Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Counsel with your councils
A few years ago on my mission I learned a valuable lesson from my companion regarding ward counsels, and any counsel for that matter. At the time we were serving in a ward that had an average attendance of around 20-30 members each Sunday. The total number of members was over 200 so there was definitely a lot of things to be focused on in this ward. As missionaries we were invited to attend ward council. Most of the meeting was characterized by different leaders identifying problems and concerns in the ward. This seemed normal to me, because if we didn't know what the problems were then how could we fix anything, and this is how ward council is supposed to be. However after the meeting my companion was frustrated with how the meeting went. He made the observation that a lot of talking and even complaining had been done, but that no solutions had been discussed or proposed. At that point I realized he was right. For over an hour we had gathered together as leaders of that ward and just fed off each others complaining. We had vented and consoled each other, but had done very little to make plans to fix the problem. My companion and I committed ourselves individually from that point on that when we brought up any concern, we would make it a point to open it up for specific solutions to the problem, and also have some ideas ourselves. The next ward council meeting we went to was much better. The members needed someone to show them how to be more concerned about finding solutions through council rather having a group therapy session centered on self-pity. This was a very powerful lesson my companion taught me that I hope I can incorporate in the way Elder Ballard taught in his talks, Strength in Counsel and Counseling with our Councils.