Please Give Me Advice for a Calling I Don’t Want

After a few pleasantries, including how busy my life is, here’s the gist of a conversation with a counselor in the bishopric.

Counselor:  Brother, the reason why you are here is that we have prayed on our knees, and the bishop feels inspired to call you to be the building coordinator.  Now you don’t have to clean the building yourself.  You just need to set up a program so that the building gets cleaned every Saturday.  What do you think?

Me:  Honestly?  I think this is a crap calling.  I’ll do it, but I’m not excited one bit about it.  I hate it when people assign me to do the cleaning without asking me if I’m available.  I often work weekends, and my wife will help clean the buiding, because she has a supremely guilty conscience.

Counselor:  Well, that schedule is just a suggestion.  You can always ask to trade with someone else.

Me:  It’s a bad system.  I get it that you don’t want to have the same people doing it over and over, and that everyone should have the opportunity, but I hate being assigned.

Counselor:  Do you have a better suggestion?

Me:  Hire a janitor.  The Church makes $50 billion/year.  Hiring a janitor would be supremely easy and the Church can easily afford it.

Counselor:  But the prophet has asked that members clean the building.  Besides, we think this is a good way if you had people come from 2 different neighborhoods, they will get to know each other better.

Me:  If you want a suggestion for members to get to know each other, I’ve already given a suggestion to the bishop to have group dinners or a progressive dinner.  We’ve done that only once, maybe twice in 3 years.  That’s a better option.

Counselor:  Will you pray and see if God wants you to do this calling?

Me eyerolling:  Look, you have a need.  I get that.  I’ll do it, but I’m not the least bit excited about this calling.  But tell you what.  Can I make a deal with you?  How about I help start a family history class like we used to have.  Men should be anxiously engaged in a good calling and shouldn’t be commanded in all things.  I’d like to volunteer to get the family history class going again.  Deal?

Counselor:  We don’t have a room.

Me:  I’ll meet in the hall on the couch.  I don’t care.

Counselor:  Well, I’ll put it front and center with the bishop.  Will you pray about the calling?

Me: ok.

So, beloved brethren and sisters, what advice do you have for me to clean the building every Saturday, especially knowing that I often won’t be there? Apparently the last guy who lasted just about 2 months simply cleaned the building himself, because he hated asking for help.  (That’s why he is being released.)  Sign up sheets?  Simply assign people in the ward program announcements (which is how it worked before)?  I’m open to ideas.  What is the most pleasant way to ask/assign ward members to clean the building?


10 comments on “Please Give Me Advice for a Calling I Don’t Want

  1. The simple way to fix this problem is to do it the way our stake does. Each we rotate — for example — Elders in January, Young Women in February, Young Men in March, Relief Society in April…..

    That takes the burden off the building coordinator for cleaning and makes the leadership of each program “own” a bit of the cleaning responsibilities.

    Of course the building coordinator is also responsible for coordinating baptisms, weddings, funerals, sporting events and so forth that happen in the building. That could be handled on the LDS.org website and I suspect will be one day.

    All my best,



  2. I just had another question. Is this a man, errrr, priesthood calling? Every building coordinator I’ve known has been a man. Are there any women that hold this calling that anyone is aware of? Is this a safety issue about a woman’s safety, so she can’t hold the calling?

  3. Hire yourself as the janitor, then submit the receipt of your wages for reimbursement, like how activity expenses are reimbursed. Then donate the reimbursed wages to the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

  4. I think you missed the part about me working weekends. I simply don’t have the time (nor the desire.)

  5. Divide the ward into 12 groups separated by last name. For September, October, and November, divide each week so that people with last names A-B clean on September 1, C-D clean on September 8, E-F, clean on September 15, G-H on Sep 22, I-J on Sep 29, K-L on Oct 6, M-N on Oct 13, O-P on Oct 20, Q-R on Oct 27, S-T on Oct 3, U-W on Oct 10, X-Z on Oct 17, and any one who couldn’t make their assigned date on Oct 24.

    Or if your ward is too small to divide into 12 (as is mine), divide into 6, and do a 6 week rotation instead of a 12 week rotation.

    If members are not available on the date assigned, ask them to contact you, you can then send an email blast to see if someone wants to switch for their day, who hasn’t already cleaned for the 3 allocated period.

    If no one offers to switch, don’t sweat it, tell the unavailable member that they are free to show up on October 24 or some other Saturday at their availability.

    Get the word out in three different ways: email, over the pulpit, and on posted paper in the meeting house.

    There will be times when the building doesn’t get cleaned properly. When that happens, use it as a chance to offer a few words in EQ and RS about the importance of cleaning the building. Usually, there will not likely be the necessity of calling out individuals for not doing their assignment.

  6. Also, if you can approach the calling as “bearing one another’s burdens”, it would likely help. You are bearing one another’s burdens because it is likely that no one else wants that calling either.

  7. As for gaining entry into the building, you’ll probably have to assign one person from each group to be the designated building opener. If they don’t have a key, you’ll have to figure out a way to get one into their hands or have someone with a key show up every week.

  8. In our ward they send out an email asking for assistance each week and do so about once per day until they have enough people committed to helping clean the building. The ward I was in before this one made anyone who asked the church for assistance “pay” the church back by cleaning the building for a set number of weeks. I highly suggest using the first suggestion I gave over the second.

  9. I know that in many places the church has switched to assignments instead of volunteers so that the same people aren’t always volunteering and there’s always someone responsible for getting it done. While I get that, even making people find someone to swap with if needed, it also presumes that everyone is capable of fulfilling the responsibility or can be expected to assume it.

    My wife is disabled. We have two young children. Until recently, if it was our family getting the assignment, it really just meant me all by myself representing our family with all of the others that are also assigned that week. In the meantime, my children would be unattended at home because my wife is normally still sleeping (part of her medical issues) when building cleaning starts. Add that to all of my other responsibilities, including being a ministering brother, and I start to not be able to take care of my own family and my own mental health.

    Honestly, changes like the “change” from home teaching to ministering, really felt like a huge burden was lifted. It seems odd to have a system that assumes everyone is in a position to minister / clean the building and there aren’t situations where someone shouldn’t be expected to, because it’s them or their family that needs to ministered to.

  10. I didn’t last long. I tried Signup Genius and put an announcement in the ward bulletin. Bishop quashed the announcement. A counselor told me bishop wanted assignments, and for me to “think about it.” I thought about it for a day, and then turned in my keys and resigned effective immediately. I told bishop, “I thought we taught correct principles and let people govern themselves.”

    “Yes, but I don’t want the same people doing it every week.”

    Then I’m not your guy. Next week there were assignments in ward bulletin, but not from me. A few people have asked me about assignments, and I simply say, “Talk to the bishopric.”

    When I was initially asked, I told counselor I questioned bishop’s inspiration with me working weekends, this was a poor idea from the get-go. Counselor insisted it was inspiration. Bad inspiration.

    It’s been 3 weeks and haven’t seen a replacement yet.

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