welcome and include them. If you ignore them, or treat them like they don't exist, well, THAT is a clique.
"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

AmyJ
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Re: Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by AmyJ » 23 May 2018, 10:18

SilentDawning wrote:
23 May 2018, 06:21
I see the "assignment" mentality is of value when there are emergencies, and the leadership needs to contact someone to help the person. Even if that person doesn't have the skills to fix the problem (like the financially struggling family who has a simple plumbing problem they can't fix themselves), the assigned person can try to marshall resources to help the person.

There are too many people for the leadership to have to field it all. From that perspective, assigned families is of value, but I also agree with DJ that some people you will never want to be friends with, and neither do they want to be friends with you. This is not anti-social behavior, just the reality that like minded people tend to enjoy each others' company.

I raised this once on a TBM discussion forum years ago, and the people there said I was operating out of a clique mindset. I disagree because a clique is exclusionary. You may have friends you enjoy, but if someone with whom you have little in common approaches you, you still welcome and include them. If you ignore them, or treat them like they don't exist, well, THAT is a clique.
Yup. I have been running the clique gauntlet in telling the leadership what works and what might work for my family in terms of ministering assignments for the last 6 months or so. I get a lot of confusion because people attribute my words as a) telling the leadership what to do [well yes, in lieu of greater revelation here is what you might want to build on and has NOTHING to do with your authority and EVERYTHING to do with being a co-expert on the needs of my family], b) Amy advocating clique formation ["Amy" and "clique" do not go well in the same sentence - if you see me at church, you know that I go out of my way to make and befriend others around me without judgement.]

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 25 May 2018, 16:11

It was a hard lesson for me, probably why it took so long for me to get it (and it may change as time goes on). The lesson was, don't spend time on those who don't put any effort in themselves.

It's harsh from my 'be kind to all' mindset, but I spent so much time with youth picking them up for scouts and activities, then to have them say they weren't going after I drove all over to pick them up. Then I started calling to see if they wanted to go rather than drive all over. I did so much and later I find their parents blame me and said that I failed to help their boys. Auughh. The one thing I won't miss is doing a service project for people who could do it themselves.

Sending out a form letter, or copied canned email would be enough to let people know you're there for them when they are ready. But in my book a non-responder gets less effort than a responder.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Philosophy of Non-Responders 101

Post by SilentDawning » 30 May 2018, 04:14

LDS_Scoutmaster wrote:
25 May 2018, 16:11
Sending out a form letter, or copied canned email would be enough to let people know you're there for them when they are ready. But in my book a non-responder gets less effort than a responder.
That's it. There are enough people in the world who want to work with you, that time is too short to be chasing after non-responders.
"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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