Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mission Presidents Holding Mission Leader Conferences: Thinking Outside the Box Series

When ward mission leaders meet with missionaries each week in their correlation meetings the information that is disseminated rarely if ever goes up the line to the mission president. When I served as a ward mission leader in Calexico, California we had some startling results through the active involvement with the members where over seventy people were baptized. Never in the year when all the investigators where baptized did we hear from the mission president. I personally didn't hear anything about what he thought of our results nor did the bishop nor did the missionary express one word about him.

There is a disconnect in the mission hierarchy in terms of communication. Missionaries report their mission in terms of potential converts and most mission presidents surmise what is being done or not being done so in fact they are only guessing about how the results are being achieved. Many times the results are driven by a ward's accomplishment in terms of member missionary work at other times it is a joint effort and sometimes it is wholly the personality of the missionaries. I think it is unfortunate that this disconnect exists in the church that communication doesn't run up and down the missionary channels.

I have been giving this matter some thought and it seems strange to me that ward mission leaders receive little to know training at the ward and especially at the mission level. Just because a man served a mission doesn't mean that he knows how to be a ward mission leader nor does reading a brief manual with his duties help him to be an effective ward mission leader.

Tbis was brought home to me in a comment from a recent ward mission leader on a recent post LDS Ward Mission Leader's Responsibilities:

I was just put in as a ward mission leader in our ward/ branch Our ward was combined from 2 wards into one and it is actually the size of a branch I got the ward mission leader book and all it has is tabs not even blank pages in it we have had very poor leader ship with missionary work far from their mind I do not even have a leadership book I could go on for days about things but I will not I am commenting to thank you for your blog It has been since 1994 that I was on a mission in Idaho lots has changed and I do not know when I will have the proper books Thank you so much for your insight and listing the policy and procedures I know many times you write a blog and wonder if it will ever make a difference I can tell you if nothing else you have made a difference for meand I am about to Rock this Branch we have a lot of potential 10% hometeaching 80% inactive lots of work but lots of potential.
I am sure that this individual is not alone in his feelings of wanting to receive some training.

I was thinking one way that mission presidents could become better connected to ward mission leaders would be to hold a series of mission leader conferences every six months. Just like a mission president trains zone leaders or district leaders he could train ward mission leaders. He could conduct them very much the way he does the first two with short training techniques and interviews. He could even hold interviews with them and answer specific questions and find out what is happening in every ward in his mission. I feel it would also help him receive more referrals as ward mission leaders would see him involved directly in the mission process and trust him better to share the names of their friends and family members. I don't feel it would be stepping on hierarchical toes by doing this and it would improve the ward mission leaders ability to do their callings better. Mission presidents wouldn't need second hand reports to know how their missionaries are doing as it would be another form of feedback. In addition missionaries would have to step up their work if the mission president and ward mission leader consulted on the direction a particular ward so move in mission work.

Maybe this is being done in some missions in the church but I feel it should be done on a churchwide basis so a uniformity of results might occur. I know that numbers are higher in foreign fields where the mission president is sometimes also the eccesliastical leader also and directs regional and local work. I am convinced this is one way of revitalizing the work in developed areas where there is less communication up and down the channels.

1 comment:

Bookslinger said...

Your idea of WML's receiving training from the Mission president (or a member of the Mission presidency) has merit. That is because the WML is the hands-on interface between the ward and the full-time missionaries.

However, as a ward calling, the WML's ultimate responsibility is under the bishopric, and as a priesthood calling, he is also under the authority of the stake presidency and the member of the high council who has responsibility over missionary work.