“What Should I Focus On?” My Calling as a Ward Clerk (2020).
“What Should I Focus On?” My Calling as a Ward Clerk.
“Leaders encourage members to engage in God’s work by becoming ‘true followers of … Jesus Christ’ (Moroni 7:48)” (General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4.1). Your bishopric’s focus is to help all members of your ward prepare to make the next covenant they need on the covenant path and then keep the covenants they have made.
In President Russell M. Nelson’s first address as President of the Church, he counseled: “Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere. … The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power in a house of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God—that of eternal life” (“As We Go Forward Together,” Ensign, or Apr. 2018, 7).
You are a disciple of Jesus Christ. Discipleship includes loving, teaching, leading, and serving others. President Henry B. Eyring taught, “You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands” (“Rise to Your Call,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2002, 76).
The following leadership principles will help you and the bishopric as you seek to bless the members of your ward:
Minister to others.
Teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Administer the organization.
For more information about these principles, see General Handbook, 4.2.
As you come to know and love the ward members you are called to serve, you can help them progress toward lifelong conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Prayerfully counsel together with the bishopric and ward council to decide who needs your time and attention. As you reach out to those you are inspired to serve, you will find that your love for ward members increases. As you pray for the gift of charity, your heart will fill with love for the Savior and for others (see Moroni 7:46–48).
Elder Dale G. Renlund taught: “In the Church, to effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. … Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with ‘the pure love of Christ’ [Moroni 7:47]” (“Through God’s Eyes,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 94).
You can come to know and love the ward members you serve by:
Praying for each ward member.
Getting to know each member’s interests, strengths, and challenges.
Giving special attention to the needs of new members or less-active members.
Showing love to members in ways that are suited to their needs.
Being willing to share your personal experiences and testimony of the gospel to help guide members along the covenant path.
Participate in regular bishopric meetings with the members of the bishopric and the executive secretary. As assigned, take notes and keep track of assignments and decisions. Suggested agenda items for bishopric meetings are listed below:
Read and discuss scripture passages and instructions from Church leaders that relate to your responsibilities as ward leaders. Relevant sections in the General Handbook may be helpful.
Counsel together about the strengths and needs of ward members, especially the youth, and their families.
Review the status of ministering in the ward and discuss how you can minister to ward members.
Discuss upcoming ordinances, blessings, and priesthood ordinations for ward members.
Prayerfully counsel together about individuals for callings.
Plan upcoming sacrament meetings (see “Help Plan Sacrament Meetings” below).
Review the ward calendar and upcoming activities and meetings.
Review the ward budget and expenditures.
Review counsel and assignments from the stake presidency. Plan ways to follow the counsel and fulfill the assignments.
Sunday meetings are sacred opportunities for ward members to increase in knowledge and testimony of our Savior. Help the bishopric plan sacrament meetings using the guidelines in General Handbook, 29.2.2–29.2.3. As the ward clerk, you are responsible for collecting attendance numbers for sacrament meeting (see General Handbook, 33.5).
The bishopric is also responsible for the use, care, and security of the meetinghouse (see General Handbook, chapter 35). Assist with this responsibility as requested.
“The Lord’s Church is governed through councils” (General Handbook, 7.1). As the ward clerk, you are a member of the ward council. You bring items before the ward council for discussion and offer input on matters presented by other ward leaders. You also assist the ward council by taking notes and keeping track of assignments and decisions (see General Handbook, 7.6.2). The ward council meets regularly to discuss and plan how to support members in:
Receiving saving ordinances.
Becoming consecrated followers of Jesus Christ.
The ward council also plans and conducts the work of salvation and exaltation in the ward. This includes living the gospel of Jesus Christ, caring for those in need, inviting all to receive the gospel, and uniting families for eternity (see General Handbook, chapters 16–28). Assist the ward council in understanding and responding to the needs of individuals and families in the ward. Share insights you gain from ward reports and through ministering to ward members to help the ward council accomplish its purpose.
The bishopric directs the work of the Church within the ward. As the ward clerk, you provide administrative support to members of the bishopric as they lead the ward and work with ward organizations. Some of your responsibilities in supporting the bishopric are listed below:
Provide membership directories, lists, and attendance rolls to the bishopric and other ward leaders.
Use the various reports in Leader and Clerk Resources (LCR) to help the bishopric be aware of upcoming ordinances for ward members, including the naming and blessing of children, baptism and confirmation of eight-year-old children of record, and conferral of the Aaronic Priesthood and ordination to the offices of deacon, teacher, and priest.
Help the bishopric be aware of members in military service and members who have recently moved into the ward.
Keeping Church records is a scriptural mandate (see Moroni 6:4; Doctrine and Covenants 20:81–83; 21:1). As the ward clerk, you will work extensively with Church records. Review General Handbook, 33.8–33.9, to learn about appropriate confidentiality when working with Church records. You can find additional training at “Getting Started for Ward Clerks” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Your responsibilities for keeping the ward records include the following:
Work with the bishop to oversee the records, reports, and finances of the ward. (See General Handbook, chapter 33, for more information about required records and reports.)
Become familiar with the record-keeping programs on Church computers.
Receive attendance records from quorum and organization secretaries, as well as reports of ministering interviews. Compile these records and the sacrament meeting attendance records into the Quarterly Report, and make sure this report is submitted on time (see Leader and Clerk Resources). Review the Quarterly Report with the bishop.
Use ward records and reports to help the bishopric better understand the strengths and needs of the ward.
Help train quorum and organization secretaries and assistant ward clerks in their responsibilities with records, reports, and finances (see General Handbook, 33.4.3).
As requested, provide members with copies of their Individual Ordinance Summary for their personal records (see General Handbook, 33.6). Review this information with members yearly to ensure accuracy.
Ensure that certificates for blessing, baptism and confirmation, and priesthood ordination are given to ward members and that these ordinances are properly and promptly recorded (see General Handbook, 33.6.21).
Request records for new members or transfer records for members moving out of the ward.
Help the bishop prepare an annual ward budget (see General Handbook, 34.7). Keep track of expenditures and review financial reports with the bishop.
Ensure that ward financial obligations are paid, and reconcile the ward checking account (see General Handbook, 34.6.7).
Assist in accounting for and depositing tithes and offerings (see General Handbook, 34.6.2).
Provide tithing statements for tithing settlement.
Prepare the annual ward history (see General Handbook, 33.7).