On February 28, 2019, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at the Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting. He suggested three things ward leaders can do to help members in temple and family history callings be more comfortable and effective.
- Clarify the ward’s leadership pattern for temple and family history work.
- Create a ward temple and family history plan.
- Hold ward temple and family history coordination meetings.
Clarifying Your Ward’s Temple and Family History Leadership Pattern
Ward leaders should choose a pattern for how temple and family history consultants communicate with their leaders. This pattern shows consultants who to communicate with when receiving assignments, reporting efforts, and asking for help.
Elder Renlund said that in the ideal leadership pattern, a “consultant reports to the ward temple and family history leader, who works closely with the elders quorum presidency, who supervises the work under the direction of the bishop.”
“To deviate from this standard leadership pattern requires a good reason, concurrence of the stake president, and confirmation by the Holy Ghost,” Elder Renlund said.
Elder Renlund offered three alternatives for when the ideal pattern isn’t possible—such as when a ward may not have a temple and family history leader. In such cases, a consultant may report to one of the following:
- A counselor in the elders quorum presidency
- The elders quorum president
- Directly to the bishop
Elder Renlund encouraged ward leaders to pick one of these patterns and follow it. “Don’t keep it a secret!” he said. The leadership pattern should be clear and easy for everyone to understand.
Creating a Ward Plan and Holding Coordination Meetings
Elder Renlund then talked to leaders about the importance of creating a temple and family history plan and holding coordination meetings. The ward council is responsible for creating the plan, which would be approved by the bishop. It could focus on any number of things, including the following:
- Involving 10- and 11-year-old children in family history work.
- Helping youth and new converts obtain limited-use recommends to attend the temple.
- Encouraging members to enter at least four generations of their family tree on FamilySearch.org.
- Inspiring members to attend the temple more often without establishing a quota or reporting system for temple attendance.
When coordination meetings are held, the ward temple and family history leader would conduct the meeting. Ward consultants would attend, along with a counselor from both the Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies. On occasion, the ward and full-time missionaries could be invited.
Elder Renlund cautioned, “The goal is not to hold a meeting. The goal is to coordinate temple and family history work. Text messages, emails, and phone calls can oftentimes accomplish the needed coordination.”
An Invitation to Act
In closing, Elder Renlund reminded leaders of his three invitations. “Please clarify leadership patterns for ward temple and family history consultants,” he said. “Implement ward temple and family history coordination meetings and ward temple and family history plans. As you do, the Lord will hasten His work on both sides of the veil, and you will be blessed in the process!”