Monday, March 11, 2013

A Brilliant Idea for Settings Apart (and it wasn't mine)

I was so impressed and excited by this idea that I had to share it.

My ward offers some unique challenges in that nearly 50% of the members are under the age of 12 (and nearly half of those are under the age of 3). Currently, we have 51 people listed as teachers and other volunteers in our children's program (Primary).

As you might expect, keeping the program staffed requires managing a revolving door of people coming in and people coming out. After the hard part of getting people to accept the position, each person is supposed to be set apart to serve in that role. The setting apart is, essentially, an opportunity for the individual to receive counsel and encouragement about how to serve.

I have my doubts about how necessary settings apart are; but whether they are necessary or not, I do think that, when performed by a spiritually in tune leader, they are a great source of inspiration for most people. Unfortunately, we often have difficulty making sure everyone gets set apart-especially the teachers in Primary. These teachers are always in their classes when it would be most convenient to do the setting apart, and after the worship services are over, they are usually ready to go home and their kids are wound up by freedom from a three hour session of not behaving like normal kids. Too often, these settings apart just weren't being done.

That changed recently. Our bishop has decided to set apart Primary teachers in their classes and in front of the class. This is brilliant in a few ways. First, the settings apart are getting done, and they are being done promptly.

Second, the children will get to see settings apart more often, and will get to hear an explanation of why we do it more often. I think that more opportunities to see local leadership giving inspired blessings can only help children develop an appreciation for the power of a strong community-based leadership.

Third, doing the settings apart in class puts the ward leaders in the room with children and their teachers. They get to see who each person is teaching and they get to engage the children in a smaller group. Given the value of knowing your congregation (more than just names), this is no small thing.

So I tip my hat to my bishopric for figuring out how to do so many great things with such a simple act.

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