Prior: Part 13: Put on Your Training Pants and Let’s Get Started

Over the years, I have developed the following rules to ensure the digital tools’ success. All you have to do is follow them when you enter an event on one of the calendars or manage the calendars. Using them will solve and prevent a lot of problems. These basic rules can be used as a quick reference guide/checklist.

Here’s today's checklist:
  • All stake calendars and events should start with “Stake.”
  • When wards share buildings, each event should start with an acronym.
  • Enter all callings in the LCR as Standard/Regular callings and not Custom callings.
  • Set up calendars on the basis of callings and not people’s names.
The Church has endorsed and adopted some of the rules I have come up with over the years. You can verify what I’m suggesting by looking up the links I’ve provided. Some of the guidance I’ve copied directly from the Church’s instructions. It will be encased in quotes. The guidance I’ve summarized or paraphrased will not contain quotes but I will provide a link. I’ll note where the rest comes from in the text.

All stake calendars and events should start with “Stake.”

“Always include “Stake” in the name of stake calendars so they can be distinguished from ward calendars.” link

Surely, I don’t have to convince anyone that people need to know what is a stake calendar and what isn’t. Not including it could make it impossible to distinguish between stake and ward calendars. For example, people have to know if something is a Stake Primary event versus a Ward Primary event.

When wards share buildings, each event should start with an acronym.

“When you have wards sharing buildings, it is helpful to have the ward’s initials at the beginning of an event title. That way, when you view the building calendar, which has events for multiple wards, it will be easier to see which events belong to a certain ward. If wards forget to use this naming convention, the building scheduler can rename the event to include it.” link

I addressed this a bit before. Even in a ward that had its own building, having the acronym will be useful in distinguishing building events like facilities cleaning and private events as well as training people properly for the future if they move or the ward suddenly gets split.

Most acronyms should be no-brainers. My ward uses FW1 for Fort Wayne 1st Ward. However, I think this is the only time you should ever use acronyms on the calendar system. Acronyms and abbreviations are not understood by everyone and they are real barriers for new members.

Enter all callings in the LCR as Standard/Regular callings and not Custom callings.

This is my assessment from my digital perspective as Ward Technology Specialist, my training in library and information science and my knowledge of how the Church’s technology tools work.

This is the ward clerk’s job when he enters callings into the LCR. However, if it is not done properly, it becomes everybody’s headache, especially the person holding the calling.

The computer will automatically endow people with the necessary computer privileges to do their callings if Standard/Regular callings are used. In addition, they will have instant access to all the necessary calendars. If not, they are shut out of nearly everything.

Custom callings can create enormous headaches, for the ward as well as for the individuals, especially in the digital age. Here are the main ones:

People are unfamiliar with the responsibilities. It’s hard enough knowing what people with Regular/Standard callings are supposed to do. For example, until Ward Technology Specialist became a Regular/Standard my responsibilities were simply given to me by the Bishop. Luckily, they corresponded to what the Church stipulated almost exactly when it became a Regular/Standard calling.

You can’t find out what your responsibilities are because the Church only logs in Regular/Standard callings. The “My Calling” link on your Dashboard when you log into your account will be empty of any guidance and resources if you have a Custom calling.

They don’t allow for any computer privileges. Computer privileges are only bestowed on Regular/Custom callings. It’s not possible for local or stake leaders to change this situation. Church headquarters decides who gets computer privileges and who doesn’t

It puts you out of the communication loop for the Church and the local units. For example, as soon as Ward Technology Specialist became Regular/Standard, I got an email from church headquarters telling me about my responsibilities and access as well as asking what resources I need and want to perform my calling. That won’t happen with a Custom calling.

Custom callings aren’t included on the “Send an Email” function on LCR. You won’t be part of any organized group that is targeted for relevant emails because the computer doesn’t recognize your calling.

People can’t find the training or resources they need to function in their calling. For example, we have Spanish interpreters because we have Spanish speakers. They often get slotted into the LCR as “translators” in Custom callings which isn’t accurate. The Church has resources for “interpreters” but not “translators.” However, I’m not certain if there are any Regular/Standards callings for “interpreters” but you need to get the terms right in order to find the training and other resources on the website anyway.

They languish on the directory, often as dead categories because no one knows what to do with them or why they were entered that way in the first place.

It creates duplication when someone finally enters them as a Regular/Standard calling but fails to delete the same title under a Custom calling.

Set up calendars on the basis of callings and not people’s names.

“When editors are added, it is highly recommended that you add them by calling rather than by name.” link link

When the calling changes hands, the calendar privileges will change too, automatically.

If they are manually added, somebody somewhere will have to correct things. Often, this never gets done. Automatic is much better!

For example, in one ward, a couple were assigned as Building Cleaning Coordinators. They were slotted in as Custom callings in the LCR. Unfortunately, they had to manually be given access to the Building Cleaning calendar with their names. When they are released, they will manually have to be removed.

If they had been slotted in as Building Representatives, a Standard/Regular calling, they could have had instant access to the calendar as well as any communication/training the Church sends out.

The Ward Clerk told me this was done because they could not handle any building scheduling/cleaning responsibilities because of ill health and age. This is certainly understandable given how things were done in the past. Currently, Building Representatives have no responsibility for building scheduling anymore so this fear was unfounded.

They can function as only building cleaning coordinators while slotted in as Building Representatives. This would give them the access and communication they need without changing their duties.

What’s more, the clerk that told me all this was their son. He got realigned into another ward and this history will be lost to new local leaders which could confuse things in the future.

Next: Part 15: Rules to Calendar and Live By: Some More

Assignment for Leaders: Review the calendars you've got. If you have the power:
  • to insert the correct acronym in the title for some event(s) do it! 
  • determine the custom callings that exist and see if there is a Standard/Regular calling these members should be moved to.
  • make certain people are listed as Calendar Editors by calling, not name, unless absolutely necessary.
Assignment for Members: If you currently have a calling, determine if you serve in a Custom calling or a Regular/Standard calling. You may have to contact a Clerk to find out. If you are in a Custom calling, ask to be moved to a Regular/Standard calling if one exists.

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