Thursday, October 1, 2009
The Callings Process
First, a little background. I was at the MTC on a visit several years ago and had the opportunity to listen to a talk to the missionaries by President Monson, who discussed the process by which Elders and Sisters are called to different areas for missionary service. Before this discussion I had some idea that the process involved some mystery element whereby people were selected to go to a specific destination through supernatural involvement. Come to find out, missionary information was all in a computer, and automatically assigned to areas based almost solely by need (X mission needs X number of missionaries in March, the computer assigns the appropriate number). While it was initially a let-down, logically it made perfect sense. How could assigning tens of thousands of missionaries a year be handled any other way?
While brings us to today's post. I've been asked many times about the process by which callings are made. Most would like to believe, as did I in the past, that callings come straight from above, whispered into the ear of the Bishop, who then merely extends the call to the member. Needless to say, that's not exactly the typical process.
With callings, I first spend some time pondering about the open positions. Usually this is done with my eyes closed while relaxing in my leather recliner. After pondering for some time I might feel particularly inspired that a person should be asked to fill a position, while other times I have no idea at all.
If I'm at a loss, I may ask my wife for her inspired input. Let's face it, until women are officially running the Church, why not at least admit that they have great influence at every level and a great instinct for who might fill a position particularly well.
In the next Bishopric meeting, any names that I've thought of are discussed and the other members of the Bishopric provide valuable input. Sometimes we go with my initial thought, other times another name is presented that seems to be a better fit for whatever reason. We can usually come to a consensus on the names during this meeting.
Lastly, we extend the call and have about a 60% acceptance rate, even from those we felt good about. Of course, members are always able to use their free agency, and as it turns out there are many situations that we weren't initially aware of that make people unable to accept the call.
So there you have it - callings in a nutshell.