Alright, so here's something I'm pitching to my bishop this weekend. You can tell me what you think. Be brutal, if you wish.
Since my bishop has tried several times to call what would be the equivalent of an activities committee chairperson (we've held him off of it so far, but he's been bringing it up again), I'm proposing to him instead to assign an 'Activities Consultant.' The consultant would do the following:
- Coordinate communication between the activities specialists and committees in each organization (eg, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, etc)
- With input from the organization activity specialists, recommend individuals in the ward to serve as temporary committees for planning and executing ward activities. A committees should be approved no later than two months prior to the committee's first activity.
- With input from the organization activity specialists, make recommendations to the ward council about frequency of activities, types of activities, and scheduling of activities. Recommendations should be given to the ward council by October for the following year.
- Coordinate changes to activity plans and scheduling with the temporary committees and organization activity specialists
- Keep inventory of activity supplies and ensures that organization activity specialists and temporary committees have access to needed supplies
- Ensure that temporary committees are recognized for their efforts after each ward activity
- Advise temporary committees on execution of activities (eg, recruiting enough people to help with set up and clean up)
Notice that the activities consultant does not plan or execute activities directly, but creates the opportunity for those selected for the temporary committees to plan successful activities. I feel that this is more in the spirit of the new guidelines, but still provides the temporary committees with a resource to discuss the common logistical questions (thus, preventing duplication of efforts).
Some other advantages:
- The ward council does not have to do the calendaring. However, they may make changes to the proposed calendar and/or approve the calendar.
- The ward council does not brainstorm activities, but they do give approval. They may make changes to activities in order to meet the ward's needs
- The ward council does not need to spend time naming and appointing temporary committees. They only need to approve recommendations. They may offer alternate names if they feel the recommended members should not be selected.
- The activities consultant need not be a full-time assignment. Hopefully, this calling can be managed in conjunction with another calling.
One last point of oddity--the activities consultant should report to (but not sit on) the ward council. This should be a position built to serve the ward council and not the bishopric (I hope that makes sense in more than just my head).
If we could get someone who understand the new paradigm for planning activities to fill this role, I'm hoping that they could help the ward council get into a rhythm of how to do this and eventually empower them to do it without the help of a consultant. Essentially, the consultant would just help make a transition a little easier. (unfortunately, this comes with the risk of making the ward council dependent on a consultant).
The executive secretary in my ward has already stated that this feels like rewriting the handbook--and I agree with him. The idea is trying to walk a really fine line between the old and new ways. Admittedly, I'd rather not do it. I'm just wondering if it isn't worth a shot since the bishop keeps wanting to revert to the old way.