May 25, 2012

Developing Job Skills via LDS Church Callings

I've been thinking recently about callings in my church. We have a lay clergy and all assignments (teaching, leading music, planning activities, etc.) are filled by church members without pay. We believe that these assignments are given through inspiration and revelation from God. These opportunities to serve and to lead have been a blessing in my life, not just spiritually, but temporally, as well. I'd like to share two examples of how my church callings have blessed me in helping me develop skills I can apply in my profession.

Story #1

During my last campaign, I spoke at a town hall meeting and delivered a statement on behalf of my candidate. I was terrified before the meeting and wondered, "When was the last time I even spoke in public??" Only then did I realize that MOST of my "public" speaking opportunities have been church-related. (Where else, besides the LDS church, do you start developing public-speaking skills as early as age 3? I went to the event, and the speaking went better than I'd expected.

During Sunday School the next day, we discussed a passage in the Book of Mormon about magnifying (or fulfilling) our callings. (Specifically, Jacob 1:19.) Someone made a comment about the temporal and spiritual blessings we receive for serving in church callings(See Mosiah 2:41), and then it hit me that DUH!!- I spent 18 MONTHS as a full-time LDS missionary SPEAKING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE EVERY DAY at the Oakland Temple Visitors' Center!!! 

A few of the amazing tours I was able to lead while serving as a missionary at the Oakland Temple Visitors' Center. 

How could I have forgotten? My mission meant so much to me spiritually and in terms of the people I met, that I often forget what a blessing it was to me temporally. I've never had any paid field experience on a campaign, but helllloooo: tracting for 18 months on a nearly daily basis? If that's not field experience, I don't know what is! Planning and prioritizing skills? Pretty sure I picked that up in our 30-minute nightly planning sessions every. single. day. PLUS 2-hour weekly planning sessions every week for 18 months. (Whether I still keep this up is a whole different question, but shoot, at least I know how to do it, right?) Speaking to large groups of strangers while holding people's attention and entertaining small children? Did that! And there's soooo much more!

Story #2

On Sunday, I participated in a meeting regarding Visiting Teaching. Visiting Teaching is an inspired program where companionships of two women are assigned to visit other women in the congregation every month. This is a way for us to check up on, help, serve, love, and spiritually uplift each other. This program has been especially meaningful to me while I've been far away from home, because I know there are people who care about me and will help me when I need it.

Our meeting yesterday dealt with the monthly reporting of visiting teaching. Every month, coordinators are assigned to follow up with small groups of women to gather reports on the sisters they each visited that month. Urgent needs are noted and taken care of, and the status of each lady is reported to church leaders. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of coordination, organization, and planning. Our Relief Society Presidency (the leadership of our church women's group) has decided to change the way we collect and submit reports by adding a technological component. (Thanks, Google!)

It hit me during our meeting that the work of collecting, maintaining, and reporting this information is very similar to much of the work on a campaign. My experiences as a visiting teaching district supervisor have helped me develop skills that I can apply as I continue to work in politics.

I know each calling we receive is inspired of God and will help us grow and develop in ways we never could have imagined. I've learned so much from every calling I've had in the church, and I'm grateful for each opportunity I've had to serve.

**For a bonus Story #3, read this amazing article.

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