- While there may be times when our Church callings require more intense effort and unusual focus, we need to strive to keep things in proper balance. We should never allow our service to replace the attention needed by other important priorities in our lives.
Elder Ballard shares six ways in which we can serve both wisely and well.
First, focus on people and principles—not on programs.
- The primary purpose of Church leadership meetings should be to discuss how to minister to people. Most routine information and coordination can now be handled through phone calls, e-mails, or regular mail so that agendas for council meetings and presidency meetings can focus on needs of the people.
- Programs are tools. Their management and staffing must not take priority over the needs of the people they are designed to bless and to serve.
Second, be innovative.
- As we work to magnify our callings, we should seek the inspiration of the Spirit to solve problems in ways that will best help the people we serve.
- The instruction to magnify our callings is not a command to embellish and complicate them. To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify.
Third, divide the work and delegate responsibility.
- Assignments should be made, responsibilities should be delegated, and members should be allowed to fulfill their stewardship as best they can. Counsel, advise, persuade, motivate—but don’t do the work for them. Allow others to progress and grow, even if it means sometimes getting less-than perfect results on the reports.
Fourth, eliminate guilt.
- I hope it goes without saying that guilt is not a proper motivational technique for leaders and teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must always motivate through love and sincere appreciation, not by creating guilt. I like the thought “Catch others doing something right.”
Fifth, we need to thoughtfully allocate our resources of time, income, and energy.
- No matter what your family needs are or your responsibilities in the Church, there is no such thing as “done.” There will always be more we can do. There is always another family matter that needs attention, another lesson to prepare, another interview to conduct, another meeting to attend. We just need to be wise in protecting our health and in following the counsel that President Hinckley has given often to just do the best that we can.
Sixth, President Hinckley said that every new member of the Church needs a responsibility.
- Whatever responsibility may be extended should not overwhelm new members but should give them ample opportunity to become comfortable in the Church by learning its doctrine and by rubbing shoulders with friendly members. It should anchor them to the restored gospel through increasing their testimony and giving meaningful service.
Elder Ballard concludes with these words of wisdom.
- What is most important in our Church responsibilities is not the statistics that are reported or the meetings that are held but whether or not individual people—ministered to one at a time just as the Savior did—have been lifted and encouraged and ultimately changed. Our task is to help others find the peace and the joy that only the gospel can give them.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the tasks that need to be done that we forget there are people behind the process. I think Elder Ballard's efforts with this talk is to remind us that people are the reason we do what we do. It is our responsibility to help bring peace and joy to the lives of others. Sometimes we forget the motivating factor really is people and not processes or tasks. I am going to try to ponder on these six steps in my church responsibilities and see if there are specific names and people behind each one. I think I can identify people that I can help with each of these items.