Sunday, December 6, 2015

LeaderSHOP for Saints

By Rodger Dean Duncan

The LeaderSHOP for Saints we organized and produced for the Waco Stake was a rousing success. More than 250 ward and branch leaders attended the event on Saturday.

We started with an opening talk by me, then separated into eight break-out groups that focused on performance issues of particular importance to the organization (Young Women, Relief Society, Primary, etc.).

This was my last talk in the Waco Stake where we've gained
many treasured friendships and cherished memories.
My talk emphasized serving by covenant rather than merely by assignment.

Here's one story I told:

In 1979 my friend Ardeth Kapp (who was then the General Young Women President in the Church) attended the cornerstone ceremony at the Jordan River Temple. She arrived a bit late and was unable to take the seat that had been saved for her near the front. So she stood back in the crowd. 

Most of the people around her were taller than she, so she could see little more than backs and elbows. But then she noticed something wonderful. Off to the side she could see some men in dark suits and white shirts and ties

pouring sand and cement and water into a wheelbarrow and mixing up the mortar. Then as the speakers finished their addresses and it was time to lay the cornerstone, the men quietly took the mortar over to the corner and the ceremony began.

Ardeth realized she probably wouldn't remember many of the things that were said that day, but she would always remember that the mortar that those men almost anonymously mixed would serve to hold that cornerstone in place through the eternities.

When we have a choice, how often are we willing to mix the mortar? How often are we willing to serve anonymously to render quiet acts of love and service ... the simple notes of gratitude and appreciation, the phone calls, the visits that are unassigned and very low profile? These quiet acts of loving service are the mortar that can hold lives together. It's often in the supporting roles that we can offer the most magnificent performances.

Do we serve only by assignment, or do we serve by covenant?

Our friend and mission president Rodney Ames taught the break-out
session for bishops, mission leaders and ward missionaries. As always,
his instruction was first rate.
After my talk we formed break-out groups throughout the stake center. These sessions were 90 minutes.

The stake president spoke at the closing session and emphasized the importance of quality teaching.

The entire event was only 2.5 hours in length, beginning at 8:30 AM and adjourning at 11:00 AM. This gave participants plenty of time for the rest of their Saturday.

When we proposed this event to the stake presidency several months ago they immediately put it on the stake calendar to accommodate our release date. This LeaderSHOP replaced another training event that was originally scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.

To prepare for the LeaderSHOP, we coached the stake council on their responsibilities, then delivered a train-the-trainer workshop for those selected to leader the break-out sessions. Most presenters were members of ward councils who are qualified to teach with credibility on best practices. The result was eight truly excellent break-out sessions. All the trainers were exceptionally well-prepared and participation was lively and engaging.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to produce this event for the Waco Stake. We're confident it will have a positive impact here for a long time to come.

A Savior is Born

The Church has produced another glorious series of Christmas videos. These are already going viral on the Internet. Click here to take a look.

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