HOW TO USE THIS BLOG: Since this blog covers various Ward Mission subjects, I've made it easier to find exactly what you're looking for by grouping posts together by topic. On the right side of this page (above the photo of the shaking hands), you'll find the list of topics you can click on to find the information you're looking for

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Member News(letter)

OK, so its not really a formal "newsletter", but last year I started sending out the Sunday School lesson schedule once a month (or so) to our Ward's recent converts. I wanted to make sure that they knew which lesson we were on, in case they missed a Sunday or wanted to study the topic before class). If they had missed a Sunday and I had leftover handouts from class, I would include one of those handouts as well. Eventually, I also started adding information about upcoming activities and things like that. I wondered if people would think it was strange that I was sending them random things, so I started calling it the "New Member News". Its really just a one-page printout with information that might be useful to new members*, but I thought calling it a newsletter seemed less "random". I also added a list of the Ward Missionaries (names and phone numbers) in case they have any questions.

Finally, if I have any space left on the page (which I usually do), I try to include a quote from the Ensign, or a short article that explains a term of "Latter-day Saint Lingo". This month I included a little article about Family Home Evening - what it is, how to do it, resources to help, etc. I figure that while I'm at it, the more information I can provide, the better.

Like I said, my initial intent was just to provide information about Sunday School lessons, but now I feel like its a valuable tool that allows me to make another "contact" with each person/family outside of Church.

*In addition to new converts, I also sometimes send the newsletter to investigators as well, depending on the circumstances.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Encouraging Sunday School Attendance

As part of our callings, the Ward Missionaries in our Ward take turns teaching the Gospel Essentials Sunday School class. I always try to make sure that new members know that they need to attend the class for at least one year, and normally we have a pretty good attendance (we have 13+ new members and usually a handful of investigators). Lately (the last few months), I've noticed that quite a few people have gotten into the habit of coming to Sacrament meeting and then not staying for the rest of the meetings. I've been pondering how we can encourage people to stay for the 2nd two hours (especially Sunday School), and here are a few ideas I've come up with:
  • Send out an upcoming lesson schedule (I put this in the monthly new member newsletter), just to keep it on their minds during the week
  • Call on Saturdays and ask members (who should be attending the class) to give prayers or do some other sort of simple assignment
  • Greet new members at the door (before Sacrament) and give them a "Today in Sunday School" handout
I'm trying the "Today in Sunday School" handout for the first time this Sunday - I've just made a little printed handout that says, "Today's lesson in Gospel Essentials Sunday School class is 'The Sacrament' - Here are some of the topics we will cover: What are the 2 main purposes of the Sacrament? Does it matter which hand you use to take the Sacrament? What steps should I take to prepare before taking the Sacrament? Do young children take the Sacrament?"

The thinking behind this is that the handout will #1- remind the person about the class (making it less convenient to feel casual about "skipping out" early) #2- provide some interesting questions that might peak their interest about the topic (like if a person had never considered the significance of using their right hand or whether or not young children should take the Sacrament, they might be more inclined to attend out of curiousity).

Hopefully these ideas will help! If you have any tips to share, please let us know!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dividing our time - Pie Chart Planning

We had an excellent quarterly training meeting the other day and it got me thinking about how I balance my time in this calling. I know I spend a lot more time on it than many (including my husband), since I'm a stay-at-home mom and have more time for planning lessons and phone calls. It doesn't seem like much, but the little things add up. I was curious to see how my time is usually spent, to see if I should make adjustments. I made a (free) pie chart at Math Warehouse (click on the underlined words to be taken to the site) - it was really easy.

I figured out (approximately) how much time I spend on each aspect of Ward Missionary work (for example, since my husband has a strange work schedule, I usually only end up going to teach a discussion with the full-time missionaries only about once every other week, so I entered an average of 1/2 hour per week in that category).

Here's my break down:
Teaching New Member Discussions (2 hrs/wk)
Teaching with the F/T Missionaries (.5 hrs/wk)
Teaching/Preparing Gospel Essentials Class (2 hrs/wk)
Extra contact (calls, visits) with New Members / Less-Active / Investigators (2 hrs/wk)

Fellowshipping (activities outside of Church) (1 hr/wk)
Planning Meetings (1 hr/wk)

My husband's break down would look more like this:
Teaching New Member Discussions (1 hr/wk)
Teaching with the F/T Missionaries (.5 hr/wk)
Extra contact (calls, visits) with New Members/Less-Active / Investigators (1 hr/wk)

Fellowshipping (outside of Church) (2 hrs/wk)
Planning Meetings (1 hr/wk)

I think a pie chart could a helpful tool for a Ward Missionary (or in any calling) because it gives you a visual that shows where you are spending your time and how that relates to your goals.... If your goal is to focus on fellowshipping, but you spend 90% of your time in planning meetings, your might want to make an adjustment to your schedule!