The Same Ten People. Everybody knows them, wants to be one of them, or wishes they weren’t one of them. It all depends on where we are in life — both geographically and situationally. As one reader observed, “If you want to lead, move into a small ward.” Is it as easy as that? Let’s see what our readers have to day:
I use to believe in the STP concept until I became a Primary President and later on worked with Compassionate Service in Relief Society. In those positions, I didn’t realize how many people in a ward, who I thought (and still think) are great, would say no when the calling was extended.
It surprised me really, after spending time spiritually preparing myself for inspiration then making the request, only to be told later on that the person said no.
Also, I didn’t realize before how many people in a ward are unable to work in different capacities due to mental illness or personal issues or criminal past — things we don’t see on the outside. It really is another area in life that we just shouldn’t judge because we simply don’t know all the reasons; and I for one, don’t want to know all the reasons!
You’re right, Jennifer. There are lots of things I don’t want to know. One of the disadvantages of leadership is that you find out a whole lot of stuff that you’d be happier not knowing.
The STP in my branch are the only ones that have demonstrated a willingness to serve. I am in a small branch with an average recent attendance of around 75-80. I am currently serving as Primary president for the second time (six years total). I have served as Young Women president for seven years, followed by a year as advisor. I have served brief periods in Relief Society, never more than a few months.
I have been to the point where I personally had to teach every week while serving in Young Women because the only counselor who would come would always forget about teaching, in spite of being reminded several times during the week. It sends the youth a poor message when they are not important enough for you to be prepared.
Right now, our Primary presidency and secretary are serving triple duty by taking up the slack for teaching, music, and the Faith in God program. Our Valiant teacher came to church this past Sunday and when she didn’t show up for Primary, I thought she left church early. However, she just didn’t come to Primary. This happened once before when she was called as Primary chorister — she just quit coming to Primary.
I’ve had a secretary who just sat there like she didn’t know what to do in spite of my telling her what her duties were. I had a second counselor who became offended by our branch president and quit coming to church, but she wouldn’t agree to be released.
I am currently serving as Primary president, music chairman, branch organist/pianist, family history consultant, visiting teacher, temple ordinance worker, and Primary pianist, and I prepare a monthly newsletter for the branch. To say I am overwhelmed is putting it mildly, and it’s been this way for the 20 years I have been a member.
I have served like this while working a full-time job, with two children at home, an unsupportive spouse who expected dinner if I came home after Wednesday night meetings at 9:00 p.m., and while I was serving as a Girl Scout leader.
I am now retired and my children are grown and gone. My spouse has softened, and all this service didn’t kill me. I know people are at different levels of spiritual progression, but it’s very frustrating. My branch president told me this past Sunday that he was aware of the shortage of teachers in Primary, but we will just have to deal with it for a while because the “STP” are currently serving in other callings. The upside to all this is that I know the gospel is true and yes, I have been blessed beyond measure.
Wow, Appalachian! Next time I feel overworked I’m going to think about you and how easy my life is. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s fascinating to see how wards can differ, even though they are organized exactly the same.
As a bishop’s wife and with 40 years of callings (I started playing piano for Primary as a teenager), I have seen this problem so many times. In our smaller wards it’s a matter of active people who end up with two or three callings. The reality is not ability but reliability and sometimes overburdened leaders pick the STP for that reason. The others are asked, but even if they accept the assignment or calling often they do it a couple of times and quit or as other priorities come up do no-shows.
When we lived in Utah it was a different story. While I was serving in a Relief Society presidency that was considering who to ask for an activity assignment, we did ask a talented and overworked sister. When she declined and suggested some other names, we realized we were just asking the most convenient and obvious person with the best chance of a successful activity and less of a risk for our own reputations. I agree — call someone new and provide as a leader extra support.
Bishop’s Wife, your letter reminded me of something our former stake president told us last week when we were discussing the STP phenomenon with him. He said there are some bishops who, when they pray about how a calling should be filled, ask who would be the best person to help the ward in that position. Other bishops ask which person in the ward would most benefit from having that calling.
As you can see, the question the bishop asks in his prayer could yield an entirely different answer from another question. Same bishop, same calling, same God answering the prayer — but an entirely different answer. It depends on whether the bishop’s goal is to help the ward run more smoothly or to benefit the individuals who receive the callings. That’s an interesting thing to consider.
In my last ward, which I was in for almost 25 years, it seemed like it was the STP over and over again. I would say that about 25-35% of the people moving into that new housing area had been in previous presidency callings before we all moved into that ward. Those people did a great job in their callings but I think morale in our ward was a little low sometimes because of it, especially with the sisters. When we moved about 10 years ago I was given more opportunities, including Relief Society president. When choosing my counselors, secretary, teachers, and others, I looked around at sisters in the ward who had never had a chance to serve in a presidency or anything but Primary and felt inspired to choose sisters who needed to grow.
Every one of those sisters accepted their callings and did a wonderful job. They all mentioned to me how happy they were to be given a new opportunity. I wonder if my new ward has been different because we’ve only had inexperienced bishops.
For the most part leadership callings are offered to people in our ward who have never served in that capacity before. I know that some were not up to the challenge, but they all tried.
It’s probably harder on a bishop to choose people who have no experience, because then his job isn’t as easy. But there is a learning curve and I feel that all people can meet the challenge if given a chance. I feel very blessed that I’ve had these opportunities and it’s given me a better understanding of what presidencies go through. Everyone should be in a presidency just so they’ll have compassion for those who have those callings after them.
Salt Lake City, UT
You’re right, April. If more of us had experience in leadership positions, we would be entirely more compassionate about allowing others in leadership positions that may not be the choices we’d make.
I am not an STP, and that is all there is to it.
I live in a small rural town in Idaho where my husband and I moved in 30 some years ago. It is impossible to break in. The same families have the “high notoriety” jobs over and over. Last week at church someone bore a testimony and mentioned yet again the importance of the “important jobs” in the ward. Teachers, scout leaders, librarians, secretaries, bulletin makers, bulletin board creators, and nursery leaders are peons.
Growing up was much the same. There were four girls in my MIA class (yes, MIA — long ago). One had an STP momma. She was usually the president. Then the other two girls were called as counselors. Why? They were inactive and it would bring them out at least for the week they were put in a leadership position. If a new girl moved in she was made secretary. In six years I was never once in the presidency, though I was always active. Once as a senior I asked why. I was told it was because they knew I would always be there. The others needed a leadership position to get them to come out on occasion.
A couple of years later I was called to be the ward singles rep. (All the STPs were married, and I was the only available one.) I had had no experience in a leadership calling and made several blunders. Looking back they were small, but to me at the time they seemed huge, humiliating, and clumsy. Most of all they were made because I had never had any experience in a leadership position and did not know the “rules of the game.” Because I was active, I was expected to know the rules, yet had not been given the opportunity to learn them.
I have not been in a leadership role in the Church since I moved to this town and doubt I ever will be. I do not lack skills, and have had many leadership roles at work and in the community. I am simply not one of the STPs of our area. I had one Primary president once inform me (and her comment was unsolicited) that I was not good enough for a leadership position. I have no idea what “good enough” is.
This is not just on a ward level. It is also the way things are run in the stake. As a whole, the same families run the ward and run the stake.
In saying all this, however, I often know that these people are called by inspiration and maybe sometimes — as one compassionate sister told me — they are the ones who are not good enough, and who need to have the rough edges worn off.
One summer my son was not allowed to bless the sacrament because his blond hair had bleached even blonder from lifeguarding at the pool, but the son of a member of the high council (STP) was allowed to bless the sacrament although his dark hair was platinum frosted. I did bring that up to another member of the high council and that was changed.
I am older now and don’t care, but for many years it would have been nice to have my turn for a short while. It would have been a welcome change to know what is going on in the ward, to have friends to share spiritual experiences with as a presidency, to feel the Lord guide me in meeting the needs of a group of people, to choose an activity, to run it and to have the sweet satisfaction that it went well and the participants had a wonderfully fun, or spiritual or learning time.
Outsider, my heart breaks for you. I can’t imagine what kind of person would actually tell you that you are “not good enough” to hold a calling. What an insensitive oaf! Has she never heard the phrase, “Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies”?
I don’t know if you read the comments after this column, but one was made a couple of weeks ago by someone named “Suzette” that made a lot of sense to me. She said, “If you want to be an STP, then find ways to serve those STP. Be actively involved and happily supportive in whatever they are planning.” There’s a lot wisdom in that. When ward leaders are looking for people to serve with them, the people whose names are put on the prayer list are people they know — people they’ve worked with before. Be one of those people. Even if you never get called into a high profile position, you can be one of the people who are holding up the leaders. And that’s a very good thing to be.
By the way, I’ve never heard of hair color determining which young men are allowed to bless the sacrament. It must be a local thing in your area. For the sake of everyone in your stake, I hope the people who decide these things eventually learn what really determines the worth of a soul.
I was very interested in this letter and the topic raised about service. I would suggest that “Befuddled’s” situation in the ward described is extreme with only four sisters being rotated, but there is usually in a ward “the core” who serve diligently and are often leaned on to take leadership positions. I have been part of the core but also a dark horse at different times in my life.
I think it is important to remember that leadership positions are not “earned” and that it is a mistake to look at a calling that is visible (as a president of an organization) as a worthiness indicator or righteousness reward. When the apostles argued over who was greatest, they were admonished by the Lord that the greatest is the servant of all. It is not where we serve but how we serve.
When we focus on who has the leadership positions and put undue emphasis on worrying about how those callings are distributed and whether it is “fair,” we have strayed from remembering what service to the Lord is meant to be. Whether it is a visible leadership calling or a behind-the-scenes calling, the Lord’s concern is that we serve Him well and love those we serve.
I have served in multiple presidencies over the years and have also served in “non- leadership” callings, but what has mattered most is that I felt my priesthood leader had extended a call on behalf the Lord and I was expected to serve wholeheartedly and to do the best I could. Perhaps if we are feeling slighted in our opportunities to serve or that others are being slighted, we need to examine our motives in serving — is it for the Lord or for some other purpose?
Serving Wherever Called
You make good points, Serving. There are indeed people in the Church who think of callings as being earned. I once had a new Relief Society president tell me that she had been called because it was “her turn.” This was the attitude she had the whole time she was serving, and it soon became apparent that the reason she had been called was to teach her some lessons, rather than for her to bless the women of the ward.
I have been a teacher in our ward, over and over and over. Twice called as a counselor in a presidency, but it was a short-lived calling and when I was released, I was put right back into teaching.
We left the ward that has been our home ward for almost 30 years in the late 80s, to take an overseas assignment with my husband’s company. There, I was called to be the Primary president, and then, the Young Women president. Would that I had had some — any — experience in serving in these auxiliaries, but I had to learn as I served. I was a little successful but would have been more so had I had experience in my home ward prior to the calls overseas.
We were gone for five years. While in the new location, we served in the ward and stake with honor and inspiration. We were respected and sought for counsel and insight. We both had wonderful experiences serving and learning in leadership positions.
But, interestingly, within two weeks of the time we had returned to our home ward, both my husband and I were called to the exact same callings we had been serving in when we left. I have wondered many times if that was inspiration or just convenience, and a lack of real thought about how the experiences we had had away from the ward could be used to build Zion in our little corner of the USA. No one even asked about the positions we’d served in while away. And so it has continued.
In a larger perspective, there’s no training of a broader base of women to take over the role of the president of an organization by putting new and different women in the roles of counselor. No one seems to remember that position changes perspective and the call to head an organization will temper and soften people as they deal with the challenges presented by the calling. In this stake, in this ward, I will never be called to serve as anything other than a teacher. Not that I don’t love to teach, but I would also like to stretch my wings and serve in different capacities instead of always and forever teaching.
So, we’re moving again. Husband is retiring within the next two years and we are moving to a very rural area in a different state. We will be living in a small branch, which we have visited on a number of occasions, and whose members are very anxious for us to move there. I’m sure, and the spirit has confirmed, we’ll be used in leadership positions, in both the branch and stake. The ward and stake in which we currently live have cast us in roles that they so not seem willing to change.
I’m afraid I’ve become cynical about being passed over again and again and again here, when the Lord considered me worthy and able to serve as a leader in another field of labor. When called to serve in this small branch, I will need the experience of having been a president or counselor in all of the axillaries, but that training has been denied me because of the way I’m viewed by ward and stake priesthood leaders.
I am glad to leave even though I will miss the people I’ve come to love in this current ward.
I don’t know why the same people serve over and over as leaders of organizations, but I do know it robs others of the opportunity to grow in service, to learn how the Church works, how to work under the direction of the priesthood, and to learn how to administer the programs of the Lord.
I understand where you’re coming from, Looking. Before we moved to Virginia, my husband and I served in a ward where he was always and forever the elders quorum secretary. More than twenty-five years later, I think he would still be the elders quorum secretary if we still lived in that ward. Once people think of you in a certain way, minds can be very difficult to change.
However, in my experience it is a lot harder to find a good teacher than it is to find a good organization leader. It may be that you and your husband have been “held back” simply because you are such good teachers that you are influencing more people through your teaching than you would ever influence if you were in a leadership position.
I would suggest that the reason the same people are called over and over again is that they have proven to be spiritual, intelligent, and reliable over and over again. While that may be true, and these qualities make life much easier for bishops, I totally agree that busy as they are, bishops should occasionally at least give another woman a chance to prove herself. They might be surprised at the results, and the woman chosen will receive at least an opportunity to gain new talents and experiences. The STP phenomenon is a common problem in many wards. I wonder if bishops even realize they are guilty of STP.
I agree with you, Curious, that some bishops may not even be aware they are perpetuating the STP phenomenon in their wards. However, they may just be looking for people who would do a calling well rather than looking for people who would grow in the calling. I’ve learned to never try to read anyone else’s motives. We’re all so different that what seems inscrutable to one person may be obvious in the mind of another.
Our next letter isn’t just going to raise some eyebrows. It may raise some hackles as well. I’m printing it because no matter how you feel about what the writer says, his letter is going to make you think. If you’re not in a thinking mood (and I’m often not, depending on the day), just skip on to the next letter.
I bring a seasoned background to the subject: In my church service history I have presided over six units of the Church, starting as a LDS serviceman’s group leader in Vietnam and including two terms as bishop in two different wards. I have also given years and years of service on three different stake high councils.
My wife was a 22-year-old Relief Society president of an inner-city ward when I was called as bishop; she would have been Relief Society president many other times (a true STP candidate) had I not been the bishop. We had a unique calling together. She was called by the stake president as Relief Society president of a branch remote to our home. I eventually was called as the branch president of that congregation.
My comment is a bold no-holds-barred, frank, tough-medicine, honest discussion (you asked for it, you got it). Why are there STPers? Church leaders need reliable hard-working, loyal, self-starting auxiliary leaders who can function with a minimum of supervision and training. These are qualities found in a limited number of members.
I spent up to 20 hours a week in counseling, temple recommend, and other ward staffing interviews. The last thing I needed was a whining, complaining auxiliary president to baby sit and motivate. Anyone known to be a rumor-monger, leadership-criticizer was eliminated as a candidate for auxiliary president. Such a person is hard to find (especially among the sisters).
Complainers in leadership positions disrupt the healthy functioning of the ward.
Good leaders must be active, exemplary, temple recommend-holding Latter-day Saints. They must have a supportive family. They must be respected by the ward members and willing and able to put in the time. They must have additionally demonstrated leadership capabilities through faithful fulfillment of other callings. These basic requirements may leave the bishop with only 10 suitable candidates in a ward. Hence we are left with the STP few.
I have occasionally chosen the “dark horse” candidate but usually later regretted it. I thought of an exception: I called an elderly single sister to be the RS President. She was one of the best ever.
These criteria apply to stake callings of ward elders quorum presidents and high priest group leaders as well.
If you are not among the STP, make an honest, in-depth evaluation of yourself against these criteria, make the necessary changers and quit whining and complaining about being left out.
There you have it, readers — one bishop’s reason why he relies on the STP. Not all bishops have the same mind-set. Like our former stake president, quoted earlier in this column, some people call individuals to train them rather than for the good of the ward. There’s no one right or wrong way to do it.
It’s not just for women — often it is the men who are in the STP. Some men are always in a bishopric, high council, or some other “high” position, while others never seem to get a chance. Our stake has many, many talented people, some of whom have never had a chance for leadership positions because the others are constantly being recycled. Just sayin’ (as you said last week)!
From a Great Stake in Texas
Don’t I know that, Great! We have a man in our ward who is both extremely personable and a spiritual giant, and he is languishing in throw-away callings. I don’t know the reasoning behind this. He doesn’t seem upset by it, though. He continues to serve cheerfully and faithfully wherever he is called. I assume the Lord is grooming him for something great — but the jury is out as to whether it will be in this life or the next. It is our ward’s loss that he has never been made our bishop.
I am (currently) a Primary president in a relatively small ward. I guess you could call me one of the STPs because I’ve served in many presidencies in many wards over the years. I have worked with several bishops and others and I know they, for the most part, are asking the Lord, “Who should serve in that calling?”
I am fairly new to this particular ward, so I have no idea who has served where in the past. So I ask that same question, “Who is best for this class or calling?” Sometimes I’ve wanted to ignore the answer. I often question the impression and then receive instruction as to why the Lord feels it’s time for them to have a particular calling. Notice I said it was time for them to have the calling, not necessarily that they could do the calling.
I’ve always seen growth in anyone who serves (my current counselor tells me I see growth or progress where most people don’t). I know it seems to many people that callings are given to the STPs, and I truly, truly hope that leaders are looking around and giving everyone a chance to grow — not just their friends or neighbors. But I also know that everyone can grow, wherever they are currently serving — and being an auxiliary president doesn’t mean that person is more favored of the Lord.
In an ironic note: Right after I landed in this place, I had need to find a new nursery leader. I asked and asked the Lord. I got names, I turned them in, calls were extended (remember I said I had no idea who had served where?), and several people who were called turned the calling down saying, “I’ve already had my turn at that!” I finally said, “Great, I haven’t had my turn in this ward (I’ve done it four times before, though), so call me!” But the Lord sent a very sweet, wonderful sister to our ward who loved serving there. So — what do you think? Are the STPs also serving in nursery, too? I’ve always said, my favorite calling is the one I’m doing right now!
Kathleen, I was very impressed by one thing you said: “Notice I said it was time for them to have the calling, not necessarily that they could do the calling.” When people are given a calling, it is said the mantle falls on them. However, it is up to the people to catch it when it falls. Some people choose not to do so — and even that is part of the learning process.
There is also the problem of the “getting-a-little-older” sisters who have jobs of little responsibility. I have served in presidencies twice in 30 years and as a teacher in Relief Society and four years as Gospel Doctrine teacher, but now all I get is as a backup teacher to Young Women and now Primary. I am a school teacher, a very young 60, but most jobs are given to the 35- to 50-year-old sisters. Are we now out to pasture?
The same thing doesn’t apply to the men, who seem to have jobs of some responsibility when they are my age. I would love to have more to do even though I work long hours (but so do many of the men). I know many young women need to learn to serve, but I don’t want to be forgotten.
Munching the Clover
That is a problem, Munching. In our ward some effort is made to populate Relief Society presidencies with women from all ages and walks of life. It really makes the whole group feel better to know that nobody’s needs have been overlooked. Relief Society presidents, if you have a diverse ward you should be populating your leadership with women from all walks of life.
Everyone needs a voice.
I live in one of the most amazing family wards in the universe — I truly do — and have for the past dozen years. I have been so blessed to have served in Primary and Sunday School as a chorister and teacher, I have been the ward librarian (one of the best jobs in the Church after ringing the Nauvoo Bell!) and coached Young Women in sports and have served in Cub Scouts, so I can’t say that I have not been called to positions that have truly helped me to grow in the gospel and learn to love the youth — from Sunbeams right up through high school graduation
So why am I writing? After twelve years in this ward, watching people move in and move out, accepting every calling offered to me, I sometimes wondered why I was not “worthy” enough to serve in a leadership position. I attend church every Sunday and the temple every week. I cheerfully fill in when called on to teach in Relief Society or Primary, I always stay after ward functions to help clean up and put away the mess, fold chairs or scrub sinks.
I love my ward, and have loved and supported the three bishoprics that have presided over the ward while I have been a member there. During that time, I have come to the conclusion that the Lord needs our hands and our hearts where He puts them — and if the STP serve in leadership positions then that is between the Lord and those who have the Priesthood authority to issue the calls.
Maybe the Lord is mindful of me and in my current situation as a single parent to two Primary- aged children, and knows that the additional responsibility will be more than I can do at this time. Maybe he is actually protecting me from running faster than I can go.
I love the Priesthood and I love my Heavenly Father, who is the fount of that power and authority, and I also know that He sees my service through eternal eyes. Maybe being willing to do “grunt work” and not whining or questioning why I don’t get a notebook and a weekly session with the bishop is part of my eternal progress to become the daughter of God I truly want to be.
I think that we can too quickly forget that every calling is issued through that power and authority, and we have to trust that our Heavenly Father knows us, loves us and will be ever so merciful to us regardless of how many times we’ve served as part of a presidency or how many times we’ve served cake and cleaned up plates. If the Messiah can wash feet, then shouldn’t we follow his example of love and service?
Happy Hands in Las Vegas
Happy, you underestimate yourself. The ability to “do ‘grunt work’ without whining or questioning why” is a rare gift, both in and out of the Church. You may not be in high profile callings, but I suspect you are one of the people who are holding up your ward. Your corner of Las Vegas would be a lot poorer without you.
My daughter and I discussed this topic after I read the article. I have been in wards with The Same Five People or Same Twenty People. At times I have been one of them and at others I was invisible or had other things going on.
Early in my membership I was delighted to be totally overlooked. I figured my nose ring would keep me out of high-demand callings. Sadly when I lived in wards that were so small that everyone was an SFP I was so badly needed that nothing would keep me out of those jobs. I also lived in wards where people were not judgmental and I wound up in presidencies despite how I looked. In fact my first calling with much responsibility was in Utah in a desperate little ward where anyone who was worthy and had a pulse was put to work.
I am currently living in my 12th ward during 23 years of church membership. Two wards were outside the USA. My first thought was that finding people who can fill jobs with responsibility is much harder than people think. Many people who appear to have it all together and be capable have invisible issues that render them unable. In my case I went through a period of poor health that no one could have seen from looking at me, but which rendered me unable to serve. I had to ask to be released from a presidency. Often leaders are privy to information that others are not privy to, and they may have reasons not to call people to certain positions.
Next, many people will serve in a presidency because it is a status calling, but it’s a lot harder to get people in to the high demand, but low status jobs. I was a visiting teaching coordinator in a ward with extremely high turnover, where we lost a third to half of the members each year. The only tougher circumstance is military wards. Getting people to accept that job was very hard. I have also happily served in the nursery and in Primary. Many, many people refuse these jobs. Those super dependable and competent people are needed very badly indeed, and the Lord looks at them with all of the appreciation any president might get.
From time to time I have been in a ward where someone who is not an obvious choice is called and many people just flip. One Relief Society president I worked closely with was honestly a bit nuts, but she was just a fabulous president. She drove our bishop up a wall, but he called her because he was inspired. He never would have chosen her otherwise; neither he nor anyone else had any idea how fabulous she would be. The two of us had a blast working together and integrating our third presidency members (we went through a couple) with our fun and games. Leaders face some serious criticism when they make non-traditional choices.
My daughter’s thought was of the flack people give leaders. Many people may be plenty capable and competent, but Heavenly Father may want to spare some of the sensitive and tender souls from the criticism that leaders can be subjected to. I remember one ward I was in where a member of our bishopric (who happened to be a favorite of mine) got an anonymous letter from a member who was upset with the way he would put his hands in his pockets when he spoke! I am not making this up. That is an innocuous example, but there are many who can be very offended by the things said to and about leaders. Only those with very thick skins and forgiving personalities need apply.
When we have lower demand callings it gives us opportunities for more private and unofficial acts of service that we would not have time for otherwise. The STP will often be too busy to make a bit of extra time for a lonely person. We can have time freed up to go out in to the world and get to know people outside our faith.
A few years back I spent some time around a wonderful member of our ward whose wife had just died. He was a temple worker and one of the most spiritual and competent people I have ever known. Never in his life did he have a status calling. I realized that here was a man who could have been a prophet or apostle and there are far more people of this caliber than there are those types of church jobs. These wonderful people are needed everywhere and we need to let the Lord staff His kingdom as he sees fit and bloom where we are planted.
Some of the time good people are getting ignored, but I think we all need to get over it and do what we can where we are without nitpicking our leaders. Wait long enough and a new regime will come in.
Happy in L.A.
You make a good point, Happy. Bishops only change about every five years, and there are far more men than one in a ward at any one time who would make a good bishop. Everyone else is left with a supporting role — not just in support of the bishop, but in support of all auxiliary leaders.
First and foremost, all church callings are equal. “Importance” is a worldly concept and has no place in the Lord’s love for us. Whether we’re the songbook coordinator or the stake president, we’re loved equally and have equal status in the Lord’s perspective. We know that it doesn’t matter where we serve, but how we serve. We should magnify our calling in whatever our stewardship.
Many good, talented people in the Church are never called to leadership positions. Maybe they’ve already developed leadership talents and capabilities and don’t need that calling. Undoubtedly the Lord has valid reasons for not inspiring a leadership calling for these people.
There’s also that segment of a ward membership who simply will not step up and make the sacrifices that leadership callings require. If they are called to leadership positions, they are soon released because they fail to follow through.
My mother-in-law just had to shake her head when she was asked again to provide part of the refreshments for a Relief Society function. Her answer was, “I’d be happy to, but I think you should know that I’ve been on the food committee for the last several functions. Maybe someone else would like a turn.” The Relief Society president’s response was, “I know that you’ve helped multiple times, but there only about twenty sisters in this ward who will help.” This was in a large ward in Salt Lake City.
My son-in-law was a leader in the Young Men for a number of years. He knew that he had — at the most — three fathers who’d agree to help with overnight camping activities. Other fathers always had an excuse when asked to help out.
“Wannabe” leaders need to learn that opportunities to serve will never come at convenient times and that you prove to the bishop and Heavenly Father your level of gospel commitment when you fulfill your stewardship in whatever assignment you have been given at whatever the cost.
What a great letter to end today’s column, Observant! Thanks for reminding us that status is a worldly concept, and that as far as the Lord is concerned, how we serve is the important thing.
Okay, people, I have just enough letters for one more week on this topic. Please do not send any more of them! Then we’ll go on to another subject, where you can all air your opinions. I’ll even give you a hint. Plunging necklines, anyone?
Until next week — Kathy
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”