What response would you get if you asked a ward temple and family history consultant, Who trains you? Who is your leader? Who gives you assignments? To whom do you report? and Who helps you?
If you get “I’m not completely sure” as a response or a blank stare, why might the ward temple and family history consultant be confused? Is it because things have changed in the past year and they’re still trying to understand and implement the new direction, or is it because the bishop and the elders quorum president have not communicated which of these leadership patterns—number 1 in blue, number 2 in red, number 3 in green, or number 4 in purple—that they’re using?
Let’s look at number 1, the blue pattern.
A consultant reports to the ward temple and family history leader, who works closely with the elders quorum presidency, who supervises the work under the direction of the bishop. To deviate from this standard leadership pattern requires a good reason, concurrence of the stake president, and confirmation by the Holy Ghost. In very small wards and branches, some of these callings can be consolidated as shown in the next three slides.
If a ward temple and family history leader has not been called, a counselor in the elders quorum presidency acts in that role. This is because the elders quorum president generally delegates this responsibility to one of his counselors.
If the elders quorum president has not delegated this assignment, the leadership pattern looks like this:
If the bishop hasn’t delegated to the elders quorum president, the pattern looks like this:
Bishops and elders quorum presidents, please pick number 1, 2, 3, or 4, and don’t keep it a secret! The effective use of ward temple and family history consultants is crucial to fulfilling a divinely appointed responsibility. Squandering the faithful willingness of a ward temple and family history consultant is disheartening. The leadership pattern in the ward should not be ambiguous for the consultants. We strongly recommend pattern number 1 for most wards.
To help all ward leaders accomplish the work of salvation, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have authorized a temple and family history coordination meeting and a ward temple and family history plan. Let’s look first at the plan and then the coordination meeting.
A simple ward temple and family history plan is developed and discussed by the ward council and approved by the bishop. The plan includes ways to lift the ward’s overall vision and attitude toward temple and family history work.
A ward temple and family history plan could address how to involve 10- and 11-year-old children in family history work, encouraging them to qualify for and use a limited-use temple recommend at the appropriate age; how to involve every new convert, 11 years and older, in family history work and then facilitating obtaining and using a limited-use recommend; plan how to help ward members who don’t have their own four generations entered in FamilySearch; how to help with temple preparation of individuals as assigned; and how to encourage, coordinate, and facilitate temple attendance—and this is very important—without establishing quotas or reporting systems for temple attendance.
To effectively engage temple and family history consultants, a ward temple and family history coordination meeting may be held. Having a group of dedicated people come together generates enthusiasm for the work, and it keeps temple and family history work on the mind of ward leaders as they serve ward members. The purpose of the meeting is to coordinate temple and family history work in the ward, including implementing the ward temple and family history plan. The meeting is held regularly. The ward temple and family history leader attends and conducts the meeting with ward temple and family history consultants. As often as circumstances warrant and allow, a member of the Relief Society presidency and a member of the elders quorum presidency attend. On occasion, even full-time missionaries could be invited.
With a simple and clear ward temple and family history plan, the coordination meeting need not be long—remember, it takes an awfully good meeting to be better than no meeting. The meeting should remain people-oriented and at times need not be held in person. The goal isn’t to hold a meeting; the goal is to coordinate temple and family history work in the ward. Text messages, emails, and phone calls can oftentimes accomplish the needed coordination. Other times, the meeting may be more effective when held in person.
These are the invitations. Please clarify leadership patterns for ward temple and family history consultants and implement ward temple and family history coordination meetings and ward temple and family history plans. As you do so, the Lord will hasten His work on both sides of the veil, and you will be blessed in the process, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
© 2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Version: 7/18. Translation of “Ward Temple and Family History Leadership Patterns, Coordination Meetings, and Plans.” Language. PD60007025 000