Thursday, November 28, 2013

Meetings Can Be Bad, Mediocre, Good, Better or Best: Prioritization Is Important

I have a friend who is serving in a Bishopric.  We were talking about how easy it is to let meetings multiply to the extent that they become overwhelming - and about how both of us have heard some people say we ought to eliminate Sunday School and use the extra hour to do service or hold the "extra" meetings we tend to schedule.  He said the following, and I want to comment on it here:

The rule for me is sometimes to do what it takes to maintain sanity and a healthy family, even if it means having to skip meetings. There are other meetings that bishopric members are supposed to attend that don't add much value in my opinion or that are more of nice to do if possible.

I agree totally.

I don't believe in attending every single meeting possible just because the meetings have been scheduled, and I and my family have skipped lots of meetings and gatherings that others consider to be important or even mandatory over the years. I believe in being active in the Church, but I also believe in prioritizing meetings and eliminating, consolidating or shortening so many others. When it comes to meetings, I believe in good, better, best - and we ought to eliminate some meetings that are good (and, in too many cases, not even good) for things that are better and best.

In terms of our meetings, I think Sunday School actually can be a better thing, at least, and even a best thing, in some wards. I know I don't want the teenagers in my ward to miss the Sunday School class I teach, and I don't want our leadership to miss the Gospel Doctrine class being taught by a wonderful teacher. I understand that experiences in different wards and branches vary in quality and impact, so I understand it's much easier for me to say that in a ward in which Sunday School instruction generally is excellent, but that's an issue that needs to be considered before anyone talks of eliminating Sunday School. Seriously, eliminating Sunday School for many members would eliminate the only chance they have to "study the Gospel with the Saints" - and that opportunity to learn from each other is important to me, especially when it comes to new converts and the youth.

I hear some people complain that the Church doesn't do enough to teach everything it could possibly teach about the scriptures and its own history and that it needs to do a better job of teaching these things to the youth, but eliminating Sunday School literally would reduce the available time significantly to do that. For new converts and youth who are the only members in the families and have no support at home, that's a very significant change - and not a good one.

I understand that callings can get in the way of life in negative ways, but eliminating the only meeting in the Church that is designed as a communal study opportunity isn't the way I would approach the issue. I would eliminate so many others things, instead - and, ironically, Elder Packer, of all people, has said the same thing numerous times over the years. (and he's not the only one)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love Sunday School as an opportunity to hear how others use the scriptures in their lives, and I hate to miss it, even though the instruction in our ward is about the worst I've ever experienced.
I'm not a fan of meetings generally though, I imagine that a group e mail with comments might be the most efficient and productive way of using our time. Although, I suspect that it is the process of working together that is the issue, rather than productivity. Perhaps it's the process that is significant, rather than the product.