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February 21, 2024

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jiFebruary 3, 2015

I look at all this a little differently. To me, everything in the church is a gift -- and no one has a right to DEMAND a gift. If a sister teachers a Primary class, that is a gift to those children -- and if she doesn't come one Sunday, well, the children don't get her gift that Sunday -- if the kids have to stay with their parents during the Primary lesson hour, that's okay. Yes, everyone should do their best to magnify their callings. But we seem overly focused on holding people accountable rather than appreciating people and the gifts they offer. In the work world, we hold people accountable by paying them wages and letting them go to another employer if things don't work out -- in the church world, we don't pay wages and we don't give members a chance to seek for employment in another church organization. Seriously -- if the ward organist misses a Sunday unexpectedly, what happens? What fails? We can still sing -- and we can still pray -- and we can still bear testimony -- and we can still partake of the sacrament -- yes, we miss his or her gift of music for that day, but the sacrament meeting isn't a failure. Has anyone ever shared a sentiment of appreication with their organist for his or her weekly gifts? So I reject any thought of holding church members accountable in our pastoral churches. However, I am supportive of the original posting's suggestions in an effort of ministering to the absent Sunday School teacher.

Lisa ReisingMarch 21, 2013

While I appreciate the great ideas shared here in how to confront this problem in our wards and stakes, I have a different perspective about the author's statement that we are shy about holding people accountable in "a volunteer church setting". When was the last time anyone "volunteered" to serve in a calling? We are called to serve. We accept an assignment. It is an extension of our covenant in becoming a member of the church. We don't volunteer to be a bishop or a scout leader or a teacher. When people fall down in a priesthood-generated call to serve it becomes a situation that needs remedy (which we can all be sympathetic to) but which nonetheless demands accountability. Just because we are unpaid does not make us volunteers. In other organizations "volunteers" are sometimes paid and sometimes not. If you think about it, there is a difference. Even missionaries do not volunteer to serve in specific missions - they are assigned, for a specific job in a specific amount of time. We exercised agency to be baptized and join the family of Christ - once "in", we have obligations - and when we accept a calling from a priesthood leader to serve we have an obligation to fulfill what is expected. In my estimation the breakdown of this commitment often comes in a poorly communicated "call" and/or training from immediate leaders about what the job actually entails, what the expectations are, and to whom the person will be accountable to. We all have room for improvement in these various assignments... but this is definitely not a volunteer organization - we are under a covenantal agreement to serve by assignment.

heartwingsMarch 21, 2013

Wouldn't it be great if more leaders were willing to put forth this kind of effort to both care about people finding out real reasons and also hold people accountable? Great job tackling a tough issue.

Dawn Winans - Flint, MIMarch 20, 2013

Great Article!

LynnMarch 20, 2013

The author suggests the steps of

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