What to do with those clearly not interested

Discuss questions around local unit policies for membership (creating records, transferring records, etc.) This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
krk22
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What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby krk22 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:59 pm

I live in a military ward in which we have nearly a complete turnover of membership ever three years or so. As such, a lot of time is spent trying to track down members who are clearly not active just to find out that they are clearly not interested in church activity.

I realize that we should always be making efforts to try and reactivate these people but quite frankly, they are a logistical nightmare. They move without telling anyone because they know no one and frankly don't want to know anyone in the church. They don't want the church to know their forwarding address.

Our ward is not offering them any support because they don't want any support. But yet, time, energy, and resources are periodically spend to try and track these people down and attempt reactivation (despite their repeated rejections of anything to do with the Church).

On one hand, you hear stories of miraculous reactivations. Obviously these are the exceptions. On the other hand, it is very inefficient to repeatedly, time and time again expend significant resources to track down one's new address only to find that they want nothing to do with the Church or for the next ward to begin the process all over again.

It seems to me to be a better, more efficient way to handle the membership records of these members. Any insights?

Is there any guidance from the handbooks? Should I send the records to the address unknown file? It seems weird to ask the person to recommend to people to have their names removed from the church records. All they want is to never be contacted again, not to do a bunch of paperwork in order to never be contacted again.

Anyway, any insights would be helpful.

russellhltn
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Re: What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby russellhltn » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:53 am

krk22 wrote:Should I send the records to the address unknown file?

That's not the end of it. The church will use various resources there to try and find the individual and send the record on to the next ward. So that doesn't necessarily break the cycle.

krk22 wrote:It seems weird to ask the person to recommend to people to have their names removed from the church records. All they want is to never be contacted again, not to do a bunch of paperwork in order to never be contacted again.

They did paperwork to join, they need to do paperwork to leave. The idea of paperwork shouldn't be a foreign to anyone in the military. <grin>

krk22 wrote:All they want is to never be contacted again

I'm at a loss to think of any organization who allows someone to be a member, but to never contact them. If they're a member - expect to be contacted. HB1 16:14 covers how to leave.
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gregwanderson
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Re: What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby gregwanderson » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:34 am

To those who are disaffected, the reasons are usually confined to about a dozen common complaints. This is not the place to make a list, but let's just say one of the complaints is that "the church" acts too much like a global corporation, concerned with policies, paperwork, statistics and finances. Is the church run by MBAs and lawyers or by ministers of Christ?

If your approach to disaffected members reinforces a dedication to paperwork rather than an attitude of ministering then I ask you to simply stop. The members' disaffection is not your fault. That happened before they got into your ward. But it won't get better if all we seem to care about is more paperwork and statistics. I, for one, would be glad to let their membership information slip if, in exchange, I knew that the person saw me as a sincere minister.

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Re: What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby Gary_Miller » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:31 am

Having been a Clerk for a ward that was 95% military I will try and give you some insight to what may help you with your Clerk duties. First you must remember you the clerk so you sole responsibility is to handle the administrative affairs of the ward more than the ministrative affairs. There are other people assigned to minister to the members as well as help you in your administrative duties by providing important information such as contact information and move in/move out information. Those people are the other members of the Ward Council and the HT/VT's. Those people will be key to helping you keep the membership information current.

The one thing I learned as a Military Ward Clerk was that the membership records are never 100% accurate do to the high turn over rate in the ward. All you can do as the Clerk is to "Do Your Best" relying on the other members of the Ward Council to help you.

krk22 wrote:As such, a lot of time is spent trying to track down members who are clearly not active just to find out that they are clearly not interested in church activity.

As a clerk this is not your responsibility. This is the responsibility of the Priesthood and RS organizations that is what HT and VT is all about.

krk22 wrote:I realize that we should always be making efforts to try and reactivate these people but quite frankly, they are a logistical nightmare. They move without telling anyone because they know no one and frankly don't want to know anyone in the church. They don't want the church to know their forwarding address.

As a clerk this is not your responsibility. This is the responsibility of the Priesthood and RS organizations that is what HT and VT is all about.

An while they may appear to not want anything to do physically with the church I think you will find out that most of these members have the church listed as the religious preference on their military records and Dog Tags.

krk22 wrote:Our ward is not offering them any support because they don't want any support. But yet, time, energy, and resources are periodically spend to try and track these people down and attempt reactivation (despite their repeated rejections of anything to do with the Church).

This is what HT and VT is all about. The Handbook states that every member should be assigned Home Teachers not just those who are active and while some may not want visits they still need assigned Home Teachers.

krk22 wrote:On the other hand, it is very inefficient to repeatedly, time and time again expend significant resources to track down one's new address only to find that they want nothing to do with the Church or for the next ward to begin the process all over again.


The only thing that comes to mind is Luke 15:3 - 7.

3 ¶And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine ain the wilderness, and go after that which is blost, until he find it?

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

7 I say unto you, that likewise ajoy shall be in heaven over one bsinner that crepenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.


krk22 wrote:It seems to me to be a better, more efficient way to handle the membership records of these members. Any insights?

While its seems a never ending task in a Military Ward there are some things to keep in mind that will help you.

1st, you have the advantage of the military being a close society. A Military Ward usually only encompasses the military base and housing units and Single people live in dormitories. So it really easy to keep track of each other.

2nd, military members work together in units so take advantage of using active church members in a unit to help keep track of less active members in a unit. Its also much easier to have contact and be a friend without the less active member knowing your representing the church.

3rd, You can get a list of those on the base who are showing LDS or Mormon as their religious preference on their military records from the Base Chaplains Office. If you get one every quarter it may help you. This list will have every one on the base so it will show some people who are assigned to the base but not living in your ward. The Bishop or Stake President will probably have to be the ones to request this information.

krk22 wrote:Is there any guidance from the handbooks?

Yes there is. But the guidance is no different than for other ward. And you can contact the Military Relations Office at CHQ for further help.

krk22 wrote: Should I send the records to the address unknown file?

You should follow all the procedures and guidelines before sending a record to the unknown address.

krk22 wrote:It seems weird to ask the person to recommend to people to have their names removed from the church records. All they want is to never be contacted again, not to do a bunch of paperwork in order to never be contacted again.

This is an area for the Bishop and Stake President to decide what to do. The Handbook covers this procedure. But remember what I said above. Although they may not want to have contact many military members have the church on their military records as their religious preference.

I hope this helps you.

krk22
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Re: What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby krk22 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:51 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:I think you will find out that most of these members have the church listed as the religious preference on their military records and Dog Tags.


I know for a fact that is NOT true. Some, yes. Most, not even close. In several cases, another denomination is listed. The vast majority of the time no preference is listed.

The types of members I am referring to are the 25-35y/o deacons and such. People who never return phone calls because they don't want to talk to the Church, who won't offer a forwarding address because they don't want the Church to contact them, who will stand you up after agreeing to visits because they only agreed in order to not be rude over the phone, then never answer their phone again because they know it is someone from the Church. People who clearly don't want to be associated with the Church and who would wonder why they need to write a letter when the Church could simply "stop calling" or "leave them alone" instead.

They are basicaly the equivalent of a non-member; no interest in the Church. It seems like it would be best served to send the records to SLC and focus efforts, that would otherwise be expended on tracking these sorts of people down time and time again, on those individuals who actualy welcome the Church (or at least not adverse to it) and are working towards making and keeping covenants or who are traveling through a stormy time in their lives.

I am simply wondering if there is a better way of doing things. Usually aren't going to receive revelation unless one asks the right questions! I'm just inquiring and hoping that my question is a good one!

krk22
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Re: What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby krk22 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:55 pm

BTW, I am not the only one expending efforts. It is a team/ward effort. So, it is not just me expending significant efforts but the entire ward that is.

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Re: What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby lajackson » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:45 pm

krk22 wrote:I am simply wondering if there is a better way of doing things. Usually aren't going to receive revelation unless one asks the right questions! I'm just inquiring and hoping that my question is a good one!

Your question is an excellent one and often asked.

I know of no better way of doing things than what Nephi recorded the Savior as saying, ". . . for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them." (3 Nephi 18:32)

This is why the membership records should remain where the member lives, and why the bishop earns great blessings for using mighty discernment to determine how best to guide the ward in serving those who do not seem to wish to be served.

jasonfitt
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Re: What to do with those clearly not interested

Postby jasonfitt » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:04 pm

I agree with lajackson, and immediately thought of 3 Nephi 18:32. Never give up on them because you never know when they'll come back. We recently had a member who previously did not want contact from the church, suddenly show up and paid tithing. Now we are in regular contact with him and working with him on full fellow ship. It is well worth expending efforts on them.


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