Thursday, July 29, 2010

The A-E Mission

I recently was told about a mission where the missionaries would rate investigators A-E with A being the best and E being the worst. Apparently the mission adjoined another mission in a large city of three million people. So it was not uncommon for the missionaries of the other mission to encounter someone the missionaries had rated low in their potential  for being taught and eventually joining the church.  The other mission didn't have a similar rating system so it presented challenges for them when they ran across a previous investigator of the A-E mission.

The missionaries apparently subjectively identified the investigator the first time they met them in one of the five categories. Parts of the A-E mission ended up in the adjoining mission with non-A-E missionaries encountering C, D. and E investigators from time to time.

I am sure that formalizing the process allowed the A-E Mission to concentrate on the A group the most intensively followed by the B investigators and maybe a few C investigators.  Unfortunately if you were self-identified as a C, D, or E investigator you didn't get time from the A-E missionaries.

The problem of the approach was that missionaries would tell some of the investigators that they could no longer talk with them unless they were one of the higher classifications.  My respondent told me that the trouble with the system was that the person would say "If I wasn't good enough to talk to by the A-E missionaries why do you even want to bother with me."

I am not making any judgment here just stating what I heard.  I can see advantages and disadvantages to using the A-E approach.  I think that the mission president of the two mission fields might have wanted to make each other aware of the process.  It might have been better to have similar approaches.  The missionaries couldn't easily use the A-E process as a straw man because it would have been disrespectful to the A-E mission president and his missionaries in a culture that values respect.  My respondent said it was hard to explain to the person that not all missionaries agreed that they were initially categorized so low on the teaching scale.

You have to respect the mission president for trying to streamline the missionary teaching process.  Unfortunately there was a boomerang effect that I think he didn't anticipate.

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