Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sacrament Meeting Suggestions Box

I had an epiphany after sitting through sacrament meeting today. We ought to have a suggestions/comments box outside the chapel. Just keep little comment cards next to the tithing envelops or something. Either way, don't you think there ought to be a way to give feedback? Don't you think those participating in the meetings would also appreciate a little feedback, or perhaps simple "thank you notes"? Sometimes I get an idea or suggestion and it's nice just to be heard. Suggestions could range from "we need more hymnals in the back of the chapel so we can all sing back there" to "Loved so and so's talk about _______. The Spirit really pricked my heart!"

And then there are days like today where I would perhaps want to leave anonymous feedback about how the tone of the meeting left something to be desired. The speaker went into lecture mode about how there were certain people who had committed to do a certain project and not a single one did it, and she ended up doing it herself, followed by a lecture about being on time to our meetings. (We just switched to having sacrament last--something that as a father with young kids I do not prefer). She also lectured us about how there was a world-wide satellite broadcast featuring the "new" prophet and "between two wards only 43, I counted, only 43 people showed up". (Another comment card suggestion--Put important announcements in the bulletin!) I don't think I'm the only one who doesn't respond well to negativity. I think it actually tends to have an adverse effect and pushes people further away.

There needs to be true love expressed--not a guilt trip. And I don't mean to dwell on the negative because I don't want to be a hypocrite. But as I left the meeting today I felt a little bit disappointed and sad--not just for me--but for anyone not of our faith who happened to be there today. I think they would have come across with the wrong impression of what we expect our meetings to be: Christ-centered and filled with the Spirit. If a suggestions box doesn't seem practical, perhaps a simple survey from time to time would suffice. "Strongly agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly disagree: I was edified as a result of my experience in this meeting today".

That ought to be the number one question, because the goal is "he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together" (Doctrine & Covenants 50:22).


H-less E-less said...

Would you have the boxes moderated by the bishopric? Or, to make it really interesting you could have the RS Presidency do it. :) Oh' I love it!
In a world where no offense is given or taken,no jealousies, no inadequacies, no pride, a place where we all could actually handle the truth while only trying to help each other in zion, this might go over well.

But for now, since we are all still fighting the natural man, I suppose we're set for a lifetime of creatively finding ways to get SOMETHING out of EVERY meeting. My fall back on principles that can be thought of in nearly every meeting are Charity and Patience.

I wish you could teach all my gospel lessons because I know you sincerely strive to teach with love and by the spirit. Yet, maybe I wouldn't learn all I needed to from that. Somehow, we can still learn the perfect plan of the gospel through imperfect presentors. I think that's something of a wonder in a world where theologically trained, full time professionals single handedly present scripted sermons week after week, having only one voice represent their church. We as Latter Day Saints hope to always have the voice of the spirit teach, but allow and even invite all people- of any education, background, profession, or "rank" in the church- to have their witness be heard. And through the voices of the saints, the truth is shared. Truly remarkable. Truly the Lord's way.

Hopefully investigators who come to church on those days when the spirit may not be as recognized to us, can realize that we ALL need the Gospel's help. And that sometimes, we can actually learn more about ourselves and heaven simply by how we respond to others, especially in their failings.

I know we're on the same page with this. But hey, you asked for a suggestion box right? You can put this in it. Thanks for letting me gather more of my thoughts here.

JAMIE COOK~ said...

I love was very "real" to me...Just telling it like it know I love that...
My least favorite, you already know is " I was oging to go on a mission, but then I WAS TOLD NOT TO GO, I was suppose to get married." Here is a suggestion--YOU DECIDE what you want to do...

Ok, after that little sounds like your sacrament was "special" today. I have heard other fun things about the ward and politics...I love it, it makes me laugh.

Here is another suggestion for the box...WHY DOES EVERYONE SIT IN THE SAME SEAT EVERY SUNDAY? Tell me that one please. This happened on my mission as I brought an "investigator" and apparently "sat in someone's seat" long story short, they never came to church again.

I tend to sit, however, at the end of the isle ever week. Easy access to the doors as Andy gets fussy sometimes. So, i get that I guess.

Sally said...

My goodness, Spencer, that was a "special" meeting today! I happened to be sitting in front of the missionaries with two nice investigators that were with them. After one of the speaker's comments, the investigator said, "That's not right!" Then a couple minutes later, they up and left. I felt soooo bad!

But more than that, I felt such sadness for the youth, since that was who the tongue lashing was mainly geared towards. I ran up to as many young women as I could after the meeting to tell them I love them, and that they're great girls, and that they shine with light. They really appreciated it, after the lecture they had gotten in front of the WHOLE WARD!!!

What an opportunity this speaker had to share with the ward her love and admiration for the youth--to build them up! But by the time she got around to expressing her love, she had lost them with all the negativity. AUGHH!

I guess you're right, Sara. In the world of "Finding the Principle," I guess the best I could do today was learn from her mistake and remember how important LOVE is rather than REBUKE.

Meanwhile, Brad has to see her tomorrow in a professional setting, and he's scared to death that she'll ask him how her talk was!

Thanks for letting me vent! Although now I don't have anything to say on my blog! Yes, I was going to blog about it, too!

NM said...

Ouch...I think.

While it is never a nice thing to be at the receiving end of rebuke - the rebuker must have felt a sense of comfortable-ness to honestly express what she expressed =)

At work, when I have a client who shares with me what they really think about me - I take it as a compliment (I think). It generally means they feel safe enough to say what they want to say, knowing they're accepted anyway =)

Would it have been possible for this lecturer to say what she said in a different forum? Instead of addressing the whole congregation, could she have approached specific individuals or something? That's what I'd put into the suggestion box =P

I really like this post by the way =)

Kelli W. said...

I'm afraid of the suggestion box concept because it would probably be full of little cards complaining about the Wilkinson boys distracting them! And could you please ask the Wilkinson family to sit in the WAY back for now on! I'd actually be happy to sit in the way back, but like Jaime said, that row is always taken!

Clean Cut said...

Hilarious! I'm loving these "suggestions". :)

CarolinaDreamz said...

I love this idea. It needs to be posted to a bulletin board so we all can learn from it and/or be praised.

maybe each ward could use a blog to handle this, too..

what a shame to run off investigators..

a few months ago, I was quite disgusted to be yelled at, by our bishop, for something that we may not have done.. the problem stemmed from a joint ward event..

it was also a very trivial situation, too.. and I think his words were too harsh..

It didn't help, though, that a member of the Stake council was there and stood up and praised it as a father chastising his children.. *sigh*

We need to remember that Sacrament meeting is open to the public and its not the time to air our dirty laundry.

Interesting, this same bishop once yelled at me, incorrectly, for airing ward dirty laundry to the stake level.. hmmmm

I do mean "yell" too.. which doesn't have much P/H use, IMHO, either.

great post and observation..

Clean Cut said...

I suppose that quote I love is applicable here: The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of Saints.