Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Honoring Agency

In a PEC last year, I heard this exchange - and I think it illustrates the need to let people govern themselves:

Missionaries: Bro. New Convert needs a calling.

High Priests Group Leader: He told me he is getting overwhelmed by everything he is being asked to do and needs to move at his own pace. He feels like he is being asked to do something every meeting he attends (say a prayer, read a scripture, give input on the lesson, etc.), and he isn't comfortable with that type of public action yet.

Bishop: That’s fine. Ask him to attend the New Member Lessons Brother Whatever is teaching, but tell him we will not push him to move faster than he is comfortable moving. Tell him to let you know when he feels ready for a calling.

Bishop to other attendees: Don’t ask Brother New Convert to do anything, including prayers, unless you talk with HP Group Leader first and he clears it with me. We will never try to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do.

I love that bishop.


adamf said...

I read the post before I read the title, and I wasn't thinking "agency" at the time but it makes sense. Great bishop.

Rosalie Erekson Stone said...

Hmm. Even prayers? Isn't this micro-managing things to an extreme?

Wouldn't it be prudent for the bishop to just remind everyone in Ward Council that when asking people they don't know very well to pray (in advance, not from the pulpit), it is always wise to use phrasing like, "Would you be comfortable giving the opening/closing prayer today?"

Papa D said...

Yes, Roann, it might be micromanaging if it was a standard practice, but I didn't include the detail that the man had mentioned public prayers explicitly as one of the things that were overwhelming him.

I just re-read the post and realized that wasn't clear. I will edit it and fix that.

Christy said...

Inspired bishops are a great blessing. And good for the group leader for knowing Brother New Convert enought to understand his concerns. Sounds like two men who were magnifying their callings.

Papa D said...

Good point, Christy. It's amazing what can happen when leaders focus on knowing people as people rather than numbers or projects.