Church Calling Application

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
Steven M. Falagrady-p40
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Church Calling Application

Postby Steven M. Falagrady-p40 » Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:51 pm

Thank-you, I am interested in an application that could streamline part of the chruch calling decision process.

The program could have the following elements/interface:

What if capabilities
Ability to drag and drop users into proposed callings
Realtime alerts indicating a position is vacant as a result of dragging and dropping a member to another calling.
Ability to indicate how many callings members may have
Ability to tag comments to a member's name (e.g. "member works on Wednesday nights")

Thank-you,
Steve

mattprasmussen
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Postby mattprasmussen » Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:38 am

Realizing this will sound offensive and paternalistic, it is not meant that way so please accept this with good intentions. You've left out the single most important aspect of callings: relying on the Spirit. The Bishop doesn't make a calling, the Lord does. Without a confirmation of the Spirit in determining who to call, you're cutting out the Lord's will to give any input.

Acknowledging that you may have intentionally asked only about requirements of a computer program, most of these can be done in MLS. It can track abilities, show which callings are unfilled, and provide lists of members without callings. It's just not drag and drop.

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:28 pm

I think the request fits in with the "study it out" part of the calling process, and searching for a way to make that process more effective or streamlined.

Certainly MLS could eventually develop a better way to show ward organization by callings that would eventually include "what if" modeling a la ward boundary realignment. That modeling might even become drag-and-drop, possibly akin to draging around calendar appointments in Outlook, Google, Yahoo, or MobileMe calendar programs.

Having said that, there are some other potential barriers to this kind of software.

1. Assuming that this functionality would somehow be incorporated into MLS, for this to be practical, one would
A. need to convene such "what if" meetings around a computer, or
B. have MLS loaded on a laptop, and have that laptop present in bishopric meeting, or
C. have to push the local MLS database into the Internet "cloud" by mirgrating all of its features into a future version of the LUWS on steroids, thereby creating the possibility of access via iPhone or other wireless Internet device.

That type of "what if" modelling is like asking for youtube.com functionality from an original 1984 Macintosh computer. It might be technically concievable, but there is a lot of work and progress to be made in several areas before it becomes feasible.

2. A more minor pitfall is needing to have members with multiple callings. I know it is discouraged, but it is necessary sometimes. For example, a ward organist, can still play the organ for sacrament meeting and still serve as a Relief Society president (assuming said organist is female ;)). In other words, having someone serve in a new calling does not always preclude them from retaining the prior calling(s). Thus it would be difficult and unweildy (i.e. not simple) to code some logic that would "indicate how many callings members may have" while at the same time providing "Realtime alerts indicating a position is vacant as a result of dragging and dropping a member to another calling" as these are at cross purposes with each other.

aaron.mosiah.curtis
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Postby aaron.mosiah.curtis » Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:17 pm

Maybe Steven has something in mind like the current application for making missionary assignments. I found this description on the northtemple.com blog and think some of that functionality could be imported into MLS.

http://northtemple.com/2007/07/30/the-intersection-of-inspiration-and-innovation

(Re-posted by request.) One of the neat things about working for the Church is that every once in a while, you get to hear how the systems you help develop are used by the Church’s general authorities.

In March 2007, the New Era magazine published an entire issue dedicated to helping young men and women prepare spiritually and practically to serve a mission for the Church. One of the articles describes how a prospective missionary can fill out the required paperwork, using a web application developed and deployed in the past few years.

A sidebar in the same article describes how Elder Henry B. Eyring records new missionary assignments as given to him by the Spirit:

"All my life, from the time I have been a young boy and as far back as I can remember, I have had experiences feeling of the Holy Ghost. … But I’ve never felt what I have felt as I have … participated in the assigning of missionaries. …

We go into a room, and … it will be a two-or three-hour session and sometimes longer. Because of technology, it is possible for us to have your picture and the information about you displayed. And then quickly, on that same screen, all the missions of the Church with all of their needs are displayed. Within minutes, and sometimes less than a minute, the impression comes so powerfully that it would be, if it were a single instance, something that you would never forget. Can you imagine sitting there for hours at a time, having that happen time after time without interruption? I testify to you that it is real. …

In a world so large, the Creator … somehow not only knows you but loves you enough to ensure that your call is where He needs you to go to teach the children of our Heavenly Father. "

Working on cool technology is one thing. Working on cool technology that’s used to further the work of the Lord is something else.

And knowing that the software you work on is being used by an apostle under inspired circumstances like this is priceless.

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borenmt
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Mission Transfers

Postby borenmt » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:09 am

I think the Church has done something similar for mission offices, in providing a virtual transfer board. Some major differences here, of course. Ward auxiliaries and quorums instead of districts & zones, no companionship requirements, lots more positions besides "AP, zone leader, and district leader", but a lot of the same functionality, including being able to model different scenarios.

But most wards are not faced with frequent sweeping changes like a mission has to handle every single month. There are some domino effects in wards in fast-growing areas like mine, when ward boundaries are re-aligned every year, and change more frequently. But overall, I'm not sure there is the bang for the buck for a scenario modeling tool in most wards...

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Postby JamesAnderson » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:28 am

Eventually there will be some middle ground between those that feel this would be too much, and those that feel that this idea would be too little, but I think we'll get there even if not in the short term with this or a similar idea.

That said, many wards do not have alot of turnover. However, here in Provo, I live in a stake that has a 40 percent turnover rate, so bishops are having to move people around on a regular basis due to vacancies that occur because someone has moved out. BYU wards are even more so with turnover, especially freshman wards where everything turns over each year, and many come and go with the semester end too mid-year.

That is why I feel we could have a 'happy medium' come out of this discussion, and there be at least something that is a little more interactive than the current MLS callings system. Having seen that in a HP group leadership setting, it could be bettert han it is now.

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Postby JasonJ75-p40 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:36 am

Just speaking from how our Bishopric works, incorporating this functionality into MLS will be DOA for the reasons jbh001 lists. Bishopric meetings don't happen in the Clerks' office, and if inspiration comes calling at 3:00a, the Bishop should be able to login and make changes.

There are three laptops open in our Bishopric meetings (all with web access), open a tool like this online and you have to beat us back with a stick. ;)

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Postby RossEvans » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:59 am

JasonJ75 wrote:There are three laptops open in our Bishopric meetings (all with web access), open a tool like this online and you have to beat us back with a stick. ;)


You'll be waiting a long time for any kind of web access to MLS. However, there are third-party applications driven by MLS exports that can run on your laptops. Some of those applications include functionality for reporting on callngs. Or if you have database skills, you can write your own custom app for this purpose.

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charly3358-p40
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Postby charly3358-p40 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:13 am

Matt_Rasmussen wrote:Realizing this will sound offensive and paternalistic, it is not meant that way so please accept this with good intentions. You've left out the single most important aspect of callings: relying on the Spirit. The Bishop doesn't make a calling, the Lord does. Without a confirmation of the Spirit in determining who to call, you're cutting out the Lord's will to give any input.

Acknowledging that you may have intentionally asked only about requirements of a computer program, most of these can be done in MLS. It can track abilities, show which callings are unfilled, and provide lists of members without callings. It's just not drag and drop.


Although the above is technically correct, remember that most callings start with a recommendation by an auxiliary president or other person. If it was only the Bishop initializing callings then only 10 or so people would have then.

So if MLS had these extra tools it would actually make the Bishopric's job easier when people are recommended for callings, ie when a recommendation comes from an auxiliary and from Stake. Currently we can list organisations as a 'callings' sheet so we only need to expand this to add database capacity to it ie missing fields, doubling, etc.
Charlie :confused:

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dtaylor26-p40
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Don't forget the Scouts!

Postby dtaylor26-p40 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:45 pm

Without addressing the data flow of a Church calling through the Spirit, there's one point that would be extremely helpful- a checkpoint to follow up on the registration of Scout oriented leaders with the Boy Scouts of America. As part of that, making sure the background check performed by the local council would be a nice pre-requisite, unless it's beneficial to call the Assistant Scoutmaster and then find out 2 weeks later he's a convicted offender. :) ).

I don't know what other outside entities that might need to be included- I'm not aware of similar issues with other ward/stake organizations.

I realize that this isn't a do or die project requirement, but in my Scout work, I've noticed most wards (in Northern Utah) are pretty sloppy at keeping Scout records current. This little check would be handy.

And amen to wanting this to be web-based!


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