Does Programmed Service Build Community?

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SilentDawning
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Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by SilentDawning » 18 Jun 2018, 06:56

I have a question -- we know that our RS has a program where if someone is sick, the RS takes meals over to the family who is experiencing the sickness or other trial. It's a way of showing you care.

But if everyone (or most people) get this kind of service, does this really build community? To me, programmed service takes the life out of love and service. It makes it hard to determine if the person is doing it in order to comply with the program, or if they truly care about the person they are serving.

Now, CUSTOMIZED service, that is not programmed, and that meets the needs of the member in need, to me is much more effective in building a caring community.

Do you think programmed service is effective in building community? If not, how DO you go about creating a thriving, caring community in a church or Ward?
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DarkJedi
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Jun 2018, 09:06

I think it can. Using your example, our local Methodist congregation does something very similar. When someone is sick, has a death in the family,etc., they are very very good at bringing around meals to those "in need." They're far more efficient than we are about it actually, even using a Google calendar so people can pick when they want to bring something and everyone can see what everyone else brought. An email announcement goes out and within a few hours it's all taken care of - no calling or cajoling people. I have seen this work several times in the community, and I've even participated. I doubt whether all Methodist congregations are set up this same way, but it works for them and our little town.

That said, I see your point - personalized/individualized/customized service certainly has its benefits. I think that happens in the Methodist community as well but it's more quiet. I also think that kind of service is what ministering is about. The warning from the Seventy who did ministering training with us comes to mind. He warned us not to try to programmize ministering.
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Roy
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by Roy » 18 Jun 2018, 09:18

Having meals brought over makes me feel cared for and part of the ward community.

I appreciate that my family has home and visiting teachers that I can reach out to. I do not need monthly visits, but I do know who they are and I am assertive enough to contact them when there is a need.

The better solution is to have a real friend. Sometimes I think how much different our church experience would be if my wife just had one good friend in the ward. In the mean time however, having some programmed service from the ward "family" can be a lifeline.
"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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Roy
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by Roy » 18 Jun 2018, 09:20

What would an example of customized service be?
"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

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by AmyJ » 18 Jun 2018, 11:08

SilentDawning wrote:
18 Jun 2018, 06:56
I have a question -- we know that our RS has a program where if someone is sick, the RS takes meals over to the family who is experiencing the sickness or other trial. It's a way of showing you care.
Yup. Unless your family has special dietary needs, or doesn't need meals (or both).
SilentDawning wrote:
18 Jun 2018, 06:56
But if everyone (or most people) get this kind of service, does this really build community? To me, programmed service takes the life out of love and service. It makes it hard to determine if the person is doing it in order to comply with the program, or if they truly care about the person they are serving.

Now, CUSTOMIZED service, that is not programmed, and that meets the needs of the member in need, to me is much more effective in building a caring community.
After my baby was born, the sisters came to visit us - some of them brought food, but mostly they came for us. They came to listen to my crazy delivery story, to sit with me while I was recovering/resting. My visiting teacher volunteered to watch my oldest - day or night (she specifically said we could drop off my eldest at 3 AM while on the way to the hospital), because she knew that we had no family in the area.
SilentDawning wrote:
18 Jun 2018, 06:56
Do you think programmed service is effective in building community? If not, how DO you go about creating a thriving, caring community in a church or Ward?
i think that meals are an institutional way to start - more of an introduction to the idea that one can do specific actions to serve others. Sort of the training wheels for ministering to others. We use food all the time to introduce ourselves in our communities, and to be an "ice breaker" to start relationships.

I don't think that programmed service is effective. I guess you create a caring community by listening, not judging, and being apart of the person's life.

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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jun 2018, 12:53

Yes, sometimes.

No, sometimes.

Hard to say ahead of time.
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Roy
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by Roy » 18 Jun 2018, 12:58

Curt Sunshine wrote:
18 Jun 2018, 12:53
Yes, sometimes.

No, sometimes.

Hard to say ahead of time.
Time after time! :lol:
"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

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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mom3
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by mom3 » 18 Jun 2018, 13:13

I think they do.

Anything can become check listed. Does routine taking of the Sacrament or Eucharist build community?

Community is built when your heart cares. Whether it's an assigned deal or something you do spontaneously, like helping a neighbor build a fence or haul off a chopped down tree.

I appreciate that we have systems of information for either option in our religious community. I try to make every effort to sign up for those options. I have been the giver and recipient and on both ends it helps me.

Signing up for meals is not programmed. No one corners you and says, "I notice you never sign up?" It's a choice.

Customized service often comes after you get to know someone or something. But the room for building community is still a maybe. I have watched people in my wards and Stake attend customized service and one of the few complainers complaints was that "he didn't get time to connect with his ward members." In my mind that wasn't the intent. The intent was for us to give large scale, meaningful service to people outside the standard LDS circle.

I bit my tongue through his entire diatribe, because I wanted to say "If you want to get to know people in your ward, go the monthly ward party."

I believe we build community when we serve. Like life some days are good. Other's not so much.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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SamBee
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by SamBee » 18 Jun 2018, 13:23

I believe it genuinely can. Especially with those members who are shy, but require service.

The program is the spark... we should just hope it catches.
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nibbler
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Re: Does Programmed Service Build Community?

Post by nibbler » 19 Jun 2018, 14:31

There's the idea that we serve the people we love. I believe that we also grow to love the people we serve.

I agree in that I feel that service that is performed because someone feels compelled to do something isn't as effective in building communities as volunteered service.

There's the question of whether any service would take place at all if not for assignments and social pressure. I think it would but the service would be just the bare-bones things that people found meaningful. So much of church feels like keeping busy for the sake of being busy, I don't know whether that kind of activity builds communities.

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