I have been in a few wards where this was implemented.
It was great! I think in the one ward, we had three different classed. In this particular ward, they did outline different age groups or levels of understanding, but nobody was forced to go to any of them. And none of them suffered from a lack of attendance.]]>
I think that would be most useful if the classes were being taught at different difficulty levels, so members could gravitate toward the level where they feel most comfortable.]]>
Start and end your meeting on time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It shows a complete lack of respect for those who show up early or on time when you wait for the stragglers to come in. It shows a lack of respect to every teacher / instructor when you allow the meeting to go over time. Take control of the meeting and tell that long-winded high councilor to sit down!
Here, Here! I totally agree with this one! I have wondered (our stake visitors often run around 10 minutes overtime) if they realize the impression they are giving to the rest of us. I think of all the primary and SS teachers who sacrifice personal time preparing their lesson, only to have their time shortened by sacrament meetings running into overtime. I know this isn’t particularly kind of me, but I think it makes the HC or whomever appear rather arrogant. It’s like they think that because they have a stake calling, what they have to say is automatically more important than auxilliary teachers. I don’t know about just telling them to sit down though? Is there a polite way to do that???]]>
So, having read them all, I was a surprised that 2 of the biggest Sacrament meeting “helps” I’ve ever noticed have not even been mentioned. Here are two things I’ve seen done in previous wards that seemed to help my family (yes, with 3 young children) as well as myself, get more out of the meetings:
1) The conducting bishopric member would always remind us, just before and/or just after the passing of the Sacrament, the purpose of Sacrament meeting. He would focus us on the fact that taking the bread and water, renewing our covenants, and remembering Jesus Christ was in fact the most important part of the meeting — of the week. I really liked that, and even when I had to chase kids down the hall for most of the day’s meetings, at least I felt like I had participated in the most important part.
2) A bishopric in one ward took a 5th Sunday, being sure as many adults as possible were in attendance (had YM/YW take over Primary so the teachers could be there), and emphasized REVERENCE. He spoke of the principles (experiences of GBH, quotes from BKP) and then had ward members (some w/ young children) speak briefly on how they try to maintain reverence in Sacrament meeting. This inspired many FHEs on reverence in our home, to practice outside of church.
The bishop also set up some guidelines for us as ward members, which were carried out rather beautifully (with a few occasional reminders) for the ensuing year we were in the ward. One suggestion was to “assume no one in the chapel wants to talk to you,” allowing others that sacred time to listen to prelude music and meditate. What was remarkable about this was that the bishopric followed it too. They set a goal to not conduct business in the chapel and to be in their seats 7 minutes before the meeting started. They took that time to ponder themselves and gain their own personal revelation on ward members, issues, etc.
They simply enphasized the chapel as a sacred place, and the foyers as the place to socialize and conduct other business. I was amazed at how responsive my children were to the reverence in the chapel each Sunday, and how much more I personally gained from those meetings.]]>
– quit assigning lame topics. Either don’t assign a topic at all or give a very broad topic that is based on the basic principles of the doctrine. Why not for the whole month of July choose “Faith” to be the topic. Let the members struggle with the spirit to come up with what should be said.
- Let’s hear from the leadership in the ward more often. Let them talk about the doctrines that they feel a need to talk about.
-Start and end your meeting on time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It shows a complete lack of respect for those who show up early or on time when you wait for the stragglers to come in. It shows a lack of respect to every teacher / instructor when you allow the meeting to go over time. Take control of the meeting and tell that long-winded high councilor to sit down!
Priesthood – specifically Elders Quorum:
- Build us our own room to meet in. If you treat the EQ like an after though, they are bound to act like an after thought. Every other group / quorum has their own room to meet in, but for some reason we are always put in the kitchen, a corner of the cultural hall, overflow area, etc… (this may not be the case everywhere, but it certainly has been my expierence).
- specifically for adults, this needs to be less of a lecture and more of a discussion. It’s no wonder people feel like they get more out of reading a blog than they do sitting in a sunday school or priesthood / rs class. This is interactive and everyone can participate. I want to interact with my fellow ward members, but all we get is a lecture so the instructor can show off how much he knows.
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. I’ll go back and read the rest of the posts now.]]>
1. Call nursery workers who will let parents bring their children in before they turn 18 months, as long as they stay in there with them. (My husband and I have a toddler who can’t stay in nursery without a parent and an almost 1yo who can no longer sit through SS and RS/PH, so neither of us goes to SS or RS/PH. Ever. If the 1yo could go into nursery with a parent we could take turns and one of us could go to nursery and the other actually attend the adult classes.)
2. Ask speakers to speak at least 2 weeks in advance (though it sounds like you already do this). Also, for those weeks when you have someone cancel, send around a sign-up for people who would be willing to substitute-speak on short notice (like they do for substitute primary teachers). Some of us actually don’t mind speaking or teaching, even with only half an hour notice. You still won’t get a talk as well-prepared, but you would eliminate a lot of stress and angst.
3. Get changing tables installed in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms.
4. Go into the mothers’ lounge. Observe. (Um, probably best done while there are no mothers actually using it.) How many chairs does it have? How many nursing mothers does your ward have? If there’s a large disparity, get more chairs, and possibly set up a bigger room to be used as a mothers’ lounge during SM. Also, does the speaker work? The mothers want to be able to listen to SM talks when they’re in there, but also want to be able to turn the volume down if they’re trying to get their baby to sleep.
5. Try to keep announcements short. We try to keep the toddler in sacrament meeting until after the actual sacrament (that’s a huge accomplishment for us), so that we can all actually take the sacrament (which is what we’re there for). This is much easier if the sacrament is closer to the beginning of the meeting.
And yes, almost all of these are aimed at helping young parents with unruly children, but well, that’s what I am right now, so those are the suggestions I have.
And thank you, Rusty, for asking for input to make things better.]]>