Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Discussions about the Leader and Clerk Resources on lds.org.
bgraul
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Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby bgraul » Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:44 pm

Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

This is a suggestion for development of additional online functions in LCR that will allow leaders responsible for staffing to manage and track staffing and priesthood advancement processes.

For example, as outlined in the calling chart in HB2, section 19, nominees for stake-level callings are selected by the stake president, his counselors, or the stake auxiliary presidencies. Additionally, some unit level callings are also managed at the stake level, like selection of new bishops (with approval of the First Presidency), branch presidents, high priests group leaders, and elders quorum presidents. etc.

Approval processes vary as outlined in HB2, but generally callings are approved by the stake presidency, then by the high council, and then the assignment to extend the call to the candidate and the release to the incumbent is given to the stake president, one of his counselors, or a member of the high council.

When the calls and releases are extended, the names of those to be released or called are sustained in unit sacrament or quorum meetings, or read in all units throughout the stake, or at stake conference, or not at all as outlined in HB2.

Once sustained, the newly called persons are set apart as outlined in HB2, and the stake or unit clerk records the calling changes in LCR as appropriate.

In summary, managing staffing, in spite of the fact that it is mostly (but not entirely) outlined in HB2, is a very complicated process with many variables, and requires coordination with an army of people to complete.

The above is just an example at the stake level, but what is needed at all levels of the church from the First Presidency down to the branch level--wherever staffing decisions are made, approved, assigned, sustained, set apart, and recorded--is a system to integrate the staffing process and exploit all of the resources already in place in LCR to automate and enhance the management of these processes.

As a concept, imagine a system for selection and tracking of candidates for callings separate from the organization database. The records of persons nominated for callings could be associated as candidates for those callings, recorded in this system, and tracked through the selection and approval process, until the person is sustained and set apart. Pertinent records information for the member can be displayed at stake presidency and high council meetings as the names are discussed and approved. Assignments could then be emailed to members of the stake presidency and high council to extend releases and callings, and to sustain individuals. Additional functionality could be added to generate unit or stake sustaining lists as required, and allow for these lists to be sent to those conducting the sustainings, whether they be stake leaders or units throughout the stake. Then once the callings are sustained and the person set apart, a click of a button releases the incumbent and records the calling of the new candidate.

Similar functionality could be developed to manage priesthood advancements (to Elder or High Priest), as well.

Functions such as these will relieve much of the administrative burden placed upon stake and unit leaders and clerks, and allow them to get home to their families faster than otherwise, as well as make the calling and advancement processes much more efficient and less error prone. I say this as a matter of experience because I am a Stake Clerk, and in our stake we have a Microsoft Access application at the stake level that we use to manage callings and priesthood advancements (see screen shots, attached). At any given time I may have 30 to 40 stake and unit level callings and 1 to 5 priesthood advancements to keep track of. Having this tool helps me maintain my sanity.

The main problem with our system is that I need to regularly run a custom report from MLS and import it into the database to keep the membership and calling information current. With MLS migrating into LDS.org and LCR, I can see the writing on the wall and know that someday I will no longer be able to generate custom reports from the records because MLS will no longer exist. Before that happens, I would like to see if the church can develop most of the same functionality into LCR and make it available to the entire church.

I have been developing an tweaking our system for over three years. I have some idea of the level of effort and thought that will need to go into the development of an LCR function such as this. I am a Microsoft Access database developer, not a web developer. However, I am very familiar with the processes, as I have developed our system to support and automate those processes. Our system is not perfect, but perhaps at least some of the processes I have automated may help church developers much more qualified than I am, using our system as a starting point and springboard to develop a better web-based and live record linked system that will enable church leaders throughout the world to be blessed with a few less headaches and more time with their families as more of the administrivia becomes easier to manage.

Benjamin C. Graul
O'Fallon Illinois Stake Clerk
oflmemclerk@gmail.com
Last edited by scgallafent on Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Remove attachment with personal information

drepouille
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby drepouille » Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:33 am

bgraul wrote:Similar functionality could be developed to manage priesthood advancements (to Elder or High Priest), as well.

You probably are already aware that priesthood advancement is already tracked and managed via LCR here:
https://www.lds.org/mls/mbr/records/ordinances/priesthood
When the bishop submits a Melchizedek priesthood advancement to the stake, the stake president is notified. In my stake, all such stake interviews are assigned to counselors in the stake presidency. Once approved, they are sustained by the high council, and assigned to a high councilor to complete the sustaining and ordination in the ward. I agree with you that LCR does not help us track every step along the way in this process.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

scgallafent
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby scgallafent » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:41 am

I have removed the attachment you included with your message. It included extensive personal information. Please remember that this is a public forum and anything posted here is publicly accessible.

We are aware of the work involved in tracking priesthood advancements and calling workflow. As drepouille pointed out, there is already some very basic support for coordinating Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations between the ward and the stake. Yes, there is obviously more that could be done there.

The decision of if and when additional features will be added rests with the councils responsible for these applications.

bgraul
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby bgraul » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:04 am

scgallafent, I appreciate your concern regarding my attachment and your care to remove it. As I reviewed it again, I found only one birthday displayed on the slides, so I initially could not see how that qualified as "extensive personal information". Additionally, the rest of the information shown was information already available to the public, like address, age, gender, and phone number. I also didn't consider priesthood office, callings held, or recommend status (especially since I ensured all examples were from current recommend holders) as sensitive information either, and since a person needs to log in to the church web site to get into this forum, I considered this to be a church private forum, rather than publicly accessible. However I now see I could have been more careful to redact some of the details presented, and in my defense, it was late, and I was not thinking straight, and I was only trying to illustrate the types of information our program can present to leaders in the church authorized to see that information.

I have sent a number of emails over to the church regarding this subject through MLS over the last two years and have received no response or acknowledgement. So, you may be "aware of the work involved in tracking priesthood advancements and calling workflow" but I am not. I am aware of the rudimentary functions recently added (greatly appreciated) to electronically manage priesthood advancement forms between leaders, but that function does not track or assist with the full workflow process between nomination and recording the ordinance.

In my ignorance of proper procedure I had hoped by presenting this information here, in what I considered to be a church private forum on the subject, that this was where we submit suggestions like this. If there is a better way of getting suggestions like this in front of decision makers and developers in "the councils responsible for these applications" please advise.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Ben Graul
oflmemclerk@gmail.com

eblood66
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby eblood66 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:30 am

bgraul wrote:since a person needs to log in to the church web site to get into this forum, I considered this to be a church private forum, rather than publicly accessible.

This forum is visible to everyone without logging in. In addition, non-members can get an LDS Account and log in to the forums to post as well. So this is definitely not a church private forum and it is completely publicly accessible.

drepouille
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby drepouille » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:33 am

bgraul wrote:Additionally, the rest of the information shown was information already available to the public, like address, age, gender, and phone number. I also didn't consider priesthood office, callings held, or recommend status (especially since I ensured all examples were from current recommend holders) as sensitive information either

While addresses are somewhat public, age, gender, and phone number are private information. While callings are visible to all members in the directory, priesthood office and recommend status are private information, visible only to leaders.

I have sent a number of emails over to the church regarding this subject through MLS over the last two years and have received no response or acknowledgement.

Not surprising.

In my ignorance of proper procedure I had hoped by presenting this information here, in what I considered to be a church private forum on the subject, that this was where we submit suggestions like this. If there is a better way of getting suggestions like this in front of decision makers and developers in "the councils responsible for these applications" please advise.

Have you submitted feedback using the Feedback link on any LCR page?
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

bgraul
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby bgraul » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:23 pm

Okay, point taken. I really thought I had expressed in my last post that I had learned my lesson on what private/sensitive information is here, so can we please move past that and move on to my main reason for posting in the first place? The need for leaders to have calling and advancement management functions in LCR? Where to submit this suggestion to the proper channels? I am just trying to help. I feel strongly that adding this functionality to LCR will be of great benefit to the entire church.

eblood66
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby eblood66 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:05 pm

bgraul wrote:Where to submit this suggestion to the proper channels? I am just trying to help. I feel strongly that adding this functionality to LCR will be of great benefit to the entire church.

There are really only two mechanisms available. First, you can use the Feedback link in LCR. Second, you try to go up the priesthood authority chain by talking to your Stake President and asking him to talk to his priesthood leader who can take it to the appropriate general authorities who make these decisions.

russellhltn
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:05 pm

bgraul wrote:and move on to my main reason for posting in the first place? The need for leaders to have calling and advancement management functions in LCR? Where to submit this suggestion to the proper channels?

You can submit the suggestion via the Feedback link in LCR.

Just don't hold your breath. It's a very small crew of developers and they work according to the direction and priorities set by the Priesthood Department. This includes projects that we probably don't see and are entirely internal to various church departments. There's a number of functions still being moved from MLS to LCR, so that project is incomplete. Unless it's already in the pipeline, it's probably years away.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

bgraul
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Re: Church Leaders Need a Staffing and Priesthood Advancement Management Function in LCR

Postby bgraul » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:53 pm

I understand it may take a while as they likely have a schedule and work priorites. Does anyone know if there is a preferred submission format (or form) to submit suggestions like this that is optimized for the way they work? I am also thinking of submitting process flowcharts from my program documentation.


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