This last Thursday night, we had a three stake ward and stake council training meeting with our area seventy, Elder Real, and Elder Boland of the 1st quorum of the seventy. Elder Real got the meeting started and then turned the next 75 minutes over to Elder Boland. Elder Boland started by asking organizations to stand. All the Bishops, Primary presidents, RS presidents, EQ president, and so on until he finished up with the HP group leaders. He asked us to look around as organizations stood and then asked a question. "Why are you here?" One brave soul raised his hand and said, "I don't know other than my bishop told me that I needed to be here." This is what I call Adam's answer (not our Adam). It is a good, faithful answer - not the one Elder Boland was looking for however. Elder Boland said that we were there because we understood the doctrine. A rather simplistic yet profound answer. I believe this answer addresses why most wards have so many prospective Elders and attendance issues. It also addresses why people have trouble accepting callings or simply doing what they have been instructed to do by their local and general leaders (why does home teaching hover around 30-50% in most wards?). Elder Boland than proceeded to spend the rest of his talk instructing us as ward councils how to better fulfill our stewardship with regard to the missionary efforts in our wards. It was a very interactive discussion that gently required us to account for our efforts and then ask how we can make changes to better accomplish the goals we have all set.
As intended, I came away from the meeting determined to do more and be more faithful not only as a group leader but as an individual.
We organized a mission plan as a HP group back in Janurary. We have managed to accomplish a couple of the goals we set but have failed miserably on several others. One of the things we are going to be doing in the coming year is keeping our mission plan posted throughout group meeting on Sunday's so that it remains fresh in everyone's mind. We will also make this a priority in PPI's which we will begin holding on a more frequent basis. The handbooks says we are to meet with the members of our group at least once a year. We will at least double that. I am not so interested in browbeating the members of my HP group with the goals we set as I am in teaching correct doctrine so that we all change our own behavior to accomplish our goals.
Iowa City is ripe for the harvest. We just need to make the effort.