Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tips on Being Successful Ward Mission Leader

I have always firmly believed that being successful in any calling in the LDS Church is based on first doing something in the calling and second following the instruction of church leaders. The third requirement is common sense.

In 1998 until 1999 I served as a Ward Mission Leader in Calexico, California in the Imperial Valley Stake. Our ward which took in Calexico, and a part of El Centro literally straddled the Mexico/U.S. border. We had a thousand members on the books who no longer lived there. An innovative thing that our Bishop did was to use full-time Elders as home teachers. We would assign them forty or fifty people a month that were missing. It was amazing the stories they would share during PEC about finding many lost members. Because they had been lost for a long time many had nonmember children or spouses. They became a great pool for teaching and consequently baptisms.

I have always enjoyed reading the handbooks that come with callings. I determined that I would read and follow the ward mission leader handbook faithfully. It talked about correlation. I actually held a monthly correlation with members from the Relief Society, Primary, Young Men's, Young Women's, and Elder's Quorum. We would discuss people the missionaries were working with and make assignments so if they had children they could attend activities. We would assign a specific family to them and arrange rides etc. We made sure to include this families in all our plans. We actually took off in our baptisms, having close to twenty-five when before we averaged one or two a year.

We had an usual practice also in this ward where all the leadership including counselors and secretaries showed up every Wednesday night and would go out in pair to visit the less active. We were able to pick up a lot of teaching appointments for the missionaries who worked with them later.

The only downside to the calling is that the missionaries expect you to drop everything and go out with them on exchanges, which was pretty demanding when you have eight children. We actually did a good job on exchanges we had a calendar and we made specific assignments so that every active priesthood holder had a monthly assignment. The Elder's Quorum covered Tuesdays and the High Priests covered Thursdays. It was actually quite successful as they soon learned to take the missionaries with them to their less active home teaching families to keep from having to track. The also were very dependable since they had set schedules. We actually ended up having enough men with set schedules to cover every night of the work week. I tried to do the same in another ward when I moved to Houston but they had an uproar since they were lazier.

Our ward went from being considered the Rock of Gibraltar to the top baptizing place in the San Diego Mission. I had gotten hold of a missionary and taught him the challenge by Alvin R. Dyer. The kid was a little extreme challenging and testifying even at the tire stores but he ended up with 78 baptism. Between my running the correlation and his dedication to take on home teaching assignments and challenging everyone he met to baptism we actually became to blossom as a ward.

One practical thing I learned from my calling was that you don't want to go beyond about four or five hours a week on the calling or your superiors such as ward and stake leaders will get nervous. Being an effective type of Mormon I tamed down and got along with the ward leaders. The bishop said I was the best ward mission leader he ever worked with in his whole church career. Honestly I knew I could have done more but there is a balance to everything.

1 comment:

Nicholas said...

Hey! I just received my calling as Ward Mission Leader (though here in Germany we call it "Gemeinde Missionsleiter")... :)

Anyhow, I wanted to thank you for your post here. I found it very thought provocative, and I think the main thing I'll take away from it is the idea that a little creativity can go a long way. So, thanks! I'm pretty excited about the journey ahead!