Measuring Home (and Visiting) Teaching

When I first moved to this area, the EQP extended a call to me to be the Executive Secretary over HTing.  And I was all prepared to turn him down flat; no way did I want to get sucked into that morass.  But he had anticipated my reaction, and told me he had just come from Stake leadership training, in which they had authorized contact by any method necessary.  While in-home visits by two HTers still constituted the gold standard, casual visits in other locations, phone calls, letters (this was a little bit pre-email, I think) would all count.  So with that qualification I accepted the call.  And of course we had 100% home teaching every month.  Whoever hadn’t been visited (very broadly defined) by the last week, I’d just send letters to them to make sure everyone was covered.

Relations with the other wards in the stake were a little bit awkward after that.  I would get one of two reactions.  Some people were in awe that we managed to do 100% every month, and others were more skeptical and simply assumed we were gaming the system.  Of course, none of these other wards had bothered to attend the Stake leadership training to learn the new protocol the Stake had endorsed, so they were still mired in the old way of doing things.

And you know, as a result of that experience, I became deeply skeptical of HTing “statistics.”  To me it seemed obvious that they were utterly meaningless.  Unless there is a consistent standard applied across all reporting bodies, how can you compare them?  The numbers are apples and oranges.  There is no uniform standard for what “counts” as a visit.  And there is no uniform standard for what constitutes the denominator; are “do not contact” lists included (in which event 100% ought to be impossible) or are they excluded, for example?

I heard a story once about Elder Oaks visiting the Saints in Japan.  And they were expressing how difficult it is to do actual in-home visits in that country and culture, and they petitioned for him to allow telephone calls to count.  And, at least as I heard it, Elder Oaks’ response was basically “Why do you care whether it counts or not?  Why not go ahead and make the calls and not worry about whether it ‘counts’?”  I could understand the point he was making, but it struck me as short sighted.  It’s the Church as an institution that insists on making this a numbers game, and yet fails to give meaningful guidance as to how to measure those numbers.

We are extremely loathe to want to “count” anything that falls even one jot short of the fairyland ideal of two priesthood hlolders, with an appointment made well in advance, the whole family present, the TV turned off, a message from the Ensign given, closing with prayer, etc.  We don’t want to count more informal contact, and so as a result that more informal contact that would be more likely to actually happen doesn’t happen.  We can’t make such a big deal out of the numbers on the one hand and then complain when elders will only make any effort at all if it is going to “count.”

So let me tell you another story.  My sister and her then husband had moved from the midwest to New Jersey, and they were deeply unhappy there.  They didn’t know anybody, and the culture was different from the friendly midwest whence they came.  She was so unhappy and lonely there that she did the unthinkable; she found out who the bishop was and she sent him a letter actually requesting home teachers.  She had not been actively engaged in Church for years, and so for her to actually ask for HTers meant she was pretty desperate.

Surely, you’re thinking, the HTers came riding in on a white charger to save the day.  They didn’t have to do the perfect visit; a phone call would have gotten the ball rolling.  But no, no home teachers ever showed up.  The only communication they got was a form letter from the ward asking them to contribute to some fund (and part of their problem was a lack of adequate finances).

I only learned of this years later.  To me it represented the last gasp chance she would ever have to have kindly feelings towards the Church.  It was an opportunity lost.

So I don’t know what the answer is.  Maybe we should try caring more about the people than about the numbers.  But without the pressure for numbers, would any HTing even happen at all, I wonder?  But if the numbers are essentially meaningless statistically, shouldn’t we modify things to actually encourage some sort of watchcare among our people?  I’m interested to hear what y’all think about this subject.

Comments

  1. I wish we could take stats away entirely, but I join with you in wondering if HTing would happen at all. I’m not sure it would, but I think that’s the result of trying to turn christian fellowship into quantifiable thing.

    I see why the corporate business model loves stats, but they are attempting to measure something immeasurable: whether the flock is being tended to. That’s so subjective as to be mind bending. A family may be well fed, clothed, and housed and still have needs that are unmet, just as an individual or group may be struggling in a number of ways but not require assistance from the church or its members.

    My father was converted by my mother’s home teacher (she had been inactive and non- attending her whole life but had been baptized at 8 so the church had her records). And my dad wasn’t converted because the HT thought of my family as a number or a checkbox. He knew my mother was inactive and uninterested in returning, and her husband a nonmember. He simply felt a call to befriend them anyway. THAT’s what converted my father (aside from the teachings which answered a lot of his questions and provided a cosmic structure he needed), being treated as a member of the tribe regardless of whether he was or not. That’s not quantifiable.

  2. IMO, the answer is to disband the HT program altogether. If we as a body have not learned the habits of Saintly and Christlike living by now, no ‘program’ or reformed measurement criteria will ever make it happen. HT is an albatross around the neck of the men at church and we’d all be better off without it. Some folks love that monthly checking-in by other church goers, many many more loathe it.

    Instead, pass around a simple form monthly in EQ/HP/RS with 2 simple questions
    1) In what ways did you associate with church members this month beyond what is required in fulfilling your callings?
    2) In what ways did you associate with non member or non participating members this month?

    That would immediately empower the EQ/HP/RS to learn from the members feedback and apply this learning in community outreach, activation, and fellow shipping efforts.

  3. Today, home teaching is just irritating.

    Our schedule is so hectic that we have almost no family time during the week or Saturday (between school, lessons, social activities, young mens and work). On Sunday, we have about 4-5 hours together, our only hours during the week. Of those hours, usually 2-3 hours are dinner with extended family. Then, the home teachers intrude grabbing an hour.

    I’ve had the same discussion with others and I get the strong impression that many feel the same.

    The program would be infinitely more effective if it were done on an “opt in” basis.

  4. I am with jeffc, if we haven’t learned charity and love by now we never will. I just recently switched to a new Home Teacher. It was a great move, and I was very happy for it. However, now every time I see my old HT he does not even acknowledge my existence. I was just a number he was trying to fulfill. Honestly, there is a bit of vengeful joy in the fact that I prevented him from ever having 100% because I outright refused to meet with him. Luckily, I have massive street-cred and the first counselor in the SP is my new Home Teacher. Even though I am happy with the new arrangement, I still say I can live without it. I know how to read the Ensign myself if I wanted to, and if I ever needed any sort of Priesthood blessing I have friends I can call on for that.

    Reducing people to numbers and only caring about them so we “look good” (to who?) is imo the antithesis of brotherly/sisterly love. Also, I am horrified by that story about your sister. It reminds me of a run-in I had with a Bishop in Las Vegas that I certainly thought would be the end of my association with and membership in The Church.

  5. Great post! This really got me thinking. I’m in a YSA ward and I’ve been really impressed with this ward’s emphasis. Three things that I’ve learned, and I’d love to see if this has worked elsewhere.

    1) The Point of Measuring “Visits.” I’ve noticed that we don’t compare much. We aim for progress. I’m the ward executive secretary and I’ve noticed that each month we aim to increase, even if only by a few percentages. I have no idea what other wards in our stake are getting, but does that matter so much as they’re improving?

    (Another point: as the Ex Sec, I make a list of who isn’t visiting and who isn’t being visited. This actually gets discussed in Presidency Meetings and occasionally in Ward Council, and usually there is an assignment to somebody to help those people.)

    2) Reminders and Resources. Here’s how it works in my ward: there are six “district leaders” who follow up with home teachers in their “district” and who are a resource, i.e. a HT can’t get his companion out (or, in my case, I asked them to help me make my hometeachee a plate of cookies. He loved that, and got cookies too ;). For the last few minutes of EQ meeting, once or twice a month, we meet with them and discuss our experiences home teaching and are reminded to report. It’s actually pretty fun to share “missionary moments” but with our HTees in this way. And once or twice a month, the EQ Pres. and the DL’s all meet to discuss home teaching and those in the Quorum. While I don’t know if there’s a “perfect” structure, there has been an awesome focus in my ward not just on visiting but on helping people progress spiritually for this reason.

    3) Reporting and Measuring. I get an email each month that has that quote from the Handbook on why we visit, and a note of encouragement from my EQP. In it there’s a Google Doc form, and it asks “Who did you visit? Who didn’t you visit? What are the needs of those you home teach? What commitment did you extend to help those you visit strengthen their faith in Christ? In what ways do you plan on serving those you home teach this month?” I don’t know if these questions are perfect, but my EQP made a point to me once: it helps you think about visits “the right way.” Usually, what is measured and reported, improves. And so far, it’s been a pleasant experience. Some months I haven’t “extended” a commitment, but I’m been more focused than ever on helping those I home teach really progress spiritually in my visits, even the little conversations I have with them. (And not only that, but the Bishop and EQP have access to our responses and it helps them help us. I’ve had a few lessons or thoughts shared with me, as a quorum or individually, based on what I’ve typed. That was cool to actually see they are reading them and care.)

    I don’t think there is a perfect ward, but I tried to extrapolate some principles I’ve learned from this ward. I’ve never been more excited to home teach, and I’ve never understood better the reason Why. We talk about it a lot in Quorum meetings. :)

  6. Shawn H says:

    I told my last home teacher (before I moved away and became totally inactive) to just meet me at the golf course and he could count it. Justin was a true friend, not just a home teacher. Contrast that with the guy who came and invited me back to church years later, and when I politely declined, offered to remove my name from the church records. I know which approach I prefer. End formal home teaching now.

  7. I have a thing or two to say about numbers and statistics. To preface, I have a Master’s in statistics and have made a career out of turning people into numbers. I’m very good at it. I’m also deeply involved in the quality reporting for part of the hospital I work for and have very strong notions about what is good reporting practice when it comes to measures of quality (which is what the home teaching statistic really is).

    To start, reporting home teaching statistics at the ward level is entirely meaningless. At such a myopic level, there is too much variability in noise in the randomness of people’s lives to make any kind of meaningful inference about why percentages go up or down. The value of these percentages at the stake level is of very questionable value to me. Once you get up to the Area or Church-wide level, there may be some value to collecting these data (although given the inconsistent definitions used to report these data, I doubt it has any use).

    So why report it at all? I think it’s interesting to note that quorum and group leaders aren’t even asked to report the percentage. According to the handbooks, the quorum and group leaders are supposed to submit a list of names of families that were not visited in the previous month. Ideally, the clerk should take that list and figure out the number of households that were visited. The computer will calculate the percentage for him.

    The real question, then, is what is the value of reporting these names? As long as we are concerned with getting as close to 100% home teaching as possible every month, and as long as we do not ask the question “why were these families not visited?” then there is no point. If we want to accomplish the goals of home teaching, we need to get over our fear of saying that a family wasn’t visited–we need to be willing to say, “only 20% of our families were visited, but another 10% were on vacation and we had members picking up their mail and watering their gardens, and 15% requested not to be contacted, and for 10%, the home teachers were busy studying for finals.” Or something…you get the point.

    We need to start recognizing that it doesn’t matter if the percentage is low; and we need to have the courage to not care that the percentage is low. Instead, we need to change the dialog to motivate people to care about the people in their wards and make the effort to genuinely reach out and serve them.

    But that’s hard work, and I think more people would prefer to complain about percentages because it is easy to talk about.

  8. Jeffc and Ryan: Why not just resign from the priesthood? Nothing says that men have to hold the priesthood. It’s clear you don’t think much of your duties to watch over the saints. But then, perhaps you’ve never had an experience where someone really needed home teaching, because they were poor, unemployed, friendless, spiritually adrift or just needed someone to share something of the church or the priesthood with them once a month? And perhaps you’ve never felt yourself to be in that category–but, are not all men beggers? I’m pretty sure that home teaching is exactly as meaningful as a home teacher makes it–which is something that takes work.

  9. Chris Kimball says:

    Any room for prioritizing? I recall calculating, in one particular ward, that households per (reasonably possible home teaching pair) was greater than 15 and deciding to set some priorities that would let us focus attention on about one quarter of the households. We set at low priority (a) people who wouldn’t accept home teachers, (b) people who didn’t want home teachers (would accept them almost or in fact as an obligation), and (c) people who were well integrated in the social fabric of the ward and would usually probably regularly share a dinner or other activity with someone else in the ward. We made serious assignments for the quarter not in any of the low priority categories. (I think we made nominal assignments for everyone else so we could say everyone was accounted for, but asked questions and did follow up only for the 25%.) It was a complete surrender on statistics but had some obvious appeal in practice.

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    I like your prioritizing idea. For instance we consistently are assigned some of the best home teachers in the ward, and it’s not necessary in our case (we’re in the accept it as an obligation category). I’ve got to think there are other folks who could really use these dedicated visitors.

  11. Personally, I don’t really enjoy home teaching and don’t particularly mind if I’m not home taught. The reason is mainly my personality: I loathe empty chit chat and frankly don’t often like meeting new people, and it’s hard to develop real relationships when tandem-teaching a family with a companion I may not be friends with anyway. So yeah, home teaching, not designed for introverts. Plus, the messages are so banal, although that’s probably a failure of imagination in my part. Still, I get the program’s theoretical value, and it’s probably good for someone like me to stretch my boundaries or I’d never make any friends besides my wife. I just can’t think of many positive benefits I’ve personally experienced from home teaching on either end.

  12. Joshua B. says:

    Reminds me of how mission numbers can help land MPs into even higher callings. Not that numbers are everything.

  13. MDearest says:

    There never was a bigger HT/VT cynic than I, and then I got called to be the VT coordinator. I’ve done a 180 in my attitude, but I also got to run things the way I like. I now think that making assignments and keeping track of them is important, but not because the stats that are gathered are very useful, except perhaps to ward leaders, especially the bishop and RSP. They aren’t even the end goal, though they are reported to church HQ quarterly. The nuts and bolts of organizing helps make sure nobody falls through the cracks (though we all fail at times) but mostly, being organized about it serves to keep us more serious about and focused on our effort to look after each other on behalf of the Lord. It was sometimes hard to get sisters to report their visits because I was perceived as the VT police. I had a little spiel designed to put them at ease about not doing 100% but rather encouraged them to do their best to build a relationship and make their assignment into a friendship with regular effort, as best they could. A lesson was entirely up to them; all I counted was a contact, and I counted everything — a conversation in the hall at church, email, phone calls, letters, cookies left on the porch — all of it, as long as both parties felt that it counted.

    I now think that HT and VT are closer to the heart of the gospel than most of the programs of the church. Even with the many imperfections those programs suffer from. I figure the Lord wants us to feed his lambs in his absence, and this is a worthwhile way to be organized about it, even for a flawed fellowship in a fallen world.

    I’m pretty sure He doesn’t care a whit about the stats, but He cares very much if we’re doing our best in combined effort, to make good things happen with these tools.

  14. I just can’t stomach the idea of being someone’s obligation. Like I mentioned, my new Home Teacher is great. That is because he is actually interested in seeing me and hearing what I have to say. He was also right-headed enough to defer to my judgment on who said the prayers. We had a wonderful, spirit-filled discussion about a blogpost that had been made that day on fMh by nat kelly. It is in my top 5 “church-related” meetings ever. If the program were more like that I could get on board more. However, that has not been my experience at all over the past almost 18 years.

  15. Not needing HT or VT is a luxury, and many members are living in relative poverty in that regard. Personally, I wouldn’t mind at all if I wasn’t assigned a HT – but we have wonderful HT and VT right now, and they are important to my wife and children. I also know of way too many members for whom HT and VT are an absolute spiritual necessity.

    I have been a terrible HT over the years (grew up around lots of extended family and never would have thought about calling a HT for anything), but I have changed my attitude recently – especially since being assigned single sisters who are beyond appreciative to have people show up and talk with them. I agree that HT and VT really are what we make of them – but I am passionate about revamping the way we go about it, allowing members to opt out and focusing on individual service to a few above dutiful, homogenized visits to many.

    It’s not just the individual who makes HT and VT meaningful; it’s also the organization at the local level. At the ward-wide level, I’ve seen it work, and I’ve seen it fail – and the difference has been almost entirely due to differences in leadership vision and approach.

  16. I do think it was a bit of…gaslighting…for Elder Oaks to react that way. The importance of home teaching and home teaching statistics has been pushed top down for as long as I have been in EQ (about 20 years). I personally like the relaxed way of counting your stake used (though maybe not the autofill letter at the end of the month). The question that should be asked is, “how many families in the ward have someone who is in a position to help and can be reasonably approached to request help when needed.” Personally, I think for well-integrated members that have many social ties and deep friendships within the ward HT should just be a casual contact unless the family requests otherwise.

  17. “Maybe we should try caring more about the people than about the numbers. [/quote]

    Amen.

    [quote]But without the pressure for numbers, would any HTing even happen at all, I wonder?”

    But If we truly care about people and their welfare, then we wouldn’t need HTing at all.

    To be honest Kevin, I think we should change some of our 3 hour long Sunday meetings. Instead of warming a seat giving golden answers, sleeping or playing with our phones, we could go out and do some visits. It could be a terrific way to start the week.

  18. I’m torn on this. I don’t want to be someone else’s obligation because oftentimes that is more of an inconvenience than a help (i. e., they want to come on the last day of the month whether that works for me or not). That said, there have been times when, as a single woman, I have definitely needed and benefited from having a VT or HT come over just to talk or to give me a blessing. And I do wonder if most members would make the same effort to come if it wasn’t a calling.

    There is one thing I would like to do away with entirely: the standardized message. I find the VT message to be the most insulting as it is basically the same every month for a year except May and November. (I can grasp the concept well enough in January to suffice for the year on that topic.) But the HT message can also feel patronizing or not relevant to me. I have forbidden my VT from giving me the assigned message, though she’s free to give any other message she wants. :) But I wish the message was always whatever the HT/VT felt inspired to give for that individual and only when they felt inspired to give a message. I think that would make it more real and thoughtful. And more often, it’s the friendship I need the most, not the message. We may end up talking about the gospel anyway, but that’s usually when I have a specific concern or question I’m musing over.

  19. Alphonso says:

    I love being a hometeacher. I mean love it. But in general, I love people. I may not like everybody, sometimes I can’t stand people, but I do love. The families I HT, I am fully committed to and want to spend time with. I study my families, their situations, their children, their needs, and try to shape messages that fit what they need and their personalities. I ask for input from the parents on what needs to be shared for their children’s needs. I pray for inspiration for each family and the lessons I prepare. I have walked in and given off-the-cuff inspired messages that directly answered problems that occurred in the family just the day before, which I had no idea was needed. Sometimes, I feel all I need to do is go and chat and be friendly. If you just give yourself up to it, Heavenly Father will inspire you, and teach you how to love. Its there if you want it. Its a great opportunity to serve and learn how to be like Christ.

  20. Kevin, are you aware of any published scholarly work about home teaching? Either from an historical, philosophical, theological, comparative religious, sociological, anthropological or psychological standpoint. I imagine the Church’s research division has done some work from a social science perspective, but unfortunately, under current policies, any such workshop is not published. I do know from a historical/comparative perspective, the passages in D&C 20 seem similar to such home visit practices instituted by Calvin and still followed by some Presbyterian churches. http://www.westminsterconfession.org/the-church/the-duties-and-qualifications-of-ruling-elders.php http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=9&pfriendly=Y&ret=L29zLmh0bWw%2FYXJ0aWNsZV9pZD05 I believe sociologists of religion would refer to home visitation as a form of “social control”, just as confession in Catholicism is a form of social control. Section 20, of course, does not state the frequency with which such home visitation should take place. I am curious historically how the idea of monthy visits became the understanding in the LDS tradition.

  21. I suspect HT and VT are likely programs designed to primarily train and benefit the teachers, rather than assist those taught (albeit there are many taught who benefit). In fact, most of the callings I have held in the Church have benefited myself more than those I served. Being a VT teaches me to be more Christlike and to give service. Those who want to do away with these programs are in essence saying they do not want the opportunity to learn and grow to be more like the Savior. But then, maybe they have already achieved a higher level of spirituality than I have…

  22. I was on the receiving end of some decent and honest home teaching back in my late 20s. I had been inactive for about 5 years, but was contemplating returning to church. My home teacher (can’t remember his name) came by with the Bishop from the single adult ward and invited me to start going to church more regularly. The Bishop even made the effort to bring a small group out to a smokey club where my band was playing. That was impressive to me (I’m sure that many of them felt out of place there), but it struck me as a sincere attempt to get to know me and acknowledge my personality and hobbies. The home teacher was the catalyst, but in reality it was a very considerate and friendly Bishop that gave the push. Not long after, I was back in.

    Fast forward to today (17 years on). Home teaching is difficult for me to do. I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends, but that only works with a handful of people in our ward, although I have quite a few friendly acquaintances. The past 3 years we’ve lived in an expanding part of Phoenix with a new ward that is growing quickly. I’ve been assigned 2 sisters (literally) that each have part member families. They’ve only become active again in the last few years. My home teaching companion isn’t one to take the lead so I gotta be the mover and shaker if we’re to make any visits. Luckily he happens to be one of my better friends at church, so there’s at least some easy going chemistry when we visit, however we don’t have much in common with the sisters or their families and the visits are sometimes awkward. One non-member father of one family is not super friendly and we get the impression that we come across as the biggest dorks to him or perhaps to all of them. Which is strange because I’m actually really cool and totally laid-back. Anyway. I don’t know what it is, but we’ve been pretty consistent at maintaining contact with these families. They’re always willing to let us visit and I genuinely feel bad when our schedules don’t match-up. I’ve told our EQ Pres. not so change us as I don’t know if anyone else will be even as regular as we’ve been in trying to fellowship and provide some kind of service.

    A few months back one of the women made it to the temple for the 1st time. Perhaps we had some kind of positive influence? Who knows? Does it matter? But I was happy for her and we had some great conversations about blessings, temple, and the good things about being in the church.

    Anyway, the whole point is that this is the 1st time that I’ve felt some kind of obligation to make a little more effort. And it’s not easy because we don’t exactly gel, at least from my point of view. For all I know this may be one of the only times that I feel inspired to be this active in home teaching, but the motivation is there so I try to run with it as best I can.

  23. Joshua B. says:

    It’s true, Rebecca. (Mod- No comment #’s??) I’m sure this is one of the goals, but can’t there be a better way to do it? People do unpleasent things all the time to benefit themselves and gain training, but for some reason, HT/VTing (ok, mostly HTing :) just isn’t viewed that way by a lot of people.

    We say that (benefits the teacher the most) about a lot of things in the church though. I don’t know how well that argument will hold up under scrutiny forever. Its a really excellent thought but needs to be applied in the right places, and I don’t know that HTing is the right one for that. I feel like HTing benefits select people much more then it does myself.

  24. hawkgrrrl says:

    Finally, the HTers are learning what the VTers have known for years! I used to be VT leader about 8 years ago. The priesthood groups looked down on the fact that we counted a variety of contacts as “contacts” (e.g. phone, email). The more formal and structured the contact, the less the relationship. We are schizophrenic (in the colloquial sense) about our objectives – is it so that people feel connected and invested in the community because they have friends or is it so that we have one more opportunity to indoctrinate each other? I think the former is the unique purpose we can achieve through VT and HT, and if so, then it has to be natural and not forced. The more structure, the less connection.

  25. LDSRuminations says:

    The one thing I dislike about HT is the way it is approached as an assignment to care about someone. This is a difficult thing to overcome as you need to learn to love and care for everyone. What a huge goal that is. This is even more difficult to achieve especially when your HT list changes every two months. It becomes a numbers exercise and the purpose is lost.

    For any other relationship the expectation would not be acceptable. Say you had a friend who saw you once a month, AND NEVER TWICE A MONTH, because he felt the requirement to maintain your friendship needed no more than a monthly interaction. At which he shared someone else’s message with no personal adaptation and exchanged pleasantries followed by deeply spiritual probing questions. Is that a real sign that someone cares about you?

    On the reporting side, every month I get asked who I visited, but I am never asked if they need any help or have any challenges. That approach makes it a numbers game. What happened to the idea that we report back to the HPGL and th EQP, and they report back to Ward council or PEC about those needs and how we as a ward can meet them? Obviously if we were concerned for others welfare we would be desperate to communicate those needs that we have found or we would meet them ourselves. But the act of only asking for numbers give the impression that it’s all about the numbers. That’s the top down problem. The church perpetuates this problem by asking for numbers.

    Numbers are not the bad thing though, the focus on numbers is.

    In all honesty, I never want to go home teaching, probably due to having my list changed every few months, plus life gets so hectic sometimes you cherish the time you have at home. However, I do go and I always come home from my home teaching experience feeling good and that I’ve done something worthwhile.

    I was HPGL for a while and was responsible for organising the HT. I was so surprised as well by the number of Priesthood holders who refused to be companions with each other and refused to visit certain families because they don’t like them.

    Numbers are easy to manipulate and serve a very limited purpose. If a bishop wants to look good then he can make the numbers good, it’s really simple.

    We should be seeking to serve and letting others serve us. This is the real message.

  26. Benjamin’s comment about statistics times a million.

    I’ve been immersing myself in statistical research for the last two years in my graduate degree and I have to say that his point might be the most valuable thing I’ve learned about how to interpret and deal in numbers. Not one of us regular joes knows how to do it correctly.

    That said, I also took a social network analysis class and from day one, in the back of my mind, I thought this is the analysis made to order for the church. Mapping who’s talking to whom, who’s helping whom, who’s making friends with whom (which can be done in a fairly non-intrusive way – at least no worse than the monthly emails or calls asking if you’ve done your VT/HT). In this kind of analysis, the value is in density and reciprocity or that people have many tight and loose connections to their social network (the ward) and that those relationships go both ways. It might be the measure that actually shows we’re following the spirit of VT/HT by making meaningful connections with the people around us and using those connections to serve others and you know, all that good gospelly stuff. It could also show how information moves through the ward or people who have become isolated. Of course, I just took this one class, so I might be completely off my rocker.

    As long as it’s authentic, VT/HT is great. But no one wants to feel like a number. With social network analysis, they aren’t really.

  27. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m not aware of any social science research on HTing and VTing beyond whatever the Church has done internally. Could be a good project for a young grad student…

  28. “But without the pressure for numbers, would any HTing even happen at all, I wonder?”

    No, and that’s why it feels so forced— because it IS. No one wants to be a checkmark on a list, and Hawkgrrl has a perfect point above- the more structured, the less authentic the relationships. I loath VT/HT as it is. The one really good HT I had, and I adore he and his wife to this day, let our relationship grow organically, and it was highly unstructured. It was natural. It was a friendship, not an assignment.

  29. Rather than reporting whether we have been to visit someone else we should be asked whether we have been visited by our HT. Shifting the emphasis on reporting toward those who are supposedly being served might change how we go about our responsibilities.

  30. John Taber says:

    But if we do that, someone has to follow up with everyone in the ward or branch, many of whom might have been visited but might not be willing to tell someone else whether they were or not. I did mention once to my bishop that I hadn’t heard from a home teacher in about six months, and something did get done about that.

    The last branch in my mission, the husband in the senior couple was acting as elders’ quorum president and one of the things he had to do was overhaul the home teaching. (The branch had at one point decided home teaching was “for those who needed it”, and once they started to get more of a vision for it, some members were offended that they were being home taught.) He had the home teachers report their contacts by categories, from just getting in the door (which would count, but wouldn’t really be enough to do every month) to actually sitting down and teaching a spiritual lesson. That way when the home teacher sat down for a PPI (something I haven’t had in ten years in my current ward) the priesthood leader could go over that record and they could determine what was appropriate, etc.

    I look at home teaching families as the people in the ward I’ve been asked to specifically watch over. I may not get in the door every month, but I try to keep an eye out for their needs (calling or emailing as I deem appropriate). Since my wife does something at Christmas and Easter for the families of the sisters she visit teaches, she extends that to my home teaching families and I or my companion delivers that.

  31. John Taber says:

    And just a follow-up on categories, I was membership clerk in three different wards. Sometimes if I had a question about a member’s whereabouts I’d look up the home teacher or visiting teacher and use the visit record to see if they knew the member. One time I looked up a visiting teacher and found that she’d contacted the member in question each of the last six months – with a telephone call. And later when I was talking with the visiting teaching coordinator in that ward, she said that many sisters considered leaving a telephone message to count as a telephone contact.

  32. Recently released HP group leader speaking. I’ve heard everything under the sun in terms of what to count. I think this is one area where the spirit and the letter of the law often come into conflict, but most of the members of my group have done a good job on falling on the “spirit of the law” side of the equation. Many times, I told people directly (or made sure they overheard me saying to ward or stake leadership) that much of the best home teaching going on in our group wasn’t included in the statistics. The message I wanted to get across was, “I care that the people you home teach know that you love them and that you are there for them. If we get to count the visit in our stats as well, that’s also good.”

    Home teaching is an inspired program, and many home teachers are inspired men. The problem doesn’t need to be gotten rid of, and where it needs fixing is at the local level and individual level. It will always be messy and imperfect, but that’s because people are messy and imperfect.

    All I can say is that of all the times I can recall the spirit working most powerfully within me, of all the times I’ve actually helped change a life from within a church setting, a heavily disproportionate number of those times have been while I was prayerfully acting in my role as a home teacher. As a result of this, I believe the Lord has much more respect and esteem for the title “home teacher” than most of the rest of us do. That’s the part about home teaching that needs to change.

  33. beccachan says:

    I find the statistics very problematic. The parameters always seem to be different, and I am almost never asked about the actual needs of the people I visit. I had particularly negative experience when a Stake Pres. challenged us to hit 95% HT/VT. When our ward hadn’t reached the goal three months later, he devoted an entire sacrament meeting to yelling (yes, actually raising his voice at times) over the pulpit that we hadn’t listened to him and his challenge. I witnessed the EQ Presidents talking after church about the records of some singles that would end up in our ward, and they decided to “kick them back ASAP” because they were “weakening our numbers.” No mention of the fact that many of these people were less active or purposely seeking a family ward. It was awful.

    That said, I’ve had some fantastic experiences with HT/VTers who have helped me feel more connected with the ward and given me a valuable support system. I’ve also had times when I NEEDED visits that were not to be found, and times when I have felt bullied into receiving visits that I did not want.

    I wonder if we could move to a system more like one used in some other Christian churches: little cards are included in the program asking if you would like a pastoral care visit and an option to disclose the reason if desired. These could be submitted in some kind of private fashion and those who need/want visits could get them from people who want/are called to visit. I don’t know how it would go, but it would at least cut back on the annoying visits and increase the needed ones. Aaaaaand then we wouldn’t have to play the numbers game so much.

  34. John Taber, we would only need to ask each household, which would be about the same amount of work as asking each companionship.

  35. John Taber says:

    Do you know how many households there are in a ward? (In my stake, the median is 211, and the median number of attending Melchizedek Priesthood is 42.) Do you know how many are in the situation I described, where they will see home teachers occasionally but aren’t willing to make any more contact? Do you know how many families move without telling anyone? Clerks have a hard enough time keeping who’s there straight, without adding another layer of tracking home teaching and visiting teaching separately.

  36. John Taber says:

    One problem I have found is that often, quorums or the Relief Society will count how many households or sisters were visited, but won’t post it in the computer. That’s there for a reason, so that the bishop or whomever can see who has and hasn’t been visited in recent months. (It also makes it easier for the clerks to get the numbers for the quarterly report.) It is not that difficult for a group leader/quorum president/secretary or RS president/visiting teaching coordinator to sit down once a month and post all that. It would be next to impossible for someone to contact 200+ households individually each month, not that there shouldn’t be some followup here and there.

    I actually consider it more important to report up the chain who has or hasn’t been visited each month, than to try to get 100% each month. (Even the Handbooks acknowledge that not everyone needs a visit each month.)

  37. John Taber says:

    “I wonder if we could move to a system more like one used in some other Christian churches: little cards are included in the program asking if you would like a pastoral care visit and an option to disclose the reason if desired. These could be submitted in some kind of private fashion and those who need/want visits could get them from people who want/are called to visit. I don’t know how it would go, but it would at least cut back on the annoying visits and increase the needed ones.”

    And it wouldn’t reach those who don’t come out, or feel embarrassed punching the card. While I may be the worst home teacher in terms of making appointments and visits, I still believe in the program. It facilitates regular contact among members, and with leadership in a way no other church even tries to do.

  38. John, I have some experience with the logistics and would point out that in wards or stakes as big as you describe there will usually be secretaries who would be responsible for collecting the reports. Of course, there would challenges and inaccuracies – that will not change radically between one system or the other. In fact, I am not so worried about whether we have accurate numbers but rather whether such an approach might shift how HT think about their responsibility.

  39. merkin4 says:

    I was once in a married student ward that had 100% home teaching and visiting teaching, month after month. My calling was to be the home teacher for any new couples in the ward for their first month, until they could be assigned a “normal” home teacher. Small boundaries, similar life situations, we as a ward got it done.

    The bishop, otherwise a very kind and caring man, would still chew us out in Priesthood meeting and tell us that we needed to be better at home teaching.

    It was then I decided that if we’re going to get chewed out about Home Teaching no matter how well we do, it’s pointless. I’m the ward executive secretary, and I told my home teacher he’s not allowed to visit. He can check on us via e-mail and count it as a visit, but his priority needs to be his wife and daughter.

    That being said, I rock at the difficult assignments. I home teach a family with six kids, two special needs, and the last time I submitted my report, it made the EQP cry.

  40. I have a hard time understanding why people reject HT/VT as inauthentic just because it is an assignment. I teach the 7-year-olds in Primary. If I wasn’t assigned to that calling, I wouldn’t be there. But I still care about those kids and I’m doing my best to be a good teacher for them. It’s entirely possible for something to be an assignment and still be authentic.

    That said, the home teacher I was most grateful for was the one who, during the year when we had a new baby and my husband was doing his intern year of residency, left us alone. The HT asked me outright, “Would you like to have visits or would you rather have family time when your husband can actually be home? If it’s the latter, I would still absolutely want you to call if I could help in any way.” It was such a relief. And he was such a genuine, friendly man that I believed him and called when I needed something.

  41. John Taber says:

    Not that I want to get out of doing visits necessarily, but that’s the kind of home teacher I want to be.

  42. How about this:
    - Emphasize fellowship and friendship.
    - Lose the “message.”
    - Assign home teaching families, but don’t tell the families who their home teachers are.
    - Stop reporting on visits. Start reporting (only) on needs.

    Change the incentives.

  43. Rusty! You’re alive!

  44. When I served in a RS presidency, a million years ago, I was over VT, and I agree that the numbers themselves are meaningless, given the lack of consistency as to what “counts” and who is counted. However, qualitative reporting is not meaningless to local leaders. If I know that Sister X is got visited last month or received a phone call or a letter or a service from her VT(s), I don’t know if Sister X is besties with those ladies, but I do know she’s getting something. Maybe it’s not the best something in the world, but it’s probably better than nothing. (And if it’s not, she should request that they stop, I guess.)

    Personally, I don’t mind having an assigned friend or being an item on a checklist; I kind of like knowing there is someone out there who is obligated to help me even if they can’t stand me. Currently I am VT to a woman who would probably drop off everyone’s radar if she weren’t someone’s assignment. *I* would probably drop off everyone’s radar if I weren’t someone’s assignment. I don’t need my HT to be my best friend; I just need someone who feels obligated to come over and re-light my pilot light when my husband’s out of town because I’m afraid of fire. (I made that call once; I’m not ashamed to admit it.)

    It would be super-awesome if we all felt genuinely Christ-like love for all human beings automatically and were so in touch with the Holy Ghost that we always knew when someone needed us, but that’s not how human beings are. Often, feelings of genuine charity come only after feelings of duty and annoyance and frustration. The VT/HT programs aren’t perfect, but they’re a thousand times better than leaving people to their own Christ-like devices. That ain’t happening, kids.

  45. @TMD – and that is a perfect example of the ‘motivate by guilt’ technique that unfortunately permeates through too many EQs IMO and has ruined HT for many many *honorable PH.

    * I suspect you’d disagree with that statement

  46. My husband is an EQP. He agonizes over home teaching. Why? Because he genuinely cares about the men in our ward–the active and inactive ones. He prays for them. He worries about them. He invites men in our ward out to lunch every other week (again, active or otherwise) and works late to do it, just to get to know them. He would still be a Christlike man without this home-teaching worry; it is in his nature to be so, but home teaching gives him an outlet of service and love. These men are not numbers to him; they are brothers in the gospel, some of whom are desperate for loving kindness. Along the way he is teaching our sons about priesthood duty and making them into more Christlike men too. Home teaching and visiting teacher cannot be perfect; heck, regular, flawed people are administering the programs, but I have seen miracles happen because of them.

  47. I think prioritizing the assignments is very problematic. Leaders often simply won’t know where the true needs lie (and I say this having been the leader creating the VT assignments for many years). People we assume are safely ensconced in the ninety and nine often are not.

    For example, the EQ President who just took my amazing, diligent home teacher away from me is virtually a stranger. From a distance I’m sure I look active and well-integrated into the ward. He doesn’t know how much I have been relying on those visits as a desperately needed spiritual boost. Though I try to make sure I express gratitude to my HT for his visits, even he does not know how much I need them. I don’t have the capacity right now to advocate for myself and am completely dreading the thought of a stranger showing up at my door (if anyone will show at all). I know my situation is not entirely unique (except perhaps for the fact that I have had a quality home teacher to rely on). It is always dangerous to assume we have the facts about what others need.

  48. Kevin Barney says:

    Rusty, I like it!

  49. So many great comments! Thanks, everyone. I will reiterate two points, then make a third:
    (1) I agree that without HT/VT many would simply and completely fall through the cracks. After all, look at how many do even with HT/VT! The idea that the Spirit will simply inspire us to reach out to people that we don’t know–and, in most cases, don’t even know of–makes no sense to me. Only in some parts of Utah can I imagine that everyone in the ward is actually acquainted with someone who will watch out for them–inspired or not.
    (2) I, too wonder: Why I am asked each month whether I visited instead of what the needs are and what I have done, or the quorum or ward needs to do, to meet those needs? LDSruminations is right: the question I am asked sends the wrong message. That ultimately someone has to report “visits” does not excuse taking an approach that lacks a personal, needs-based focus.
    (3) In my view, what constitutes a “visit” must be defined by what the family will accept. If they will (or can, perhaps because of their travel or schedule) only accept a letter, that should be enough. But if they will accept a visit, a letter is not a sufficient substitute because of the home teacher’s schedule or procrastination, the letter shouldn’t count. Perhaps ultimately it is, or at least should be, up to the quorum leadership or the RS presidency to decide what counts; the monthly report should be what was done to communicate with and help the assigned family.

  50. I was in the branch Shawn H referred to when Justin was his home teacher. When a new convert joined and needed fellowship, this same home teacher brought him home every Sunday afternoon for dinner for two years. His attitude towards serving was a sharp contrast to other priesthood leaders who lobbied the ward clerk to move records of inactive members out of the ward, to boost the monthly percentage.

    I later lived in a ward where the stake president told the priesthood their routes had too many families on them. Visits to active families were eliminated, with the reason given that they didn’t need help. The percentages went up. Then, quorums were instructed on how to identify inactive members and initiate the removal of their records. We had lessons on how to fill out the forms and deliver certified letters. Again, the justification was to improve numbers. Eventually, enough people complained and the SP recanted.

    I have a home teacher that rarely makes a formal visit, but he’s there whenever I call. That’s more important to me than 12 appointments per year.

  51. Central Standard says:

    I’m old enough (just barely I must emphasize) to remember ‘ward teaching.’ If I recall correctly, the W.T’s would come by with a small piece of paper with perforated edges presumably torn from a book. On the paper was a spiritual thought or similar. The brethern would read the thought, make friendly offers for assistance.Everyone got the same message.

    Now we have ‘lessons’ or thought based on a specific magazine article (i,e. general conference talk) and eveyone is more of less saying the same thing to each other. Not sure how that is progress.

    My h.t. partner in crime don’t follow the magazine very closely.Somethimes we go in totally unscripted. Sometimes when I’m reading something religious or secular it prompts something in me and I might pull some thoughts together based some odd reading.

  52. I know I’m late to the game, but I just wanted to put out the idea that sometimes HTers could think about their influence on the children of a family, rather than the interactions with the adults. My husband is inactive. The kids and I go to church every week; we’d be considered, rightly, to be very active and not really need help. However, my kids have asked me several times why our HTers never come. At first I didn’t worry about it, but now that I have boys that are teenagers, I realized that it would be helpful for them to have an example to watch to see what it means to be a HTer. I’m sure our home teacher feels he’s making contact with us – he’s the YM pres and sees my boys every week, our kids are in school activities together, I’m friends with his wife, and every once in awhile he’ll stop me in the hall and ask how we’re doing and if we need anything. That’s fine for me, but my kids don’t see any of that. All they see is a home teacher who doesn’t care enough to make the effort to visit. I’ve tried explaining why he probably feels the current interaction is sufficient, and he truly is busy, but still, I wish my boys could see some examples of hometeaching in action that benefits them, something that they can watch and follow and think about as they get older and asked to be involved in Hting.

  53. jes, excellent point.

  54. Kevin Barney says:

    Yeah, jes, that’s a very useful perspective that can easily get lost in the shuffle.

  55. Sharee Hughes says:

    I have pretty much always had great HTs and VTs. But this is my current complaint. Our ward used to assign HT companionships with one High Priest and one Elder. This was great, especially when my elderly mother was still alive and had problems with falling and I couldn’t get her up. Our younger HT could handle that easily. But now the EQ brethren teach the younger people and the older HPs teach us old folks. And that’s not the only problem. I am 71 years old, short, overweight and suffer from arthritic knees. I need help taking the wallpaper off the walls in my kitchen and dining room so I can repaint because I can’t reach. Climbing a ladder is out of the question. And for HTs, they assigned me the two shortest men in the ward. They aren’t that much taller than I am. Not only that, one of them works out of town and only comes home late Wednesday afternoons (leaving again Thursday morning) and Saturday afternoons (leaving Sunday afternoons). The other is a university professor who works long hours and goes out of town when school is not in session. Although they visit regularly and are willing to help with what they can do (they have helped some with cutting down trees and digging holes to plant others), they are never available to shovel my snow or help with my in-house needs. I mentioned that to the Bishop one time and he said he’d look into it, but nothing has been done. Although I know my HTs care about me, they can’t really meet my needs. I don’t know what they report to the Bishopric. The EQ has helped with yard work a couple of times, but I think home teachers should be available to do more than just give a lesson each month.

    My VTs are great and are always willing to help any way they can.

  56. Sharee Hughes says:

    By the way, what happened to the numbers on the comments? It used to be easy to comment on a comment when they were numbered. Please bring that back.

  57. anonymous this time says:

    Our ward is a newly wed and almost dead ward. In addition to VT and HT there are sisters that are called to visit the widows weekly or more often as needed. This helps meet the needs and avoids a feeling of isolation for those that are home bound, mobility impaired or need more than once a month visits. Have not seen that system elsewhere and it seems to help.

  58. Our bishop doesn’t even look at the HT/VT numbers in our ward. He just cares how the members are doing and the numbers don’t tell you that.

  59. I agree with much of the sentiment on this topic concerning the statistical side of HT/VT. Following are some of my idealistic and hopefully, not too unrealistic thoughts.

    My thoughts are that what we typically measure with Home Teaching is simply the smallest amount of effort necessary to even begin to be an effective influence in the lives of those we visit. As many others have stated, the emphasis should be on the quality of the visit rather than whether or not we engaged in some minimal effort. My father taught me a great principle in this regard. Whenever his priesthood leader called and asked if he had gotten his home teaching “done” for the month, he would always respond, “Brother Smith, I don’t know how to answer that because my home teaching is never done.” Consequently, when I respond to similar inquiries from my priesthood leaders, I usually choose to respond with something to the effect that I have visited my families, whether or not I am aware of any needs or concerns, what I have done to assist with those needs, and whether or not there is anything that should be brought to the Bishop’s attention. Reporting in this manner helps me try to be mindful of my families throughout the month and not just on the day of the visit.

    There is another side of Home Teaching that is virtually ignored in the wards where I have lived and that is the Home Teaching Interview with a priesthood leader. If these types of interviews are happening regularly, then it’s a better opportunity to find out what’s really going on with a family and how to help them. This gets to the quality aspect of the visit much better than simply asking if the family was visited.

    I see value in regular visits to all families, no matter the strength of their testimony or involvement in the church. In the case of strong families, I view it as putting something away for a rainy day. There may be no needs today, but that could change. If I haven’t invested in a relationship over time, then when the rainy day comes, I can’t expect that they will look to me for any kind of support.

    I have seen many creative ways for quorums to report 100% home teaching, including the one described by Kevin. However, if the assigned home teacher isn’t involved in the contact, I don’t see how any sincere person could count it as home teaching. I classify those types of schemes as priesthood visits, and certainly if a family isn’t being regularly home taught, then its great for the priesthood leaders to touch bases and make sure everything is all right. But in my book that is not home teaching and reporting it as such is misleading to the Bishop and Stake leaders who will be getting a false sense of the strength of the priesthood in wards who engage in this practice. If done effectively, Home Teaching will bless the Home Teacher as well as the families he teaches. So leaving him out of the process reduces the total potential effectiveness of the program.

  60. Much to comment on regarding this, one of my favorite subjects. For now, I will reveal (for no one else has) that a few years ago the online Quarterly Statistical Report required of every unit–yes required–defines the quarterly figures for attendance, VT, and HT consist of “counting” ONLY THE LAST MONTH OF THE QUARTER. Cannot see the wisdom in that if statistics are considered a meaningful measure of something. If a quarterly report is not filed by the end of the second month of the following quarter, no budget funds will be allocated from SLC for that unit. I have seen that happen–though the stake pres didn’t have the guts to let the slacker ward suffer the consequences. He cut the allocation to all the other wards for that next quarter in order to provide funds to the slacker ward.

    On a more important level: I agree with Elder Oaks…why does it need to count/be counted?–though I understand the human–weakness–argument for measuring care and support.

  61. John Taber says:

    But the ward is still supposed to track visits month by month. That’s not necessarily to note if a given family was visited in a specific month, but to get an idea of how often visits have occurred. (See my example above about six telephone calls in a row – you’d think the visiting teacher would have tried to make _one_ personal visit?)

  62. I have a love/hate relationship about HT & VT. I figured out how the system works. I have seen the good it does, I have seen the bad/waste of time.

    My husband prays every month about which of his 4 families he should visit, knowing he could only get to 1 or 2 in any given month. Once when he was in grad school, in the bishopric and had a high stress job as well as a young family. One family he visited 3 months in a row. Out of the blue, the father in this family passed away. He said if he had looked at the numbers, he would have logically said that he already had visited that family enough and needed to visit the other families he had been neglecting. But since he was trying to listen to the Lord, he was where he needed to be. I have tried to follow his example ever since.

  63. Sorry about the incoherency of my last comment. I was trying to take out all of my cynical lines, but overlooked one. So here is my cynical comment in full:

    I figured out how the system works. If I kill myself and do 100% VT, I am “rewarded” with another sister to VT. So I shoot for about 75-80% now and I haven’t had a new sister added in years!

  64. Steve, Scott, and Rusty are back with us? This is almost as good as women praying in Conference!

  65. Thanks, Kevin, for providing the fodder for such a robust discussion on this topic. I actually am a social scientist (and non-LDS) who is including HT and VT in my current research. Look for my upcoming book with Edwin-Mellen Press–working title “The Place of Family Within the LDS Church.”

  66. Cranky Day says:

    Because I’m not in a position to do anything about HT and VT programs coming or going one way or another, here’s a tip that makes a difference today. Switch to doing it electronically. We use a program with our EQ and RS reporting called “Return and Report.org”. I paid the 20 bucks to start it up (because I wanted the bishop to see how it worked, and sometimes people get hung up over any extra costs), and now practically the whole stake uses it. We used to have 7 districts (meaning, 7 people had to make 10 difficult-to-catch phone calls to coerce people into reporting each month). Now we have 1 “phone” district for those without computers, and the rest get automated reminders to email or text, anytime reporting, and lots of space for information to be shared with the Presidents of EQ and RS in confidence via a comment box that only goes to them.

    As long as we have HT and VT, well…as long as I’m in charge of reporting the glorious numbers on time each month…we will be using ReturnandReport.org. It’s been 4 years and it’s golden. I’m singing its praises because it made my calling 100% better on the reporting side (no more printing lists! I can do almost all of it at home!). No more hounding people on the phone (half the phone numbers aren’t listed on LDS.org anyway, because most families use cell phones now and don’t want those numbers out, or just don’t know how to update their lds.org profile). Texting and emailing are much, much better when we’re dealing with something that most, not all, LDS adults lack time or inclination to do promptly.

  67. Kevin Barney says:

    Kris, sounds like an interesting project. Let us know when your book comes out.

    Cranky Day, you reminded me that at an EQ party many years ago (early 80s, pre-PC world) one of the presentations was a “commercial” for a product called the Home Teach-a-matic. It looked like a radar antenna; you just point it in the direction of the family you wish to “visit,” punch in some data, and the machine does the HTing for you. It was a really funny bit. I had never heard of returnandreport.org, but it almost sounds like my friend’s funny commercial come to life!

  68. I’ve always LOVED visiting teaching. It’s rarely easy or convenient, but I’m otherwise terrible at making friends. Visiting teaching makes sure I know about 5 sisters in the ward by name (teachers, teachees, and companion). Home teaching, on the other hand, has always been a pain in my neck. I hate having to make time for my home teachers and I hate having to give my husband up on Sundays so that he can do his home teaching. Once, in a singles ward, I had a zealous home teacher who insisted on doing PPI’s with me and each of my eight roommates. Oh and my ward also uses returnandreport.org and I LOVE it.

  69. James L says:

    “Rather than reporting whether we have been to visit someone else we should be asked whether we have been visited by our HT. Shifting the emphasis on reporting toward those who are supposedly being served might change how we go about our responsibilities.”

    Excellent thought Aaron. We have not had a visit in 12 months, yet my HTs have reported a whopping great 11 visits to us in that time. I’ve not challenged the record (one of my HTs is a good friend), but I wonder how it would pan out if I was rating the visit…

    Visits should be a natural fruit of love for others. It’s sad that the measurement has become more important than the principle for many

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