A Convert’s Survival Guide: Getting Your First Calling

Soon after you are baptized, you will receive a calling in your Ward.  A calling is an assignment, usually in a Ward where you help it run smoothly and serve each other.

Since I’ve been a member a little over a year, I’ve held a few callings: Assistant Cub Master, Cub Master, Webelos Leader and Ward Website Administrator.

I admit that I struggled with my first two callings two the point where I felt like I failed in the end.  Shortly after, I realized why this was.  Here are some things I’ve learned about callings:

Examples of Church Callings

  • Bishopric (Bishop and his two Counselors)
  • Elders Quorum Presidency
  • Relief Society Presidency
  • Ward Clerk (Finance and Membership)
  • Ward Bulletin Editor
  • Ward Librarian
  • Sunday School Teacher
  • Nursery Worker
  • Chorister
  • Piano / Organ Player
  • Cub Scouts Leader

It Is What Heavenly Father Wants You To Do

In my calling, my young son asks me why I do what I do.  My answer is simple:

It is what God wants me to do.

Before you are extended a calling, your Bishop and others will ponder prayerfully what you should do.  I know how much your Bishop loves and cares for you and seeks nothing but good for you.  Your Bishop is really in tune with the Spirit and only after spiritual confirmation does he extend the call to you.

It Is Voluntary

You have your free agency. Your calling can be accepted or denied.  Your participation is voluntary.  You can say yes or no.  Just remember however, this is what God wants you to do.  I haven’t yet declined a calling as I recognize its divine origins.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not seek, nor do we decline, callings that come from God through inspired priesthood channels.  (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 178th Annual General Conference, April 2008, Sunday Morning Session)

No one in the Church is paid for their calling.  The payment for performing your calling is blessings for you and your family.

A Way Has Been Prepared

When Nephi and his brothers were asked to bring back the brass plates from Laban, his brothers did not think it was possible.  However, Nephi sagely replied:

I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.  (1 Nephi 3:7)

Heavenly Father knows you intimately and does not give you more than you can handle.

Magnify Your Calling

I remember when I first heard my Bishop use this phrase: “Magnify your calling.” What does Magnify mean?  President Gordon B. Hinckley interpreted it as to enlarge, make clear, bring closer, to strengthen.  (Ensign, May 1989) More simply said by President Thomas S. Monson:

How does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it.

Consecrate Thy Performance

When you receive a calling, pray over it.  A brother in my ward has told me a few times to consecrate thy performance:

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. (2 Nephi 32:9)

Finally, in my Stake Conference Adult Session last night, I heard the following four truths about callings:

Callings Do Not Last Forever

There was a story that went with this, basically this brother was called to be a primary teacher for a class and every year he was called to teach the same group of children.  He was blessed in that his callings only lasted a year, he got to watch these children grow up as he progressed through Primary, to the Bishopric and finally to Bishop.  He got to see these children off to a mission and also have them return as a Bishop.  You will no doubt have many callings over your lifetime.

Great Associations Are Created In Callings That Strengthen One Another

His calling had him nourish an everlasting friendship to where his friend would call on him years later, from another state for help.  This was a blessing to both himself and his friend.  Callings are a good way to get to know your new Ward Family and visa-versa.

You Are Usually Helping Those Who Are Helping Others

Callings are all about service to others.  You could be in Nursery watching the children of a Gospel Doctrine Teacher who is teaching your family.  Once again, callings are all about service to others, period.

You Are Doing Something That Someone Else In The Ward Cannot Do (at that time, with those people)

You were called for a reason, whether it be a talent you know you have or didn’t know.  A way has been prepared for you.

I’d like to give my testimony that accepting and taking your callings to heart and magnifying it does bring blessings, joy and immence pleasure as you are serving those around you.  You are doing the your part in building up the Kingdom of Heaven.

Oh Bishop, My Bishop!

I admit, when I first started going to Church I wanted to call the Bishop the Warden instead. I wanted to do so only because the Church was called a Ward. It seemed fit that the Warden would be in charge of the Ward. It took me two months to get that out of my system and I’m happy to report that I never once slipped up…at least I don’t think I did.

I don’t know if my Bishop will ever know how much I admire and appreciate him. Not because he holds a prestigious title, that he presides over Sacrament or is in the highest office of the Aaronic priesthood. The reason why I appreciate him is because he is just a man. He is a man who is kind, caring, humble, sincere and the first one to admit his faults.

If I did not know him and saw him walking down the street, I would know he was a righteous man, obedient to the Lord. He is a man that has the Spirit with him, always.

I know how hard his calling can be and he does it with a smile and with all his heart. He is one of the many men in my ward that I look up to as an example of what I want to become. He is a man that has his spiritual affairs in order.

Last Sunday for Church, I caught him in his office and met with him briefly about arranging to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood since I was Sustained in the last Stake conference. When he saw me, he smiled. He shook my hand and was genuinely happy to see me. We sat in his office for a second and I told him of my plans and how I wanted my best friend to ordain me.

Afterwards, he told me how he was proud of me and put his arm around my shoulder. “How are you doing?” he asked me. “I’m trying as best as I can.” I replied. “The best you can is good enough and that is between you and the Lord.” Like many times before, he spoke about how he is not perfect, has his faults and he tries his best as well. He also spoke of the wonderful gift of the atonement and how he relies on it in his life. At that moment I felt the Spirit bring me Peace and Comfort. It washed away my feelings of inadequacies.

His kindness and humble attitude strengthened my testimony. He made my day. He made my week. Even though I thought something horrible happend less than three hours ago when a Deacon forgot to pass us the bread for Sacrament, I felt safe and set for another week.

He is just a man, but he is my Bishop. And I wish I could find a way to thank him for that.

The Growth of a True Church

I came across an amazing video on YouTube tonight and thought I’d share it with everyone. The video depicts the growth of the Church as measured by Stakes. Stakes are made up of five to twelve congregations in a geographic area.

There are over 27,000 congregations consisting of almost 13,000,000 (million!) members. Every day at least one convert baptism takes place thanks to the help of over 53,000 missionaries.

As you watch this video, think of how fast the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing and what qualities and attributes a Church would have to have in order to be accepted by so many people in less than 180 years on this Earth.

This is…

…the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth… (D&C 1:30)

LDS Stake Growth 1830-2004

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=UUfLNbwOAGw]