Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Calling all callings

So, you know when you get that phone call during the week...

"Hi, this is Bishop/Brother Smith. I'd like to meet with you/you and your spouse sometime this week/before church on Sunday..."

You know it's a calling. If it was a talk, they'd just ask you over the phone. If they were going to release you without issuing a new calling, they'd just stop you in the hall and let you know. So, it's a new calling.

Then, there's the issue of who you are going to meet with and if your spouse is invited. Primary teacher? Bishop's counselor, no spouse. Young Men's President? Bishop, spouse required. Activities committee? Bishop's counselor, nabbed in the hallway between classes.

So what about when a counselor wants to meet with both of you? It's likely not a high-profile make-sure-the-spouse-can-support-you-in-this-calling calling. Otherwise, you'd be talking to the bishop's secretary to make an appointment. Could be a joint calling. "We'd like the two of you to work in the nursery." Or it could be two separate callings and they are just saving time by having you come in as a couple. "Sister, we'd like you to be on the enrichment committee and Brother, we'd like you to be in charge of the ward bulletin."

I know, I know... all callings are important. Any opportunity you have to serve in the Church is a good one and you will be blessed for it. Some callings are time-consuming and emotionally draining. Some call for you to linger in the background until needed. Some are require special talents that not all members possess. Some require no special training, just a commitment of time.

I'm not interested in trying to rank the importance of callings within the church. But I have noticed differences in the manner of issuance of the call which seem to correlate to "importance." The bishop vs. counselor issue. Or the spouse or no spouse issue. Or this:

"Brother and Sister, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. We've been reorganizing some of our auxiliary organizations and have been prayerfully considering who the Lord might desire to fill these callings. The new auxiliary president has given me your name as someone he/she felt inspired to call as the new secretary in this presidency... We'll set you apart after church..."

Versus:

"Well, we've had a really hard time getting someone reliable in this calling. But the stake is really on our backs now to make sure that each ward has a representative. We thought of you because it would probably fit into your schedule and we need someone right away. I don't have any details about it, but I'll try to find someone to get you some information... If you want to be set apart, you can come down after church..."

I've experienced both. Isn't there anything between inspiration and desperation? Are there only certain callings inspired and the rest are just plug-and-play? Because it also seems like people are encouraged to go home and pray about certain callings but other callings are based solely on your availability and your willingness to serve. And I've got to say, it doesn't really make you feel like you will be contributing anything important when someone tells you "We picked you because you don't have a calling" as opposed to "We were inspired to call you."

I'm not complaining, I'm just wondering. Anyone out there have any insight as to how this works?

3 comments:

Star said...

As part of a Primary presidency in the past, in my experience, every calling is a matter of both. Typically, the calling is offered to someone who is a good fit, schedule and talent wise, AND after prayerful consideration. As a presidency, every candidate is discussed, pros and cons, then mulled over at home with the Lord. Then, the presidency meets again and discusses the various feelings each had. When decided, the names and desired callings are given to the Bishopric, who then do the same thing.. It is a LONG process. Hope this gives you a little insight.

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Beth said...

My experience in the Primary presidency shocked me. I had no idea how many callings were based on availability. But then I think Primary is different than some areas because it is hard to find people who want to spend their entire Sunday with kids. At least with Sunday school they teach one hour. But dealing with Primary kids (some more than others) can get tiring week in and week out.

Kari said...

I've never been given a calling (since marriage) that my husband wasn't requested to be present for and vice versa. I think it's protocol. And they always say "Brother ____ will you be willing to support your wife in this calling?" And this happens whether I'm being asked to make the bulletin, schedule the building, or ... well I've never had an "important calling" per say.