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THE ELEVEN BASICS OF BISHOPRIC WORK I believe that no person called to become a bishop who has not felt the weight of the responsibility of the calling. The bishop’s work can be intimidating and as many will find out also overwhelming. After all, the work of ‘bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ is an awesome task. All types of men of varying abilities, experiences and training have been called to become a bishop. Even those who appear most qualified will feel inadequate in doing the job. It is a natural tendency for anyone to feel that his abilities are not commensurate to fill the enormous responsibility of this calling. If you have just been called a bishop and you feel this way, you are not alone. However, please be assured that the Lord will always qualify whom He calls provided you serve with humility and diligence. “No matter who we are – no matter our talents, abilities, financial resources, education or experience – we can all serve in the kingdom. He who calls us will qualify us for the work if we will serve with humility, prayer, diligence, and faith. Perhaps we feel inadequate. Maybe we doubt ourselves, think that what we have to offer the Lord personally is too slight to even be noticed. The Lord is well aware of our mortality. He knows our weaknesses. He understands the challenges of our everyday lives.” [Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Following in Faith,” Liahona, July 2003.] The bishop holds the priesthood keys to preside over a ward and direct the work of the Church in the ward. He and his counselors minister to ward members in love, helping “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” [Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1, p. 11] “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;” “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” [1 Tim. 3:2-6] “If any officer in the Church has my sympathy, it is the bishop. If any officer in the Church deserves credit for patience, for long-suffering, kindness, charity, and for love unfeigned, it is the bishop who does his duty. And we feel to sustain in our faith and love, the bishops and counselors in Zion.” [Joseph Fielding Smith, Apr. C. R., 1907, p. 4.] There are fundamentals to the bishop’s work and if followed as prescribed in the handbooks, you can feel the good success that God has promised. (Joshua 1:8). Perhaps no other calling in the Church demands so much from one man. This is the reason why no other calling in the Church is filled with many joys and rewards for dedicated service. I am writing this article to outline what constitutes the basics of an effective bishopric work. The details of such work are contained in the Church Handbook of Instructions and the scriptures. My intention is to help you see a workable strategy to accomplish what might seem like an overwhelming task. Please consider using these strategies and as you do so, you will gradually feel confident and competent in fulfilling the bishop’s role. In fact, you will find yourself enjoying the bishop’s work. Although I have not had the honor and privilege of being a bishop myself, I have taught many bishops these principles as a stake president. Where they have been implemented as I taught them, they have achieved great success. I have seen and proven it to work! Obviously, these principles may be used by stake presidents as well. I have personally applied these principles as stake president and achieved good success in the process.


Bishopric Basics

FIRST BASIC – PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & WORTHINESS “You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul.” [Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, Pg.186] You are, first of all, an individual who has the personal responsibility to care and nurture for your own self. Secondly, you are a husband to a wife who holds the distinction of being your most important human relationship. Thirdly, you are a father and patriarch of a home where you lead by precept and example as you create a gospel-centered home. These are tremendous demands on you to be responsible not just for yourself and your family but also, for the welfare of other people. Thus, a bishop is required to be vigilant, of good behavior, the husband of one wife, and one that presides in his own house with love and in righteousness. (I Timothy 3:2) The work of a bishop is lifting other souls to higher ground. To accomplish this work requires a tremendous amount of spiritual power. That spiritual power comes as a result of your own commitment to obey the commandments and striving to live the gospel. Review this list and personally reflect your own level of compliance to the basic requirements of personal and family responsibilities. Use this checklist periodically to help you assess what areas you need to focus more effort. By fulfilling these duties, you will be standing on higher ground. II. Personal Basics [ ] I hold personal prayer daily. [ ] I study the scriptures daily. [ ] I hold a monthly fast and as often as needed. [ ] I observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. [ ] I pay an honest tithe. [ ] I obey the word of wisdom. [ ] I am morally clean. [ ] I participate in temple activities regularly. [ ] I wear my temple garments properly. [ ] I read the Church Handbook of Instructions regularly. III. Family Basics [ ] Our family attends weekly Sacrament meeting. [ ] We attend weekly Priesthood & Relief Society Class. [ ] Our children attend weekly Sunday School/Primary. [ ] Our children attend weekly Mutual Night/SA activities. [ ] Our children attend weekly Seminary. [ ] We hold weekly Family Home evening. [ ] We hold a monthly family council. [ ] We hold at least weekly scripture study. [ ] We hold daily family prayers. [ ] We hold daily husband and wife prayer. [ ] We hold prayer before meals. [ ] We hold monthly parent-child interviews. [ ] We perform regular home and visiting teaching. [ ] We hold a monthly fast and pay a fast offering. [ ] We participate in monthly temple activities.

My Action Plan ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ “If we are wise, we assess personal cords of integrity on a daily basis. We identify any weakness and we repair it. Indeed, we have an obligation to do so…..” [Elder Russel M. Nelson]

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

As a bishop, you are not expected to be perfect but doing your very best in fulfilling these duties. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Ideas for Balancing Personal, Family, & Bishopric Work “Of Jesus’ preparation for His mission, the scripture states that He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). This encompasses four main areas for goals: spiritual, mental, physical, and social. “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?” asked the Master, and He answered, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). Now, there is a lifetime goal -- to walk in His steps, to perfect ourselves in every virtue as He has done” [Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.383-384] Set your priorities right. The quality of your bishopric work depends entirely on the quality of the person that you are. Just like the Savior you have to increase in wisdom, meaning your mental maturity; in favor of God, meaning your spiritual relationship with the Lord; stature, meaning your physical development; also in favor with man, meaning your emotional and social relationships. You must address these four areas of development simultaneously to keep your balance. Since you are an instrument of the Lord, your first important priority is to harness your spiritual power and then your physical strength to sustain you through the rigors of Church work. “Most men do not set priorities to guide them in allocating their time, and most men forget that the first priority should be to maintain their spiritual and physical strength. Then comes their family, then the Church, and then their professions – and all need time.” [Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde William, 615] Spiritual Power Prayer is your constant and open line of communication with God without toll fees. Prayer has many purposes that will serve you as a bishop. You will pray for support in your calling. You pray to counsel with God in all the things you do so that He can direct you. You pray to have an ongoing conversation with the Lord every hour of the day. [Alma 37:36-37] You pray in order to escape the hands of the adversary’s servants. [D&C 10:5] You pray to consecrate your performance to the Lord so that it will be for the welfare of your soul. [2 Ne. 32:9] You pray to resist the temptation of the devil for he desires to destroy you. [3 Ne. 18:18] You pray to receive the outpouring of the Spirit upon you. [D&C 19:38] You pray to receive understanding. [D&C 32:4] You pray and be believing so that all things will work for your good. [D&C 90:24] You pray so that you shall not faint or waver in the work. [D&C 88:126] Your prayer must be earnest in behalf of your family and the welfare of your ward members. Remember, the admonition is to “pray always.” “Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about where you are going and what you will need to get there. Jesus, our exemplar, often “withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) We need to do the same thing occasionally to rejuvenate ourselves spiritually as the Savior did.” [Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Keeping Life’s Demands in Balance” CR 1987] Read scriptures daily or regularly. Scripture reading daily is a challenge as any person as busy as you will attest. However, reading at least fifteen minutes a day will not be so burdensome. The scriptures will give you necessary wisdom to tackle your multiple responsibilities, give clarity to your thinking, provide direction, and instill a sustained commitment to the Lord’s work. Notice that when you fail to read the scriptures regularly you will also find your commitment gradually declining. Bishopric work may sometimes be discouraging. You need to read scriptures to sustain you. Keep yourself chaste. The Lord has promised increased confidence in the work if you keep yourself virtuous. “….And let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. [D&C 121:45] Do not assume you are strong enough to withstand sexual temptations. No one is too strong against it. Do not put yourself in compromising situations even with members that may be perceived as ‘the appearance of evil.’[1 Thes. 5:22] Fasting, meditation, and prayer. This is a principle of power and one you should use often when serious difficulties come your way. When the Savior found his disciples grappling with major spiritual obstacles he often prescribed: “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” [Matt. 17:21] As a bishop, you may be confronted with difficult issues and severe challenges that may only be overcome with fasting and prayer. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Physical Strength Keep yourself healthy. “Health is not everything but without health everything is nothing.” In the bishopric, you are the most important person and your health is your most important asset. Aside from obeying the word of wisdom, modern scientific research also recommends regular exercise (at least three times a week 20-minute fitness walk or being engaged in sports) and proper nutrition (a diet predominantly on fruits, grains, vegetables, and eating meat sparingly) to keep you physically strong. The Lord has also included a practical counsel to retire early and arise early to become invigorated. [D&C 88:124] Adequate sleep is truly necessary to a healthy body. Please do not forget that relaxation and leisure activities are also part of a balanced lifestyle. Social & Emotional Relationships Your family is truly first – your wife then your children. One of the biggest ironies that I have seen is when a bishop is so devoted to his Church work but unfortunately neglecting his family duties in the process. During one of our annual bishopric training, I required the bishops to take their spouses along. One of the topics that I discussed in their presence was “The Bishopric Maybe Hazardous to your Marriage.” In fact, during the meeting one young wife bravely raised her hand to mention the fact that her husband, the bishop, is probably guilty of taking her for granted while he was succeeding in the bishopric work. If you do it right, the bishopric work can be fun and you might lose sight of your family who needs you more than others. “A bishop… can be ever so devoted to working for the salvation of others, but perhaps be unwilling to do that which is necessary to build a rich relationship [with a spouse or a child]. To the many he serves by giving his time and talents, but to the one he may need to give more of himself…” [Stephen R. Covey,” Build Harmony in Your Family”] Your wife’s support is a major consideration in your call to the bishopric. You will succeed or fail because of your wife. She is such a major factor to your work that there is no excuse to neglect her. Time with your wife may be spent praying together, talking to her, studying scriptures and lessons together, participating in recreational activities, helping her with household chores, taking care of the kids while allowing her time to herself, etc. You strengthen your wife because she has to lead your family when you are not around. Commit the time and protect it at all cost. In terms of being true and faithful to your spouse, the Lord has commanded: “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” (D&C 42:22.) Being the head of your family. There is an interesting account in D&C 93:36-50 where the Lord chastised the members of the First Presidency namely: the prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams and admonished them to ‘set their houses in order.’ It makes me wonder why the Lord reproved them for neglecting their families when these brethren were perhaps working in their callings day and night. The Lord has clearly established that the strain of church work cannot be a valid excuse for relinquishing your patriarchal responsibilities at home. Dr. Carlfred Broderick in his book “One Flesh, One Heart” offers this wonderful insight: “…. it is the Lord’s view that the priesthood is given to men not just to bless and teach the Church at large but to bless and teach their families. These brethren were chastised because they were neglecting a crucial part of their priesthood responsibility. In the kingdom there is no place for disengaged or disinterested fathers who leave all of the childrearing to their wives. Husbands are to be active rather than absent or passive partners to their wives in these matters. Part of what it means to have your home in order is to have the patriarch in place at the head of the family.” Prioritize your leadership in the home by leading family prayers, scripture study, holding weekly family home evening, conducting monthly family council, frequent parent-child interviews, church activities, and family outings. Spend time to talk and counsel with each of your children to build strong relationships. You are always a family man (husband then father) first and only secondly a bishop. Your relationship with your family is your anchor and one that you can depend upon no matter what happens in your life. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Financial Security Your financial security starts by paying an honest tithe and being honest in all your financial dealings with other people. You should not be heavily indebted especially with consumer items that can entangle you later on. Nothing is more disturbing than being confronted with financial stress. Through wise budgeting, regularly saving 10% of your income monthly, controlling expenses, and setting aside money for emergencies including possible temporary unemployment, you protect yourself financially. Please read 2 Nephi 9:51. Bishopric Work Family will always come first before church work. However, I caution you not to use this as an excuse for giving half-hearted devotion to the bishopric work in the name of the family. Please do not. While there is no doubt about the priority of your family role, sometimes there is an uncertainty between which is more important between the bishopric and your work as a breadwinner. Perhaps the Savior himself made a clear distinction of our seemingly conflicting responsibilities: “And he said unto them, render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” [Luke 20:25]. Plan to allocate time to your varied roles. Then exercise the discipline to follow your plan. Here is something I want you to think of. One time I wondered if the Lord also required 10% of my time here on earth in His service. If he requires that of my money, perhaps it was required of my time as well. Therefore, I did some calculations: I had a total of 168 hours each week, 10% of which is 16.8 hours a week that I could use to devote to Church service. Note that I still have 48 hours for personal, family, and recreational time. 56 hours of sleep 48 hours of work 16 hours of church service 48 other activities

[8 hours a day for 7 days] [8 hours a week for 6 days] [rounded it off to 16] [recreation, study, etc.]

I broke my 16 hours of church service as follows: 4 hours Sunday Meetings 6 hours Weekday meetings

4 hours HT/VT weekly 2 hours of temple activities

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. [D&C 4:2]

You might not be able to allocate as many as 16 hours. But using this same concept, you can take care of all that is important. At the beginning of each month you plan and calendar personal, family, and bishopric responsibilities. Let me show a sample monthly bishop’s calendar that takes into account all of your important responsibilities. Role Individual Individual Husband Father Father Father Father Bishop Bishop Bishop Bishop Breadwinner

Activity

Frequency

Time Allocation

Schedule

Personal Study Time * Personal Prayer* Husband & Wife Date Family Prayer* Family Home Evening Family Council* Parent-Child Interviews* Bishopric Meeting, PEC Home Teaching Ward Council, Welfare Ward Temple Excursion Office or Business*

Daily Daily Weekly Daily Weekly Monthly Monthly Weekly Weekly Monthly Monthly Daily

15 to 30 minutes 10 minutes 3 hours 10 minutes 1 hour 1 hour 2 hours 3 hours 3 hours 2 hours 4 hours 8 hours

5:30 a.m. As appropriate Every Friday 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Monday 6:00 p.m. 1st Monday after FHE First Sunday Every Thursday Every Sunday 2nd Sunday 4th Friday * not shown in calendar

Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Sample Monthly

Bishop’s Calendar Sun

1

Mon

2

Tue

3

Wed

4

Thu

5

Fri

6

HT &VT Youth Sunday Evening Discussion

8 Ward Council Welfare Committee

9

HT & VT

Family Home Evening

15

16

Bishop’s Youth Committee Single Members Committee HT & VT

23

Stewardship Interviews with Auxiliary Presidents

Family Home Evening

HT & VT

Ward Leadership Training

Mutual Night

10

11

Seminary

17

Family Home Evening

22

29

Seminary

Family Home Evening

24

Bishopric Meeting Ward PEC

12

Weekly Date

13

14 Elders Quorum Activity

Mutual Night

18

19

Seminary Mutual Night

Bishopric Meeting Ward PEC

Weekly Date

25

26

27

Weekly Date

20

Seminary Bishopric Meeting Ward PEC

7 Relief Society Homemaking

Bishopric Meeting Ward PEC

Mutual Night

Sat

Ward Temple Excursion

21 Relief Society Enrichment Activity

28 Elders Quorum Activity

30 Family Home Evening

HT Home Teaching VT Visiting Teaching

Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

When planning how to allocate your time, immediately block the time you need to fulfill your individual and family responsibilities. Secondly, block time for bishopric work. The rest of the time should go to your regular work and other activities that promote your total well-being. By doing this, you ensure that the most important priorities of your life are given its due attention first. “Study the time you do in your discretionary time, that time you are free to control. Do you find that it is centered in those things that are of highest priority and greatest importance? Or do you unconsciously, consistently fill it with trivia and activities that are not of enduring value help you accomplish the purpose for which you came to earth?” [Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign May 1997, 54] Commit 12 to 16 hours a week to bishopric work. Based on this calendar, most of my time will still be devoted to personal, family, and work responsibilities. Nevertheless, the bishopric time is also clearly allocated “rendering unto God what is God’s.” You only need to devote 12 to 16 hours to Church work each week and still be able to manage your priorities right. Of course, any bishop will tell you that there are occasional emergencies and you attend to them as they happen and have your counselors and auxiliary leaders assist you. Just like the principle of tithing, you still have more time to yourself than what the Lord is asking. You have 152 hours remaining. Personally, this insight helped me to commit more of my time to the Lord’s service. It was not too much of the Lord to ask from me. In fact, everything that I have including my life was His. He was asking very little in return for everything He has blessed me. And no matter what I did I am always indebted to the Lord. No amount of hard work, devotion, sacrifice, and service that I offered could ever repay for His generosity. For this reason, King Benjamin called us unprofitable servants. [Mosiah 2:21] “Make your Eternal Father and His Beloved Son the most important priority in your life – more important than life itself, more important than a beloved companion or children or anyone on earth. Make their will your central desire. Then all that you need for happiness will come to you” [Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign May 1993, 34] Here is how you might consider allocating your time for bishopric work on a weekly basis. Sunday Services Sunday Leadership Meetings Home Teaching / Home Visits Weekday Leadership Meetings Interviews & Counseling Total for the week

4 hours 2 hours 4 hours 3 hours 3 hours 16 hours

Sunday Sunday Sunday and weekdays Between Tuesday to Friday Sunday and weekdays 152 hours left for yourself

Some bishops only spend 6 hours on Sundays conducting services and doing minimal bishopric work. There is no way of being able to accomplish the essential duties of a bishop with only 6 hours a week. Remember that time is a crucial investment in order for you to succeed. In my experience, you need at least 12 to 16 hours spread throughout the week. More about the sample calendar. Notice also in the calendar that the fifth Sunday of the month, and there are a few months of the year when this occurs, you could designate it as your ward leadership training. I have also lumped together meetings that are of similar nature. Bishopric and PEC meetings are conducted weekly so I scheduled them together. The meetings for BYC and Single Members committee are similar and you may hold them right after the other. The same is true with the Ward council and Welfare committee meetings. I shall discuss the rationale of the other calendared activities such as weekly HT/VT and monthly stewardship interviews later. Learning about your duties regularly. Read the Church Handbook of Instructions completely then periodically review it to improve upon your calling. I have included a ‘Leadership Course Syllabus’ if you would like to consider a more systematic reading of the CHI. It’s filled with so many inspired ideas. As you reread it, you will notice an idea here and there that can enhance your existing programs. Your duties are outlined in the handbook. If you do not read them, you will not feel as confident and competent in your calling. [D&C 107:99 -100] Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

You can use the “Four Dimension Goals & Activities Sampler” to help you identify the areas where you feel you need to improve. I included this here so you will have ideas on what you would like to work on. Some goals will be unique to you and you should add them freely on your list. In order to give you a push in accomplishing your goals, I suggest the following: Step 1) Work only on three to four goals at a time until you have completed them. Step 2) Announce to your family, counselors, and friends what goals you are working on. By announcing it to others, you will become more committed to your improvement program as you have to keep your promise. Step 3) Get a coach or a friend whom you can discuss your challenges and progress weekly. Your counselors would be perfect for this kind of arrangement. Get them on board and rally each other. Step 4) Set yourself with a goal date and do it to the best of your ability. Step 5) Choose another set of goals and repeat the cycle.

THE FOUR DIMENSION GOALS & ACTIVITIES SAMPLER Physical Dimension Goals 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Establish a physical fitness program. Walk for fitness for 20 minutes 3x a week. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. Lose weight appropriate to your height and age. Learn a new sport. Engage in one or two sports activities regularly. Acquire greater proficiency in a sport. Learn how to dance or new dance craze. Participate in “Alay Lakad.” Participate in a marathon. Eat meat sparingly. Increase fruit and vegetable intake. Sleep early, wake up early. Reduce hours of TV watching. Play basketball for 30 minutes thrice a week. Read a book on physical fitness and well-being.

Spiritual Dimension Goals 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Social Dimension Goals 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Establish a weekly date with spouse. Schedule monthly interview with each child. Give hugs to family members frequently. Visit my parents at least once a month. Call my siblings on the phone once a month. Hold weekly FHE without fail. Hold a monthly family council. Get to know my counselors better. Interview auxiliary leaders once a month. Perform home teaching weekly. Initiate a service project at least once a month. Strengthen my relationship with the priests. Initiate a monthly branch activity. Attend Mutual night and other youth activities. Complete my four-generation chart. Call individual members by name.

Write a personal mission statement. Pray at least three times a day. Lead family in daily prayers. Strengthen testimony by study, prayer and fasting. Fast twice monthly. Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy. Keep myself morally clean. Read the scriptures daily. Learn how to meditate. Write and record a regular journal. Participate in temple activities monthly. Replace polluted thoughts immediately. Go for nature walks. Listen to uplifting and worshipful music. Pay an honest tithe.

Mental Dimension Goals 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Schedule my priorities monthly. Read entire Church Handbook of Instructions Read a 1 new book each month. Memorize a scripture or a quote weekly. Memorize and recite D&C Section 4. Read the entire BOM in four months. Learn more about Church history. Read a book on Public Speaking. Learn principles of financial management. Attend or participate in a cultural event. Gain proficiency in another language. Increase English vocabulary. Read the book “Jesus the Christ.” Learn how to troubleshoot engines. Learn basic carpentry and electronics.

Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

My Goal Sheet

for the Month of ___________ Year _____

Physical Dimension Goals

What Happened/Action/Comments

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

Social Dimension Goals _____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

Mental Dimension Goals _____________________________________________

____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

____________________________________________

Spiritual Dimension Goals _____________________________________________

____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

____________________________________________

Name: _______________________________________ Date: _______________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Coach/Buddy: ______________________________

Date Reviewed: ______________________

Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

SECOND BASIC – CREATING A VISION “Where there is no vision, the people perish. . . .” (Proverbs 29:18.) “For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.” [Moses 3:5] “Because there are so many people about us who have no vision of the goal to which we are inspired by the gospel, we are in danger of becoming surfeited with the things of the world and are apt to slacken in our daily striving to move onward in our quest for eternal life. It has therefore been one of the burdens of Church leadership in all dispensations to encourage the Saints to keep these things constantly in their remembrance.” [Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1956] The Lord has revealed a very significant doctrine on the ‘creation of things’ in the book of Moses. He revealed that ‘all things were first created spiritually’ before they existed physically on this earth. First, a spiritual, then a physical creation. This is a practical insight – one that you will find very useful and effective in achieving success as a bishop. You first create your success in your mind before it translates into reality. This is called the visioning process. If you do not have a vision of what you would like to accomplish, you are likely to fall short as a bishop. With a clear vision, you establish the foundation of future achievement. YOU must catch the vision, not your counselors, nor your ward leaders. It starts with YOU. A vision for the ward will originate from you. Revelation in the church is vertical not horizontal. You must catch the vision before you can communicate that vision to others. You cannot give what you do not have. So how do you catch a vision? When contemplating on a vision, ask yourself this question: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6] According to Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, those who have vision have many things in common: • • • • • • • •

They see the total work before them. They visualize what must happen in order to get results they desire. They consider all of their resources, potentialities, capabilities collectively. They see in their minds what marvelous and magnificent things could happen when the total work force is collectively mobilized. They then go to work to accomplish their goal. They have the ability to communicate their vision to those around them in a convincing way so that others are enlisted also. They see what they are doing as a cause, not a project. Religious leaders feel a ‘holy hand’ assisting the work. [The Incomparable Christ: Our Master & Model]

Some questions to stimulate you into comprehending your vision. What would you like to have happened at the end of your service? How are members going to remember your service? What commitment would be required from you and from others? What resources would have to be available to make the vision happen? What kind of people, talent, and skills would be required to achieve your goals? Ideas for Catching a Vision Seeing the total work before you. One of the most effective ways I have found of catching the vision is to read fully the Church Handbook of Instructions (CHI). You might not appreciate the CHI as much as you should. Normally in the past in order to comprehend the totality of the bishopric work you will be required to embark into a rigorous reading and searching of the scriptures to seek out the pattern. But with the publication of the CHI, the brethren have made it much easier for you to learn your duties in a systematic fashion. There is no more need for frantic searching. The handbook is organized for effortless referencing. There has been nothing like it before. I hope you will recognize that. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Make sure the mission is clear to you. You catch a vision by understanding what your mission is. As a bishop, you are ‘to assist our Heavenly Father in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’ You are a shepherd and a minister to individuals and families whom the Lord has made you responsible for bringing them back to His presence. This work has many aspects including proclaiming the gospel to all people within your boundaries; preparing children to receive the basic ordinances of the gospel; preparing boys to receive the Aaronic Priesthood; preparing young men to receive the Melchizedek priesthood and serve missions; preparing girls for their role as future mothers of Zion; teaching parents their responsibilities to teach their children the principles of the gospel; teaching fathers to establish a gospelcentered home; teaching mothers how to love and care for their children; teaching members to perform the work for their kindred dead; preparing families to receive temple ordinances and be sealed as eternal families; uniting members to build a community of saints. When you see your mission with clarity then you can also imagine yourself accomplishing your work with good success. Visualize what must happen in order to get the results you desire. Would you like to baptize families who have strong leadership potential? So you need a very capable ward mission leader who will not only work hard with missionaries but also implement a carefully planned Public Affairs program. Would you like young men to serve honorable missions? You need to call mature young men advisers who are also good role models. Would you like to have a compassionate service program that will take care of the poor and the needy in the ward? So you need to call sensitive women who have demonstrated selfless service towards others. Would you like an active home teaching force that will assist you in establishing gospelcentered homes? You need men with strong leadership who will serve diligently in the high priest group and elders’ quorum. Would you like to reactivate less active members back into the Church? Then you need to lead a coordinated program of all auxiliaries for effective and consistent reactivation efforts. Consider your resources, potential, and capability collectively. What kind of leadership ability do your leaders already possess? What are they willing to offer in terms of time, skill, and talent? What resources (transportation, office equipment, communication apparatus) do you have together to make the work efficient? What kind of leadership training might be required to elevate the competence level of your leaders? What is possible for you to achieve given what you have? The answers to these questions will allow you to determine what realistic goals you can attain. Seeing in your mind the marvelous things that could happen when the total work force is mobilized. What if you could marshal all your active men and women to perform home and visiting teaching every Sunday? What would happen in the ward with a motivated and highly charged workforce? What if you could rally all active young men and women to unite their efforts in reactivating the less active youth? What would happen with such a collective effort? When I conceived the idea on the ‘guerrilla home teaching strategy’ these are the questions that I actually asked myself and started to visualize how exciting the work can turn out to be with simultaneous efforts instead of isolated ones. What if we could assemble all our worthy men, women, and youth to participate in monthly temple activities? Imagine what great things you can accomplish together. You must ask yourself and others: “What is it that we could do that has never been done before?” George Bernard Shaw has given us a terrific guide in stretching our mind and others to the possibilities. He said: “You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream of things that never were; and I say “Why not?” Communicating your vision to enlist those around you. Communicate your vision in descriptive words that will draw pictures in the minds of your listeners. Turn the attention of others towards the possibilities you see. Ask a lot of “what ifs” and give them vivid answers. You will teach your vision once. You will teach it twice. You will teach it over and over again. You repeat the vision often and you speak of it whenever an occasion arises where appropriate. With your personal touch, invite others to enlist in realizing the vision into reality. Constantly hold that vision in front of you. In your bishopric meetings, ward leadership meetings, and stewardship interviews remind others what that vision is and the rewards you will all receive by realizing that vision. Your job as the bishop is to keep the vision always in front of you and others. It is the fulfillment of that vision that will keep you enthusiastic until the day of your release. When you achieve portions of the vision, set new ones to keep you excited. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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THIRD BASIC– STAFFING AUXILIARIES “A ward is the unit that deals directly with the membership of the Church residing within ward boundaries and is presided over by a bishop and two counselors, with a clerk or clerks to assist them. The bishopric directs the work of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums, keeps all quorums and auxiliaries fully organized, and sees that all the members are given an opportunity to labor in whatever capacity they are best qualified for, according to their special gifts and talents.” [LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Ch.12, Pg.163] Imagine yourself standing in front of the stake president as he extends to you the call to become a bishop. To emphasize the great responsibility placed upon your shoulders, he asks you to give him 30 pieces of hymnbooks. He then asks you to think of each hymnbook as representing one of your duties. He asks you to extend your arms to your side. He picks the first one placing it on your left hand and says, ‘this one represents your job as president of the Aaronic Priesthood.’ It is one of your most important duties to take care of the youth. He picks up another, ‘this one represents your job for Seminary and Institute.’ Every young man and woman in your ward should be enrolled in Church education program. He picks up another, ‘this one represents your job for preparing children for baptism.’ You see to it that each child by the time they reach the age of eight should be ready to be baptized. He picks another one and then decides to give you two hymnbooks this time and says, ‘this represents your job to seek for the poor and the needy.’ He says he has given you two pieces because this is a very heavy responsibility. He goes on and on as he picks one hymnbook at a time and hands it to you as he informs you of all your duties. As your left hand is full, he places them on your right hand. In the meantime, your two hands are now full with all 25 hymnbooks and you feel the weight of it upon you. Your stake president asks you, ‘how do you feel about doing all of these duties?’ Of course, you get the point. It is impossible to be doing everything for everybody. At last the stake president picks up the 5 remaining hymnbooks and says, ‘I forgot to mention bishop that you are also responsible for preaching the gospel to the 100,000 people in your community.’ Overwhelming? Absolutely! Will you accept the call? Perhaps not.

BISHOP

Young Men

Young Women

Primary

Sunday School

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

Seminary

Single Adults

Welfare

Relief Society

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

Ward Mission

Physical Facilities

Elders Quorum

High Priest

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

Family History

Activities Comm

Employment

Public Affairs

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

Library

Music

Church Magazine

Teacher Improv

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

Home Teaching

Visiting Teaching

Reactivation

Counseling

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

BISHOP

Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Ideas for Recruiting Other Leaders If you have not realized it by now, ordinary people like you and me will accomplish the extraordinary work of the Church. [D&C 1:19; 23] Occasionally, professionals join the Church but majority of our converts come from the ranks of the poor. The poor are more humble and receptive to the gospel message. We are all children of God, regardless of our educational background, training, or experience. Therefore, we all have the potential of successfully performing this grand work together. But it does entail work on your part and other leaders. There is a logical choice and the choice revealed by the Lord. In choosing people to fill the auxiliary organizations, the Lord will reveal to you whom to call. However, God will not simply give you a name and a face. He has outlined in D&C 9:7-9 what you must do. First, you must study it out in your mind. This part might include counseling with your counselors and asking them for their recommendations. This may require you to interview all the candidates to get to know them better individually. After careful consideration of the possible men and women who may fill the calling, you present your choice to the Lord and ask if it is right. You might be tempted not to follow this process by simply calling on people who appear to be logical choices. This is not the pattern the Lord has set. (Article of Faith 5).Sometimes a logical choice is probably also whom the Lord wants but it is important to get a spiritual confirmation. When I was called as stake president, the choice of my 1st counselor was not a logical one but it was revealed to me by the Lord. It probably surprised some people but I had it clearly given to me and I followed the Lord. We became successful because of that man. When our stake was realigned which necessitated reorganization in the presidency, the choice of my new 2nd counselor was again revealed to me. Again, he was not the logical choice but someone whom the Lord knew would help us succeed. Upon my release three years later, he succeeded me as stake president. Call on the basis of good attitude and character then train for skills. Look beyond appearances and discern the goodness of one’s heart and strength of character.[1 Sam. 16:7] Sometimes we can be deceived by what we see and often impressed with personalities. Some people who have terrific personalities are unwilling to be taught, difficult to entreat, and reluctant to work. It is so much harder to change someone’s attitude. It is so much easier to train a person who has no skills but possess a positive attitude. It does not mean that we do not call the ‘difficult persons’ to callings, I just wanted to present a significant principle. Of course, there are personalities and temperaments that match specific callings. For example, you would call outgoing people and those who enjoy working with teenagers as youth leaders. Extend callings and releases properly. Every call is a call from the Lord. How would the Savior extend the call if He did it himself? In our rush, we are inclined to extend callings in chapel hallways without the benefit of thorough interviews, etc. Always extend callings in a dignified manner. The same is true with releases. Those who are not released properly are offended and become inactive. [Please see article on “Properly Extending and Releasing Callings”] Executive Secretary. One of the key persons in your staff is the ward executive secretary. He functions as the executive assistant to the bishopric. If you utilize him right, he may even act at times as an informal ‘third counselor.’ This man is someone who maybe a friend, who is available to do some errands, familiar with Church procedures, computer literate, and has had office administrative experience, if possible. If a former bishop or stake president or those who have served in bishoprics, stake presidencies, and high council fit this description, he may be the man for the job. Review auxiliary organization staffing regularly as a bishopric. Every auxiliary presidency should be operating optimally in order for Church programs to serve the purposes of its creation. In bishopric meetings, regularly evaluate the quality of working relationships and output of every auxiliary. Act immediately on those who are not functioning properly. Do not tolerate poor performance at all. When you see one, intervene at once. Everyone should have a calling. In a fully functioning ward, I think there are over 100 callings. [D&C 104:11] There is always a calling for everyone. You can even be creative like assigning a brother or sister who extends birthday greetings to all members. Older members who can pick up the hymnbooks, greet members, distribute announcements, arrange the chairs, etc. [D&C 84:109] There are so many ways to involve members. People feel valued and needed when they have a calling. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

FOURTH BASIC – BUILDING & ESTABLISHING RELATIONSHIPS “Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of “Mormonism”; [it is designed] to revolutionize and civilize the world….” [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith] “And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power…” [D&C 84:77] When I was a stake president and had the chance to ordain a new bishop and organize a new bishopric, I ask them this question: “What is the first thing you need to do as a new bishopric?” The usual answers I get is to ‘read the Handbook of Instructions’ or ‘set ward goals’ or ‘prepare an annual calendar of activities’ all of which, of course, are unarguably essential to bishopric work. I know their answers to be right. But I insist that all this work would become naturally easy later if the prerequisite of strong bonds of friendship are initially established. I tell them that the first phase of the work of the bishopric is to build relationships – to transform themselves and their respective families into friends. There is one thing I have discovered in leadership and that is people do not work for organizations – they work for leaders. They will work because they find meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships. They will work because they like you. In certain exceptions with highly committed persons, they work regardless of who is leading even with a not so likeable person. But remember they are exceptional. Since we are an organization of volunteers, we cannot push or coerce people to do their share. Even in organizations where people receive a salary, it is no longer acceptable to force people because they are paid. Granting that they do comply because of their compensation, they do not necessarily become committed to the work. With volunteers, we must exert positive influence and know how to motivate them to share the portion of the big work. Ideas in Building Relationships Some relationships are more important than others. Therefore, it is only practical that you establish the strongest relationships with those you need the most in order to succeed in the most critical areas of bishopric work. Since you delegate the bulk of the administrative work to your counselors and ward executive secretary, you will be well to establish the most meaningful relationships with them. This means that you spend more time with these brethren than all other ward officers. These are your most important working relationships. Next in the hierarchy would be the Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidents, Ward Mission leader and the Young Men and Young Men presidents. Finally, all other auxiliary officers in the ward. Again, my point is that you cannot spend equal time with all of the officers. The more crucial they are to the work, the more time you should spend with them. Building relationships is a deliberate exercise. I am sometimes appalled that people could be working together for years and not know each other well at all. I believe this is unforgivable. When I was called as stake president, the man I asked to be my 1st counselor was a stranger to me and did not like me. I immediately allocated time for us to get to know each other better. We spent three hours on our first meeting. My three-hour investment paid off handsomely in the next five years we worked together. Despite our initial aloofness and discomfort with each other, our relationship blossomed into strong bonds of goodwill. We replaced our misperceptions of each other with true understanding. I do not remember any particular time where we had any serious conflicts. Our working relationship blossomed in totally unexpected ways. First, we became friends, and then we became brothers. Schedule one-on-one meetings purposely for building relationships. Allocate time for it. Ask questions then listen. One of the best ways I have found to build strong relationships is through meaningful one-on-one conversation. Make sure there are no distractions. Forget yourself in this conversation and just focus on finding out more about the other person. To get to know a person better is to ask questions then listen to his answers. Resist the temptation of talking about yourself. The other person is never interested with us. He is only interested to speak Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

about himself. There are three types of questions I use. The first type is simply asking for information. For example, “When is your birthday?” “Where were you born” “Where did you to school?” “What was your childhood like?” “What are your hobbies and interests?” “What course in college did you take?” “Where did you and your wife meet?” These questions will show you the person’s general profile. The second type of questions is to ask for ideas. For example, you might ask, “What ideas do you have about strengthening the youth of this ward?” “Since we will be working together, what are the ways we can work harmoniously?” “What can we do to the poor members of the ward?” People always appreciate being asked for ideas. It also demonstrates your willingness to be influenced and therefore, they will be willing to accept your influence. The third type of questions is to probe into their innermost motivations. For example, “What are your hopes and aspirations as a person?” “Why did you join the Church?” “What are the things you consider most important in your life?” “Why did you choose a career in engineering?” “What motivates you in performing your Church callings?” The quality of your questions will determine the quality of the answers. When you know enough about the person, you will be more effective in working together. Conduct regular home visits. Whenever you do something good for another person, you are presenting that person with a gift. If there is one gift that does not cost you much and yet has one of the greatest impact is to visit your fellow ward officers in their homes. Imagine yourself visited by an Area Authority Seventy, General Authority, or the President of the Church. The effect of your visit is enormous and one that they will treasure. The bishop’s visit is more significant than any other visit done by any other member of the ward. During one of our annual ward conferences instead of our usual Saturday training sessions, I asked the bishops and their ward counterparts to accompany stake leaders to visit the homes of active and less-active families in the ward. The impact to the members was awesome. Since my release, I do not produce the same effect with my visits now as I used to when I had the mantle of leadership. Home visits help you get to know members better. Include a relational activity in your meetings. “Personalan muna bago trabaho.” Most of our meetings begin and end with administrative items. Since all of us go through some kind of personal challenges during the week, we can sometimes appear unfeeling towards each other’s burdens. Elder Henry B. Eyring taught that “we should assume that every person is in trouble.” He said that by making such an assumption you will find yourself being right 50% of the time. This insight has helped me so much and has made me more sensitive to other people’s problems. Before I take up the current agenda items, I sometimes ask everybody to take a turn to share “what’s new and what’s good in their lives.” This makes everyone aware of each other. Sometimes I challenge them to share with the rest of the group what kind of problems they are experiencing. [Mosiah 18:8, 9] If I want the group to disclose further, I ask them to tell us something they are certain that nobody in the group knows. This usually leads to exciting disclosures, which enhances the group’s camaraderie. You do not need to do this every meeting but you will be wise to do it periodically. Multiple exposures during the week build stronger relationships. Some bishoprics hold their meetings on Sundays before meetings start or after all the meetings. Of course, this is fine. However, I strongly encourage holding these meetings mid-week. You will not only have a better quality meeting but you increase exposure to each other. A bishopric that only meets once weekly and a bishopric who interacts twice or more during the week, in my opinion, is a much stronger bishopric. Find opportunities to work together whenever possible. Relationships need constant nourishment. Every time you meet, you nourish your relationships as well. When your relationships are strong, you are a more effective bishopric. The more time invested in relationships, the better the quality of work and easier to elicit cooperation. Know your members by name and encourage others to do so. Question: Why do we call each other in the Church as “brothers and sisters?” I answer by saying – “because we do not know each other’s first names.”☺ It is so convenient to address each other as brother or sister that we forget to know people’s first names. Rommel Masangcay Fajardo, Rafael Alipio Natividad II, Victorino Agsaulio Babida, Ramon Santos Vicente, Alejandro Torcia Rebutar, Sol Afloro Azarraga, Benjamin Miral Godito. These are full names of people I have worked in various ecclesiastical capacities. Relationship building is not a one-time event but an ongoing process throughout our lives. As bishoprics, you ought to be the best of friends that includes your spouses and children. As Latter-day saints, we ought to build on stronger friendships because we know our friendships just like our families will last forever. [D&C 130:2] Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

FIFTH BASIC– HOLDING EFFECTIVE COUNCILS “And this shall be your business and mission in all your lives, to preside in council, and set in order all the affairs of this church and kingdom.” D&C 90:16 The Lord has designed His Church governed by councils. There is much wisdom in this design and I have personally experienced the wonderful blend of talents, experiences, and insights of three or more people united towards a common purpose. In order to elicit the best every person has to offer in a council is to learn to facilitate this council meetings effectively. [Read my article on “Facilitating Council Meetings Effectively” for specific examples]. In addition, here are some other ideas that I have found to be most useful. Ideas for Holding Effective Councils Weekly Bishopric The CHI has outlined the type of agenda appropriate to discuss in the weekly bishopric meeting. In this meeting, it is important that your counselors are able to contribute their opinions and suggestions to improve every aspect of your work. It is important that you hold this weekly and in so doing you will not be overwhelmed with work. Notice that when you miss one meeting, the workload tends to compound. Your ability to influence will depend on your willingness to receive influence from others. Leadership is about influence and the degree in which you are able to exert influence on your council members is equivalent to how you accept their influence as well. Life is always give and take. Notice that people who are unwilling to receive influence (stubborn, arrogant, or proud) do not exert as much influence with other people. No one likes to submit to the influence of a grouch. Elicit opinions from your counselors first before you share your own. Traditionally, we depend exclusively on the leader’s opinion to make decisions for our organizations. This often creates dependence and deprives others their own critical thinking. What I have found most helpful is to consult my counselor’s first. I ask their viewpoints of the issues and concerns at hand. I noticed that if I spoke ahead of my counselors, they sometimes feel intimidated (unless they are the outspoken type) to speak what is really on their mind. When this happens, I lose the chance of getting their best ideas. Once they speak, I restrain myself from making any comments and allow their ideas to influence mine. After one counselor has spoken usually the 2nd counselor first (or the quieter type of the two), I then ask the other counselor to speak next. I have found tremendous value in doing so. Most of the time my original thinking has been enhanced by their own perspectives of the issue. This is the intended output of councils. “Brethren I would now like us to discuss how we can go about teaching our members to exercise family duties in their homes. We need to challenge parents to hold weekly family home evening, daily family prayers, and regular scripture study. I already have some ideas on my mind but I would rather hear your ideas first before I share mine. Shall we start with Bro. Santos (2nd counselor) if he could share some of his ideas about this. Then we will hear from Bro. Mendoza (1st counselor). After you have both spoken, I will let you know my own thoughts and let’s take a more free wheeling discussion to put them all together.” Give your counselors permission to disagree. We sometimes have the notion that unity means we cannot have disagreements. In some instances, people would rather agree with us rather than risk being perceived a rebel. Let me be clear – we have to unite ourselves in doctrine and this is non-negotiable. However, we can be very flexible in the manner of implementing programs and activities. By giving your counselors permission to express their opinions, you tap on their vast resource of creativity. However, you must also insist that no one becomes disagreeable. Once the council decides, every member should support its decision regardless of varying individual opinions initially. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

“I realize that there are many ways we can plan for our next temple trip. Our annual trip always demands a lot of sacrifice for our members and money to finance our annual trip. We need to find a workable solution on how we can raise adequate funds. I would appreciate if you can tell me what you really feel. I would appreciate if you can share your strong opinions. I need your unique inputs on this. Let’s put our different perspectives on the table and work out a strategy where we can all be in agreement.” “To think independently! Men sit in council, but the value of that council is for each one to express what he feels, independently of whether it is going to please somebody else or not. That is the value of counsel and associated with that is the ability to yield that independent thought to the thought of the group -- three members of a bishopric sitting there counseling, each one giving his best thought, his best judgment, and even the inspiration that comes to him. But when two decide, then the other says, ‘Then that becomes my view with yours.’ ” [David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, Pg.263-264] Allow the ward clerk and ward executive secretary to make their inputs. These brethren have much to say also since they are your front liners. They have a keen sense of the things happening around in the ward. They have something to say which can enhance the discussion and contribute to your collective thinking. Insist that they participate in your council meetings as well. Whenever possible, get good thinking men to assume these callings. With five men with different perspectives, you will likely find some novel solutions to your problems. “Welcome to our weekly bishopric meeting brethren. There are a few matters we need to address at once and your inputs would be valuable. Ordinarily our discussion would only involve me and my two counselors. However, from now on I would like to have the ward clerk and the ward executive secretary share their thinking on solving some of our challenges in the ward.” Teach doctrine, a leadership concept, or a principle. Consider including instruction in your meetings. Your council members will find attending your meetings productive. You need not only focus on administrative agenda. It can and should also feed everyone spiritually. You teach when you instruct. Determine to teach something relevant to the needs of your group. If they are getting discouraged, then share a principle how to overcome discouragement. Share your insights from the scriptures or from a good book. Allow them to express their true feelings and listen. Teach them leadership concepts and demonstrate how to apply these concepts in their roles. Of course, you may rotate this assignment to the other members as well. “I have been thinking very recently while reading the scriptures how we might overcome being discouraged. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves first – why do we sometimes feel discouraged as we magnify our callings? Then, what kind of thoughts do we entertain in our moments of discouragement? Finally, we can explore ways we can break ourselves from discouragement.” [You can do this either at the beginning of the meeting or as a way of concluding the meeting to encourage the brethren rising to meet daily challenges. Please facilitate some discussion.] Combine some of the meetings. If you are in an area where you have limited time and resources available and multiple meetings are next to impossible, you might feel justified to forego some of the council meetings. Please do not. Every meeting is important and designed to deliver what is necessary to keep your Church unit running smoothly. Instead, work out to minimize the number of meetings but still make these meetings productive. If time and the availability of council members is a major issue, I suggest you consider combining the meetings that are similar in nature rather than not hold them at all. For example, hold the Aaronic Priesthood Committee meeting right after the ward PEC instead of scheduling it to another day and time. The same is true to the ward council and welfare committee meeting, bishop’s youth committee and the committee for single members. “Brothers and sisters we will spend the first 30 minutes discussing various issues as a ward council. Our agenda will cover the following:….. We will use the remaining 30 minutes to discuss welfare concerns. Please be ready with your narrative or situational reports during the most recent typhoon and your recommended courses of actions. Now let’s proceed to review the minutes and receive reports on previous assignments.” Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Transform your council meetings into a spiritual experience. We cannot create spiritual experiences as easily as we cook food by simply putting the ingredients together. However, we can certainly create an atmosphere where such an experience may occur. What kind of an environment do we need to foster to make our meetings conducive to a spiritual experience? I believe it is a combination of activities such as meaningful and purposeful prayer, singing of hymns heartily, testimonies being borne with conviction, powerful and enlightening teaching, expression of love and affection for each other, and generous and specific praise to individuals. Express your love and appreciation to each other. You do not need to do this all the time. For a much better effect, use it sparingly or when prompted by the Spirit. I usually do this near the end of the meeting. Especially during a bishopric (or presidency) meeting when only five are present, the bonding that occurs is energizing. I go around the circle and mentioning each person by name to express my deep love and appreciation to each person. “Brethren let me conclude our meeting tonight by expressing my personal appreciation for all of you. Let me begin with Raffy. I have always felt your support in everything we do even when you sometimes disagree with my methods. I also rely on you for strength and moral support especially when we are confronted with the toughest problems. When I give you an assignment, I know I can sleep well at night knowing that it’s good as done. I appreciate your dependability at all times. You are a man of action. Thank you.” “To you Mel, you are not only a counselor but most of all a friend. We go all the way back when you were still my bishop. I appreciate your ability to listen well through some of our complex problems. You help me sort my thinking from its cluttered beginnings to its final clarity. I like your deliberate nature in expressing your own view points. We are a better presidency because of your willingness to say what’s on your mind. Thank you.” “Of course to Chito, (executive secretary) what will happen to this presidency without you? (Chuckles around the small circle). You probably have more experience than all of us here having previously served in a stake presidency. Yet, you are willing to subordinate your ideas to ours and assert yourself when you think we can learn from your mistakes in the past. Everyone here in this group especially me look up to you when we sometimes don’t know what to do anymore. We also appreciate your generosity in extending your expertise in so many aspects of our work.” Thank everyone personally before ending the meeting. When you feel the council members deserve praise and commendation for a recently concluded activity or project or when you know that people have gone beyond the call of their duties, it is a good time to express sincere gratitude. At the conclusion of the meeting as you are addressing the group for the final time, praise council members specifically for individual accomplishments in public. “Before we conclude our meeting, I would just like to express appreciation to all of you who have made our recently concluded health fair a tremendous success. Lydia went out of her way to coordinate many aspects of the event and to personally invite the mayor to ensure his presence. She is probably to be blamed for the event’s success. Phillip’s smooth interpersonal relationship with the principal and teachers made us all feel very welcome. We didn’t feel we were strangers at all in new surroundings. Finally, to Pete for making sure that the event is newsworthy and preparing the report and write-up. Thanks to all of you. It would have not been a success without your team effort.” Bear each other’s testimony of the gospel. Testimonies are our deep convictions. We are engaged in this work and contributing what we can because of it. Occasionally invite a few council members to express these convictions to renew their commitment to this latter-day mission. Close your meetings by kneeling in prayer. I assign myself to be the voice of the prayer and in my prayer I express my appreciation to Heavenly Father for each individual and describe their contribution. I also plead in their behalf and their families their biggest need at the time. I say my prayer as intimately as possible with lots of references to council members and their unique circumstances. I have found this exercise truly invigorating for everyone and myself. [See example in my article on “Ten Steps to Meaningful Stewardship Interviews”] Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

SIXTH BASIC– DELEGATION & FOLLOW-THROUGH “The work of the bishopric is both temporal and spiritual. The average bishop gives all his time and efforts for the betterment of the people over whom he presides. The bishop should not try to do all the work that is necessary to be done in his ward. His counselors are there to help him, and a due portion of the responsibility of the bishop of the ward should be placed upon his counselors. Neither is it wise that the bishopric of the ward should feel they are compelled to do all that is necessary to be done in their wards. They should exercise their right to call upon the priesthood to visit the people as teachers … of the gospel of Jesus Christ that they may give to all as far as possible an opportunity to exercise their talents and to do good in their wards. It is sometimes advisable to give to each counselor special duties, and assign each of the counselors his proportion of the responsibilities which belong to the bishopric, each one doing some special work for which he is adapted, so that all may be active.” [Joseph Fielding Smith, Gospel Doctrine Oct. C. R., 1914, p. 6.] No matter how hard you work, you cannot do it all. Even if you could, you will shortly burnout and your output will be dismal at best. The only way to be able to do well in your bishopric work is to allow others the opportunity to share a portion of the load. Ideas for Effective Delegation & Follow-Thru Delineate what you alone should do and give the rest to your counselors. As a bishop, you cannot delegate a good portion of your duties. But a more substantial portion of it can and should be delegated to everyone else.

BISHOP 1st Counselor

2nd Counselor General Supervision

Young Women Sunday School Teacher Improvement Activities Committee Ward Library Public Affairs Youth & SA interviews

Relief Society Elders Quorum Priests Quorum High Priest Group Welfare Finances Ward Budget Ward Mission

Ward Executive Secretary Assistant to the Bishopric Schedules appointments Meeting Agendas Home Teaching Church Magazine Church Education Monitoring Assignments

Young Men Primary Single Members Physical Facilities Family History Music Youth & SA Interviews

Ward Clerk

Record minutes of meetings Member Progress Financial Report Historical Report Membership records

The bishop should delegate many assignments to his counselors, the ward executive secretary, the ward clerk, the assistant ward clerks, and quorum and auxiliary leaders. This allows him to concentrate on duties that he alone should ordinarily do. [CHI, Book 1, p. 11] Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Utilize your counselors, priesthood quorums, and auxiliaries. Your counselors are your most valuable resource for help in accomplishing the bishopric work. You ought to delegate as much as you can to them. The elders quorum, auxiliary presidencies, Aaronic priesthood quorums, and Young Women class presidencies ought to be engaged in every facet of the work that pertains to their calling. It is in your best interest to enlist every active member to the bishop’s work force. Every bit of work done by someone is less work for you. Your members will feel energized by the work you give them. Finally, mobilize the home and visiting teachers to reach all families in the ward. Clarify job description, expectations, and measurements of success. When we delegate work in general terms, we will likely fail. To effectively delegate a task means to ensure that you and the person understand the job in the same terms. You do this by describing the job and then asking the person to repeat to you his understanding of the job. Then you clarify your expectations of a job well done. Finally, you establish the measurements of success. “Brother Nolasco, your calling as ward clerk entails the following responsibilities. One of which is to prepare a weekly financial report….. [Outline the responsibilities as defined in the handbook] Would you please repeat to me what you understand your responsibilities to be? [Allow the person to express his understanding and you correct inaccuracy as necessary] Now that we both understand what this job entails, I would like to clarify my expectations of you for a job well done. I expect reports on time every….. Do you have any questions on what is expected of you? [Define your expectations and results] I know you are succeeding as a clerk when reports are timely and accurate, certificates of ordinances and priesthood ordinations are given to the concerned parties one week after they have been done, you are attending and contributing in all our council meetings….. [Establish your means of measuring success] I know you will do a good job because I have seen how well you have worked in other callings in the past. Please don’t hesitate to ask me if my instructions are not clear. I will always be available for you should you need anything. [Conclude positively] Follow-up, follow-up, and follow up. Delegate but do not abdicate. Your counselors and others do not act independently when your extend the assignments. They continue to be under your supervision. You are always in charge. You remain accountable for the outcome and ensure the accomplishment of the original mission. Do not stop followingthrough an assignment until completed to your satisfaction. Keep a monitoring system of assignments and require regular reports. When assignments come after the other in various settings, it is hard to determine which ones have been completed or which ones need to be followed-through. You should have a record of the minutes of each meeting where assignments are recorded and followed-up in those meetings. You may consider asking your executive secretary to set-up a one-page monitor of all assignments like this.

WARD ASSIGNMENTS MONITOR As of ________________ Date 10/1/03 10/1/03 10/1/03 10/1/03 10/5/03 10/5/03 10/8/03 10/8/03 10/8/03 10/8/03 10/19/03 10/19/03

Meeting Bishopric Bishopric PEC PEC Ward Council Welfare Bishopric Bishopric PEC APC BYC SMC

Assignment Interview and sustain new SS teachers Reorganize Deacons quorum presidency Complete and submit HT September report Visit Bro. Rodrigo in the hospital Call and train ushers for Sacrament Meeting Conduct needs analysis for Rodrigo family Prepare Agenda for Leadership Training Submit Disciplinary Council Documents Conduct interviews with home teachers Sustain and ordain new deacons Submit proposal for youth camp Submit receipts last SA activity

Assignee Cruz Santos Mendoza Mendoza De Leon Aban Cruz Santos Mendoza Santos Gregorio Marcelo

Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

Deadline Status 10/5/03 Done 10/5/03 Move to 10/12 10/5/03 Done 10/2/03 Done 10/5/03 Done 10/5/03 For approval 10/12/03 Done 10/12/03 Due date 10/22 10/12/03 Ongoing 10/12/03 Done 10/29/03 For review 10/22/03 Due date 10/23 20


Bishopric Basics

SEVENTH BASIC– WORK TO PRODUCE RESULTS “Nothing of real substance comes without work. Nothing happens in this world until there is work…. There must be work.” [Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal our Hearts & Homes.] “We must do more than ask the Lord for excellence. Perspiration must precede inspiration; there must be effort before there is excellence. We must do more than pray for these outcomes…., though we must surely pray. We must take thought. We must make effort” [Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 402] “Work without vision is drudgery. Vision without work is dreaming. Work coupled with vision is destiny.” [President Thomas S. Monson] If there is one thing I have learned in the years I have been in leadership callings is this – a good bishop may compensate for the neglect of a sluggish stake president. But an excellent stake president cannot compensate for a lethargic bishop. The work of the bishop in the frontlines is where the battle rages. In the battle for the souls of men, women, and children, there is no substitute to a working leader and commander. Even an extremely capable stake president cannot do the work for you. The bishopric work is yours alone. Ideas in Working to Produce Results The best way to work is to serve. In the gospel, the leadership paradigm is servant-leadership. The chief among us becomes the servant. The bishop serves in many capacities. And by serving you inspire others to serve as well. “Now, the bishop is a man of varied responsibilities and of many duties. He visits the “fatherless and the widows”; he blesses the sick; he buries the dead; he calls to responsibility; he appoints and releases; he conducts meetings and supervises all the numerous activities in the ward; he counsels, advises, calls to repentance, disciplines, and sometimes must handle people for their fellowship and membership.” [Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 475] Lead the work but don’t do everything. Members will respond to calls for work when they see their leader picking up the shovel first. The bishop must always lead the way. Members must know that you will not require from them what you are not willing to do yourself. Your work must be visible and an example to other ward leaders. You will be first to arrive in a meeting and last to leave after a meeting. For home teaching to happen, you must be a hardworking home teacher yourself. However, you do not need to do everything. You must share all the work with others through proper training, delegation, and reporting. Work where it matters the most. Everything you do as a bishop is work. When you preside and conduct meetings – that is work. However, not all bishopric work will have equal impact on people and will mean as much. The work you can do that can have the most influence will always involve one-on-one face-to-face meetings with members. While these meetings can take place in the comforts of your office conducting interviews, the interactions that will matter the most will be the ones you do when visiting and ministering to members in their homes.[James 1:27] So get out of your office. Remember that the Savior never stayed long inside a building and conducted His ministry there. He always brought himself where the people were. He always made the effort to go to and stay close to His sheep. Your work must be sustained and enduring. As a new bishop, you naturally started with enormous enthusiasm. Through time, this enthusiasm may waver and some eventually lose steam. These moments are inevitable. So renew yourself with adequate rest, regular scripture reading and other Church reading materials. Constantly look for ways to improve all aspects of your work. Conduct and attend your leadership meetings regularly. When you lose enthusiasm for the work and become lazy, the entire ward catches on and the work slows down or stops. Remind yourself that your release as a bishop is certain. This is reason enough to remain enthusiastic until the day of your release. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

Four-Step Bishop’s Work Flowchart

Representative

Leader

Leader

Member

Representative

Member

Plan Learn Discuss Assign

Act Errand Implement Do

Follow-up Interview Report Evaluate

Done Resolve Complete Accomplish

Bishopric PEC Welfare Committee Ward Council Auxiliaries Quorum & Class Presidencies

Home Teachers Visiting Teachers Auxiliary Officers FT Missionaries Ward Missionaries Youth

Bishopric EQ/RS Presidencies Other Auxiliary Presidencies Quorum & Class Advisers

COUNCIL

“For this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

Moses 1:39

This is a visual representation of the bishop’s work flowchart. I hope this will provide you a bigger picture of the impact of the bishop’s work through councils and the subsequent activities that follow to bless the lives of people. Generate solutions and then assignments. Under the bishop’s leadership, the various councils should meet to generate solutions to the ward’s most pressing problems. Apply the solutions to resolve the problems. Delegate assignments properly to members or auxiliaries concerned. If there are no assignments generated out of your meetings then you are not only ineffective but will become burdened by the weight of your calling. Keep track of assignments. Ward executive secretary should maintain a list of the assignments generated during council meetings and the persons assigned to carry out the assignments. Always require a timetable or dead line. Write down all of this information. If you do not write it down, you might forget it in time. Take timely action. Insist on members taking action on assignments immediately. The first thing in your agenda in your council meetings should be to follow-up on the action items. Be a good example by taking action on the items assigned to you and model the behavior of timely reporting. Soon your colleagues will get the message on what you consider important. Spend twenty percent (20%) of your time on planning as councils. Use eighty percent (80%) of your time to implement plans and solutions. It’s not over until it’s done. Do not quit following through until it has been completed. Otherwise, you waste all the energy spent in meetings and the inspiration given you in coming up with all those wonderful solutions. PLAN [Council meets to discuss problems] COUNSEL [Counsel for best ideas or solutions] ASSIGN [Extend assignments to concerned persons] WORK [Take timely action] REPORT [Return and report immediately] [Renew assignment] COMPLETE [Complete the assignment to bless the lives of members] CLOSE [Consider the matter close only when it has achieved its intended result] [Work is the link between planning and completion] Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

EIGHTH - MOTIVATING LEADERS & MEMBERS Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. [D&C 81:5] “The personal priesthood interview is the most powerful tool we have in the Church to get the Lord’s work done.” [Pres. Marion G. Romney] We who pretend leadership must set on fire those whom we would lead. [The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 486] If it were up to us, we would like everyone around us to be self-driven, self motivated, and doing everything you expect of them. If all the people were dependable, then there would be no need for leaders. Real-life situations bring leaders and followers together to learn from each other the application of correct principles. Remember, you cannot give what you do not have. As the bishop, you must learn to motivate yourself and keep yourself enthusiastic. Review the ideas on personal development and catching a vision often (first and second basics) and apply them continually. When you are passionate about the work, you will naturally contaminate others with your infectious leadership. So the first step to motivating others is to motivate yourself first. Ideas on Motivating Leaders & Members Ensure that auxiliary leaders receive adequate and continuing training. One cannot stay motivated when s/he does not know how to perform an assignment or does not have the necessary tools to get the job done. [Read article on “Properly Extending and Releasing Callings.”] SAMPLE WARD LEADERSHIP TRAINING AGENDA 4th Saturday of the Month / 5th Sunday of the Month Monthly, Bi-Monthly, Quarterly 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Presiding: Conducting: Opening Hymn: Opening Prayer: Theme Presentation: Workshop & Training Topics

Holding Effective Presidency Meetings Implementing Meaningful Activities Successful Reactivation Efforts

Bishop Bishopric Counselor I Have Work Enough to Do By Invitation Bishopric Counselor Stake High Councilor Stake YM President Elders’ Quorum President

OPEN FORUM / DISCUSSION Musical Number: Closing Remarks: Closing Hymn: Closing Prayer: Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

Primary Presidency Bishop Hope of Israel By Invitation 23


Bishopric Basics

Even if we have provided leaders initial training at the time of the call, it is not enough. One cannot learn everything at one time. Even if they did, they would not be able to do everything at any given time. People go through vicissitudes in life and continuing training is a means to helping them stay motivated. Training is an ongoing process not a one-time event. Arrange training events regularly either by doing it yourself, by resource persons in the ward/stake or by inviting guest speakers who have certain expertise that will be valuable to your leaders. The frequency may be monthly, every other month or quarterly depending on your needs and available resources. Just a word of caution: Training events are not lectures. When we refer to training, we mean to teach a skill. Unskilled lecturers can be long and boring usually just focusing on theories. Sometimes people also call their training events as workshops when actually it is primarily a lecture. A workshop is giving participants actual simulations and hands-on exercise of the techniques taught in a training event. We teach doctrine by lecture and we teach skills by demonstration. Always encourage resource speakers to demonstrate the ‘skill aspects’ of what they are teaching. For example, the elements of an effective presidency meeting can be taught with a short lecture and then demonstrate the fundamentals. Give participants opportunities to try the new skills through simulations. Conduct regular stewardship interviews. I cannot emphasize this enough. Regular stewardship interview is the key for keeping leaders motivated. Not only will you be able to motivate but you also have other opportunities to accomplish many things as well. [Read article on “Ten Steps to a Meaningful Stewardship Interview] Priesthood leaders have the rare opportunity to conduct stewardship (priesthood) interviews. Specifically through personal contacts and interviews the leader can accomplish the following: 1) inspire and motivate 2) delegate and trust 3) hold accountable and followup4) teach by example and principle 5) be generous with appreciation. [Elder James E. Faust, “These I Will Make My Leaders” Conference Report Oct. 1980] Stewardship interviews must be done in a loving and helpful way. Assume auxiliary leaders would like to do a good job and need our help each step of the way. When leaders perform their callings well, it gives them confidence and therefore, give them motivation to doing more. Be generous with praise. We are a volunteer organization. We do not pay people a salary. Perhaps the only way that we are able to reward them is to express appreciation often. Praise good performance in public. Praise often and promptly. Write notes of appreciation. You will be surprised at how they will appreciate your efforts. Be bold to exercise timely correction in a loving manner in private. One of our biggest cultural weaknesses is our unwillingness to confront poor performance. This has resulted to mediocre organizations. Maybe our reluctance is because we do not like to offend or hurt another person’s feelings. So we just sweep the dust under the rug and hope that we don’t need to confront it. But it does show up sooner or later – whether we like it or not. By then our neglect has brought terrible results and the disorder more than what we expect. To exercise correction when correction is necessary is one of the most difficult tasks of leadership and equally the most important in leading successful organizations. “We must not resist the direction to seek higher standards because we object to some individual oversight or insensitivity or because we resent confrontation or pressure. The gospel is a continuing criticism of all that is wrong or inadequate in our individual lives or our organizations. We must confront and press ourselves and one another to make the improvements that are required for eternal progress.” [Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Area President, Meeting with Church Employees, Manila, September 16, 2003] With the right spirit and motive, to chastise another person is to show our love. The Lord himself declared that He chastens those whom he loves. [D&C 95:1] Every once in a while we and others lose our track and chastening is in order. The principles of correction are clearly outlined by the Lord: a) we must lead by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned b) reproving betimes with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost (not anger, frustration or hate) c) then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward thy brother or sister. [D&C 121:41-44] Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

NINTH BASIC– ESTABLISHING MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES “Our work, our every-day labor, our whole lives are within the scope of our religion. This is what we believe and what we try to practice. Yet the Lord permits a great many things that he never commands…. The Lord never commanded me to dance, yet I have danced… Yet while the Lord has never commanded me to do it, he has permitted it. I do not know that he ever commanded the boys to go and play at ball, yet he permits it. I am not aware that he ever commanded us to build a theater, but he has permitted it, and I can give the reason why. Recreation and diversion are as necessary to our wellbeing as the more serious pursuits of life”. [Discourses of Brigham Young, Pg.238] “The Church in reality is a vehicle for the growth and development of God’s children. The priesthood quorums, Primary, Mutual, Sunday School, Relief Society, and other Church organizations, in their various activities and programs, all contribute to the development of their members’ talents and provide opportunities for them to be shared with others.” [Franklin D. Richards, Conference Report, October 1968, 113] A ward without meaningful and nurturing activities is like a person without exercise. While Sunday meetings and classes are nourishing us with the word of God, these activities alone do not make a strong and healthy unit. These meetings do not provide adequate opportunities for meaningful interpersonal exchanges. Sacrament meetings are necessarily passive activities where members renew covenants, meditate, and listen to speakers. In our classes we normally focus on delivering lesson content from our curriculum materials. Even during Relief Society and Elders Quorum meetings the focus are still on lessons instead of people. There is hardly any time devoted to getting to know each other better or determining personal circumstances and challenges our members are experiencing. Bonding experiences are few and far between. Thus, you will sometimes feel indifference, aloofness, and coldness in the Church among members as they simply go through the motions of Sunday meetings. It does not have to be that way and you as a bishop can do much to change it. Ideas for Establishing Meaningful Activities Family activities first. There has been strong emphasis by General Authorities on increasing family activities instead of ward or stake activities. I believe this to be a true principle. However, when we echo this emphasis as local leaders, I now have realized that we have simply repeated this emphasis without actually implementing a program of teaching parents how to conduct meaningful family activities. Many of our members are first-generation converts who need to be assimilated into the gospel culture. Unfortunately, even long-time members have failed to adopt the gospel culture in their homes. This is a failure of our leadership. We must not only declare this emphasis in the pulpit but we have to work hard towards its application in our homes. [Read article “Helping Families Adopt the Gospel Culture”] The ward that plays together, works together. In my thirty-five years of membership discovered that no unit ever becomes a ‘community of saints’ by only meeting on Sundays. As leaders, we must provide members with additional opportunities to build bonds of eternal friendships. We provide these opportunities by facilitating venues for personalized connections, clean fun, and recreational activities. When we create these bonds among our members, love and concern become natural outcomes and work in the Church becomes easier. On the other hand, when these bonds do not exist, it is very difficult to move Church work forward in a significant way. Therefore, we arrange these activities not just for purposes of recreation, although we should have fun, but with the intent to improve social connections among members in order to raise Church work output. Please bear in mind that there is also an emphasis for more ward activities instead of stake activities. If it’s not happening in your ward, is it possible that you do not how to plan, organize, and implement these activities? If so, please feel free to ask help from your stake leaders or perhaps members in your ward who have had extensive experience in the church. Many of us are new and may have never been into a position where we have learned these things prior to joining the Church. There is nothing to be embarrassed about your inability to conduct these activities. We can’t possibly know everything that we need to do. When in doubt, always ask for help. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

“And there was one day in every week that was set apart that they should gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God, and also, as often as it was in their power, to assemble themselves together.” [Mosiah 18:25] Alma understood the need for gathering his people not only one day in every week but also as often as it was possible for them to assemble together. He knew that a once-a-week gathering was not enough to unify and strengthen the saints. Don’t ever settle for Sunday meetings alone. Members need to meet together often to teach and edify each other. Establish activities for everyone. If you follow Church programs there are activities for everybody. ‘Mutual Night’ for youth, weekly activity for singles, monthly Relief Society Homemaking and Elders Quorum activity, and quarterly Primary activities. If you lack the time and resources and many times this is true in many places in the country, combine the activities. Youth and single adults can hold activities together. The Primary can hold activities with the Relief Society. The Elders Quorum and the Relief Society can join forces. If all else fails, then have a monthly activity for the entire family. Parents need activities, too. I believe that one of the most neglected sectors in the Church is parents. While there is lot of emphasis for youth and children’s activities, there is very little done in behalf of parents. In my opinion, this is lamentable. Sometimes when we get preoccupied with running youth activities, we forget that the real leverage in strengthening young people and children lies with their parents. If the parents are strong and active in Church, it is very possible that children will be active, too. Therefore, I strongly recommend a regular husband and wife ward activity which fosters increased love and understanding for spouses. The frequency is up to you but for maximum impact, monthly if possible or at the very least quarterly. You can also sponsor ward activities that bring the whole family together. Establish mid-week activities. When Church leaders encourage us to conduct youth activities mid-week, it is intentional. Meaningful activities are meant to become bridges between Sunday to Sunday meetings. Ward activities conducted on Saturdays are good but not quite as useful if they are done mid-week. Especially among young people the mid-week exposure is critical. There are too many distractions during the week that need to be balanced with Church activities which feed our spirits. The adversary works to destroy us 24 hours a day without let-up and our work of defending our families and wards are minimal at best. Think about the lopsidedness of the battle. Weekly Home Teaching & Visiting Teaching. One of the most effective and fun ways to ‘build a community of workers’ is holding HT and VT simultaneously as a group. If your HT program is not working try this strategy. I have now successfully documented that this tactic works with outstanding results. [Read article on “Guerrilla Home Teaching Strategy” and “Making Your Home Teaching Organization Work”] The quick way to plan, organize, and implement activities. Successful activities all comply with some basic elements. These elements are required to translate your plans into meaningful and faith-promoting activities. By following these guidelines you can ensure holding successful activities all the time. The big picture. Ask yourselves “what would we like to have happened?” Visualize the outcome of the activity during the planning stage and it will help you determine what needs to be done. Identify all the things that are needed. As you visualize the activity, write down the things you need as a checklist. What about flyers or invitations? Do you need food prepared? Will there be speakers? Will there be a need for decoration? What about the physical arrangements with the venue? What about transportation? Go to as much detail as possible. Delegate the assignments. Make the assignment loud and clear to everyone. Ensure that people understand exactly what they are supposed to do. If there are changes, make sure it is promptly communicated. The communication lines must always be open to prevent any misunderstanding. Require people to report to you their progress. Follow up. Don’t leave things to chance. Make sure to check and follow-through. Then there is a long way and thorough procedure to activity planning…… Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Activity Planning Worksheet Date of Activity: __________________

Time of Activity: ____________________

Write the spiritual or temporal need you have identified? _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ Write the ‘main purpose’ of the activity? What would we like to have happened? _________________________________________________________________________________ Write the name of the activity you have identified in the Activity Book can be used to meet the need? _________________________________________________________________________________ Or an activity you have formulated ____________________________________________________ Write how you plan to do it. Proposed budget if applicable: __________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ List the names of everyone who can help [parents, advisers, priesthood leaders, SA, youth, and others] _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ List all the things that are needed and those assigned to do them. _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ After the activity, evaluate. Why was the activity a success? [good points] How did it meet our needs? _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ What would you have done differently? [areas of improvement] How can it be improved next time? _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ The PIER principle. Plan. Implement. Evaluate. Revise. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

TENTH BASIC– MINISTERING BY TEACHING “Bishops, you stand as watchmen on the tower of the wards over which you preside. There are many teachers in each ward. But you must be the chief teacher among them. You must see that there is no false doctrine creeping in among the people. You must see that they grow in faith and testimony, in integrity and righteousness and a sense of service. You must see that their love for the Lord strengthens and manifests itself in greater love for one another.” [Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Shepherds of Israel,” Ensign, Nov. 2003, 60] A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach. [1Timothy 3:2] All of the bishop’s work involves teaching correct principles. You teach every time you speak. Be it in your home, at a ward council meeting, at the sacrament meeting, at a funeral service, during family visits or when conducting personal interviews. It is an awesome responsibility inherent to the bishop’s call. You are at all times a teacher. So teach at every opportunity. As a teacher, you can only teach what you know. You cannot teach what you do not know. How do you fill your mind with words of wisdom? It is done by reading daily. Read the scriptures regularly. Read the Church Handbook of Instructions as often as possible. Read Church magazines. Improve your teaching skills by participating in teacher training or reading teacher improvement manuals such as “Teaching No Greater Call” or “Teaching the Gospel: A CES Training Resource for Teaching Improvement.” Read, read, and read. Don not let a day go without reading. The Lord has said: “ Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.” [D&C 84:85] So the act of treasuring in our minds the words of life continually precedes the inspiration the Lord has promised to give us. Preparation precedes inspiration. As I always like to say, “The Lord cannot inspire an empty mind.” Ideas on Ministering by Teaching Speak at the Sacrament Meeting once a month. This is not a handbook requirement. But consider through prayerful consideration a specific area where members need to be taught and then create an inspiring talk to address it. One of your goals should be to encourage members to apply the gospel in their lives and converting their homes into a gospel-centered home. This should be a recurring theme throughout your ministry. “It is pleasing to note the growth of the Church, the increased attendance at Church meetings, and the participation of our members in various Church activities. But the real measure of our faith is our private religious behavior -- love and harmony in our homes, our personal prayers, private scripture study, temple attendance, magnifying Church callings, and offering love and service to our fellowmen.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 165-166] Sunday Evening Discussion and firesides. Use this opportunity to stay close to the youth, foster better relationship between parents and children. You might also consider inviting single members to participate. They are sometimes neglected also. Hold firesides to inspire and insist on having special musical numbers by a choir, a duet, or a solo. “Stay close to your ward children through all their years and your youth as they grow. I am sure that your work should be mostly prevention and far less acute, and that if you will delegate enough of your routine matters to your counselors you will have time to cultivate the faith and confidence of all.”[The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Pg.487] Discussion instead of lecture. Perhaps, the sacrament meeting is the only place where one-way communication is mandatory but everywhere else your method of teaching could and must be interactive. Organize panel discussions, ask effective questions to stimulate thinking, and focus your teaching on the students. Facilitate discussion instead of lecturing lessons. People learn faster and understand principles better when they are actively involved in the learning process. Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Bishopric Basics

To Bring to Pass the Immortality and Eternal Life of Man Families are sealed in the temple to become eternal families if they live worthily and endure to the end.

The stake is a gathering place where Church members can serve and strengthen each other, become unified, and receive gospel ordinances.

STAKE Organization

The ward administers saving ordinances of the gospel to individuals and families. Church programs and auxiliaries assist parents in establishing and maintaining a gospel-centered home.

BISHOPRIC

WARD CLERK

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

ELDERS QUORUM

HIGH PRIEST

RELIEF SOCIETY

WARD MISSION

YOUNG MEN

YOUNG WOMEN

PRIMARY

SUNDAY SCHOOL

CHURCH EDUCATION

ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE

FAMILY HISTORY

PUBLIC AFFAIRS

GospelCentered Home

GospelCentered Home

GospelCentered Home

Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

GospelCentered Home

GospelCentered Home

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Bishopric Basics

Eleventh Basic – Enjoy your calling!

Your CALLING! Copyright © 2005 Randy F. Rubio All rights reserved “Being Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause”

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Eleven Bishopric Basics  

Chapter 4 "Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause" A tool for Church leaders to approach bishopric work systematically. My goal is to simplify wh...

Eleven Bishopric Basics  

Chapter 4 "Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause" A tool for Church leaders to approach bishopric work systematically. My goal is to simplify wh...

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