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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Musical numbers at convert baptism services

For a long time there was a practice of having all of the full-time missionaries in our Stake do a musical number at each convert baptism service. What had started out as a musical number to help fill the time while people changed their clothes had gradually turned into a musical number that was part of the program (because the missionary doing the baptizing wanted to participate in the song and/or they wanted the new member to be able to hear the song, as well).

It was fine, but it did extend the length of the program quite a bit (often they performed a slow 4-verse hymn) and still left that long waiting period while the convert and person doing the baptizing were changing. Eventually this practice was changed altogether, because of a change in mission president, who asked that this practice of having all of the full-time missionaries perform together at baptisms discontinue. Policies may differ in your area, this is just how things are run currently in our area.

So, we haven't had any musical numbers at all recently, just because this was always something that was planned by the missionaries in the past and has been somewhat overlooked. The intermediate time while people are changing is usually filled by Elders from another ward standing up in the front and teaching a gospel principle or two. Since it can take a while for people to change, it is a long time for the Elders to try to stretch something out and people tend to start to fidget.

My husband (Ward mission leader) thought it would be nice to have a short musical number performed during that changing time, which would be followed by the Elders' remarks in whatever time is remaining. He got the 'ok' from our Bishop, and tasked me with gathering a list of names of people who might be interested in performing in the future.

I started with a message on facebook, "Attention musically talented people in the area: I'm trying to put together a list of people who might be able to do musical numbers for upcoming convert baptism services...solo, duet, whatever...vocal or musical instrument. This isn't for a specific date, just need a list of people who might be willing if we want a musical number in the future. We usually have a 1-2 weeks notice. If you would be able to help, let me know!"

I may follow up with personal messages to people that I know have performed in the past, and possibly a sign-up sheet at church, depending on how much of a response I get.

I suggested to my husband that to avoid potential disappointment, it might be good to specify ahead of time that the musical number will be performed during the waiting period, so that they understand that the new convert most likely won't be in the room to hear the musical number.

I thought I'd mention this on this blog because, as always, I'm interested in getting as many ward members to convert baptisms as possible, and it occurred to me that this is another great way to do that!

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