Friday, October 26, 2012

President's Weekly Letter I Forgot Part II

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission



Much has been asked and said over the past months about how we should count key indicators of missionary work in the Mission.  The weekly reports need to be accurate so that we can see trend lines, problem areas, weaknesses and strengths.  In addition, the reports are sent to the Europe Area and to the Missionary Department for others to glean from the reports what leadership emphasis is prudent.  It is critical that the Belgium Netherlands Mission has all companionships reporting numbers on the same bases so we are seeing and interrupting reality.

The key indicators that do not appear to be difficult to count are:
·      Converts baptized and confirmed
·      Investigators (progressing or other) who attend sacrament meeting
·      Lessons taught to investigators with a member present
·      Referrals received and contacted

For the above and other key indicators, the Belgium Netherlands Mission will adhere to the following enhanced descriptions and counting methods plus descriptions which are contained in PMG Chapter 8:

Lesson.  A lesson includes the teaching of one or more gospel principles from the lessons, an opening and closing prayer and invitations to make commitments.  This is clear to understand and count.  If, however, there are unusual circumstances with what and how lessons are taught as described above but are consistent with the spirit and intent described above, then count it as a lesson if you feel good about it.  This should probably be an infrequent exception, however.

Progressing Investigators.  The total number of investigators who have been taught two or more lessons and are keeping commitments such as to pray, read from the Book of Mormon, attend church and prepare for baptism and confirmation.  This can be open to various interpretations, but the spirit of the rule is to count people who are legitimately progressing toward baptism on an upcoming date.  You know who they are.  Others are counted as new investigators or other investigators.  People may move from one list to another.

Following the above descriptions will quickly add uniformity to our reporting methods of the other key indicators for conversion:
·      Investigators with a baptismal date
·      Other lessons taught
·      Progressing investigators
·      New or other investigators
·      Lessons taught to recent converts and less-active members

The weekly numbers you report are normally not of great value to me.  They vary greatly from week to week and are only a snapshot in time for each companionship.  The cumulative record of the reported weekly numbers is very valuable to me because trend lines can be seen and action taken to help missionaries improve performance.

I recently visited with a middle aged man from America who was visiting a Nederlands Ward.  He said he turned down the Lord’s call for him to serve as an Assistant in the Mission.  He stated he was very close to breaking the all-time record of discussions taught in his mission.  He feared being an Assistant would distract his time from teaching and he might miss out setting a new record which was his goal.  I didn’t tell him this but I think he was completely missing the mark.

We are inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through…baptism...  In my opinion the most important number reported is “Progressing investigators” (with a baptismal date).   Theoretically, the larger this pool is, the better your chances are of baptizing.  Realistically, you will probably be tapped out if you have 3-5 progressing investigators who are making real progress.  You would be spending all your time preparing lessons, daily visits, teaching every other day and keep up finding to replace them after baptism. The odds of baptizing someone are a long shot unless they are on your list of progressing investigators.  It would be a shame to be emotionally connected to all the numbers we report weekly to where it distracts us from real success.  My council is to report your numbers accurately, but spend your time and emotion moving people in to fill the 3-5 real good progressing investigators and then do the work to move them along.  I do not want us doing a research project over the counting of various indicators.

Elders and Sisters, since many concerns have been raised, I have attempted to address the questions.  We are engaged in growing a new stake by baptizing or reactivating 450 people.  Since this Operation was announced on September 19, 2012, we have baptized 14, with 436 to go.  Keep up the great work.

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