Favorite and Most Difficult Church Callings

Jeff SpectorMormon 40 Comments

What have been your favorite and most difficult Callings you’ve had at Church?

In some cases, they may be one and the same, but likely, they are different.

In my case, my all-time favorite was the Stake Director of Public Relations. I only held the calling for a short time because we moved out of state.

I looked at it as a two-fold adventure. One was to do subtle missionary work by promoting the activities of the Church in our area.  The other was to raise the visibility of the Church in our area and demonstrate our willingness to be a positive part of the community.

In my short time, we held a community event featuring the local Opera Company, participated as volunteers at the annual jazz festival, placed several articles in the newspapers and promoted, on a region-wide basis, the showing of the Sacred Stone PBS special that played on our local PBS station.

As part of the Stake’s 50th anniversary, I created a logo and wrote 52 weekly blurbs for the ward newsletters, highlighting a particular aspect of the Stake history.  That was incredibly interesting to learn about the Stake history. As you can tell, I really enjoyed that calling as I was able to utilize some of the skills I learned at work for the Church.

My most difficult calling had to be as Elder’s Quorum President. It is one of those in the Ward that has a tremendous amount of responsibility, second only to the Bishop and on par with the Relief Society President. Here you have the Keys of the Priesthood, responsibility for roughly half the ward and get very little respect.  You not only try to manage the Elders in the Ward, motivating them to do their home teaching, family responsibilities and other things in the Ward, but you are also the ward moving company and go to “heavy-lifting” group.  You attend countless meeting and time away from family.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that calling too as we saw progress in improving the home teaching and seeing lives changing for the better, but it is a most difficult one to juggle all the activities, family and job.

So, what have been you favorites and most difficult? And why?

Comments 40

  1. I think hardest job I ever had was at BYU, teaching Gospel Doctrine. It was when my serious questioning of the Church started in earnest and really thought I was cracking up. I clearly remember asking the bishopric member “You’re telling me you feel inspired to pick me?” (because I was so close to packing up and walking away). I figured if there were a God and He wanted me in this calling, knowing what He knew about me, I guess I could be okay with it; and if there wasn’t a God, then what did it matter? The hardest part was teaching only what I believed fully. Every Sunday I was physically ill. Now, 20+ years later, it’s been a long road, and only in the last 4 years or so am I finally comfortable in my faith. I have to say I love my job now. I’m the Primary Secretary; unlike some, I provide one or two Sharing Time lessons a month. I love being with the kids, especially Senior Primary. I love teaching basic gospel principles, engaging the kids and gently trying to address the things I remember struggling with when I was that age.

  2. My hardest calling was as Webelos Pack Leader, or whatever they’re called. I hate Scouts, and always have. I told them that when they extended the calling. I said I would do my best, but not to expect great things. I sucked at the calling and the boys hated me. I hated trying to come up with things for them to do every week. I tried to be a good leader, but I just hated every minute of it. The leaders above me got mad at me because I didn’t know when to tell my boya to wear their Class A uniforms vs. “Utilities”. It lasted about a year and before they replaced me, but I was the worst Webelos Leader ever.

    Don’t give people calling they know that they’ll suck at. Sheesh.

  3. I loved being 11 yo scout leader, but only because my kid was in it. We went camping together. I would hate this calling if I didn’t have a boy in the group though.

  4. By far the most difficult calling for me was/is Activities Chair. I almost never attend ward functions outside of Sunday services, and trying to come up with activities that will be fun makes me feel like vomiting.

    My favorite calling was in the nursery. I got to play with toys and eat snacks for two hours each week and made friends that I knew would never gossip about me.

  5. scw and Chris, I guess this just goes to show that there is no bad calling, just bad people for some callings. scw, my son was in my 11 year-old troop and I still hated it. And I liked the boys, it was just the calling I couldn’t stand. Both my boys now love scouts, and that’s fine by me. We support them as much as they need and I even go camping with them from time to time. But they’re much happier with GOOD leaders in Scouts.

    Chris, my wife lobbied to get on the Activities Committee and loved it. We had some of the best Activities with her in that calling. I’m not saying you’re wrong about it being a bad calling, though. You were just the wrong person for it.

  6. gospel doctrine teacher has been my favorite calling. I am currently webelos leader, and I don’t like it much, but I am trying to do my best. the boys seem to like it, and all the active boys have received the arrow of light. the bishop knows I don’t like the calling, but for now I am stuck. at least the church doesn’t allow webelos to go camping, so that is nice. it could be worse.

    eq counselor and ward mission leader were no picnic either. membership clerk has been a fun no stress calling. as sunday school pres in a singles ward I used to invite all the teachers over for breakfast for a monthly inservice. that was fun, but I doubt it would work well in a family ward.

    activities leader was fun until I ran out of ideas. then it became a drudgery. ward librarian was boring, but nice to hang out with my infant that was too young for nursery. I sibbed in nursery quite a bit. nursery wasn’t a fun calling for me.

  7. I think the hardest thing I ever went through was was when I was finance clerk and the Bishop somehow decided he would call me to be a stake missionary at the same time and not release me from the finance clerk thing. That bishop must have thought I was superman or some crap. Then the Elders Quorum President gave me TWELVE inactive home teaching families. Then my companion would never show up, so I just utterly gave up in despair. Needless to say, I utterly failed the stake missionary thing in despair and barely kept my sanity trying to keep up with the finance clerk thing. I lost my temper at the stake guy from the High Council that came to audit the finances when he had the audacity to question why things weren’t in perfect order, and shortly thereafter I was released. I am fairly certain that that situation that the Bishop put me in was NOT inspired. But thank goodness I know the Church is true in spite of junk like that.

  8. Like Jeff, my most difficult was EQ president. HP and Elders had met together until then, so it was uncharted territory for me. Plus our active Elders usually had other callings (YM, primary teacher) so our numbers were few.

    I’ve been Music director for almost 5 years and it’s been my best calling.

  9. I like teaching callings (Gospel Doctrine, Relief Society, Primary — been there 4+ years now, to end in December). I also enjoyed my Scouting callings (though I like serving in Scouting in district positions better than in ward positions). Choir accompanist is a joy. And any calling in Primary, both stake and ward, is a pleasure.

    As a non-sports interested introvert I would not be a good choice for activities committee or sports anything; fortunately, I’ve never been more than on a committee for that kind of thing.

    My new one (got set apart just last week) has me trembling in my boots though: Choir Director. Sing, I can do. Play the piano, I can do. Pitch lead, do sign language, and smile brightly at singing children, I can do. But bring in sections and give cut-offs… not so much. At last, I have a calling that challenges me to do something I’ve not been doing for 20 years, and it scares me to death!

  10. Favorite – 2nd Counselor in a Student Ward Bishopric. I love working with college age kids and really enjoyed counseling with them as they found their place in the world.

    2nd favorite – Primary Pianist – It’s fun to be able to goof around with the songs (jazz them up a bit) and the kids love it.

    Least favorite – Scoutmaster

  11. Favorite — bishopric counselor (a lot of work, but I felt I actually did some good)

    Hardest — ward mission leader. Finding people for the missionaries to teach is hard.

  12. Like Jeff, most challenging was probably EQP.

    I’m currently community relations czar on the public affairs council, which is indeed a really good gig. But my favorite would probably be GD, which I’ve done in three different wards, although it has been awhile since I’ve held that calling. I always overprepare, which leads to burnout. I love the calling, but at about 2.5 years I’m begging to get out.

  13. Favorite: Stake Choir director. Although primary pianist comes in a very very close second.
    Hardest: Ward Choir director. There was little to no support from the ward leadership to actually have a good choir. It was so frustrating trying to get at least one person on each part. And then get the bishopbric to tell me more than two weeks before Christmas that they want the choir to do the whole Christmas Program. 2 weeks notice is not enough. 2 months notice is not enough. 3-4 is better!

  14. Favorite: Teachers Quorum Advisor and Varsity Scout Coach, 7 years. 14-15 is a pivotal age for boys. Altho hectic and tough at times, the payoff is that now these same boys are Scoutmasters, EQ presidents and counselors, in bishoprics, and good fathers. Most of the boys, anyway.

    Least: Home Teacher (Dare I say it?)

  15. Hardest: YM President. 60-70+ YM. Endless pointless meetings. Numerous hours gone from my family. Always having to plan new activities. Glad when that was done, although the YM were great and I made many good friends with the youth.

    Favorite: Jr Primary teacher. Don’t have to get into problematic areas of church history. Takes 5 minutes to prepare a lesson.

  16. My favorite and hardest were the same — bishop. The rewards were astounding. The costs were huge. Things work that way, I guess.

    Aside from that, my first run at ward mission leader (back when we still had stake 70’s organizations) was a disaster because I just didn’t know what to do, and I pretty much would have preferred to do anything else. I’ve been WML twice since then (including now) and it’s been better.

    I love to teach — probably my favorite was teaching a YSA institute class in our ward as part of a High Council assignment. It was cool to challenge young minds, and to have them challenge me. And since it was a stake class (and not too closely supervised by anyone but me, the HC rep) we did a lot of fun stuff beyond the “standard” curriculum.

  17. I’ve neither had a favorite nor a challenging calling, ever, unless you count my mission.

    How pitiful is that?

    Absolute worst possible callings would theoretically be nursery leader or scout anything. I am terrified of small children when they form into mobs, and the smell of graham crackers and urine makes me want to puke (and this from a vet-med major who doesn’t mind animal smells in the least) and I am ethically opposed to the church/scout affiliation.

    Best would theoretically be anything where I got to teach. I love guiding group discussions.

  18. Post

    “Aside from that, my first run at ward mission leader (back when we still had stake 70′s organizations) was a disaster because I just didn’t know what to do, and I pretty much would have preferred to do anything else.’

    I knew we had something in common. I was less than two year convert to the Church when I had this calling. I had 70’s who would baptize a statue or a tree, if they could have gotten away with it. One taught lessons out of the first edition of Mormon doctrine (need I say, what he taught) until I forbid him from teaching the investigator class eve again. Did get my eyes open real wide with how the Church really worked in ward and stake meetings. WOW, was I surprised. Also had to shave my beard for that calling. But when e moved and I was just a 70, I grew it back. It was a short time later than President Benson saved me.

  19. 20 Jeff — in my first time ’round, I was WML without being a 70. Yet I “led” the 70’s group in my ward, including a counselor in the Stake Mission Presidency, and my old deacon’s quorum advisor from when I was a kid (I felt like one then, too!). I sure felt like a fish out of water.

    Some of that was me; I probably could have done more to “learn my duty”, but some was the disfunctional nature of the organization at the time. Just after I was released came the change of moving stake 70’s to the other quorums.

  20. Primary Pianist goes down as leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t really have to practice the songs, although I did. I felt like a trained monkey…open to this song and play. I wasn’t asked to contribute to the creativity of the chorister’s program at all, just play. Like my days of being IN primary, the constant repetition of the songs that were practiced for the program burned me out on them. I got sooooooo tired of playing “A Child’s Prayer.”

    On the bright side, I didn’t have to prepare a lesson, tell anyone to be quiet, or give any assignments. And, there was that free time of wandering the halls during sharing times. In fact, now that I reminisce…I guess I’m ready to do it again!

  21. Aqui en Chile, la Iglesia es nueva (aun) y un miembro puede tener facil 4 llamamientos en el año.
    El que mas me gustò fue el de Lider Misional de Barrio, ya que yo no fui misionero y querìa pagar en parte esa deuda con Dios (me bauticè mayor) y el mas dificil es el de ser miembro de una presidencia de Estaca (fui 9 años 1º Consejero) ya que es muy administrativo y tienes que lidiar con lideres que a veces son mayores que tu.


  22. I’ve been sunday school president twice, it wasn’t really hard, it was mostly logistics making sure people had the right manuals and each class had a teacher.

    My wife is currently the senior nursery leader with about a dozen kids 2.5 – 3 years old. She brought order out of chaos. She runs a tight ship, has songs, prayer, a lesson, snacks, sensible play (no free for all), and a craft or coloring activity. I help her during the singing time, she says a male voice helps keep their attention.

    YM presidency, we had four boys. On a typical Sunday there were three or four boys, three members of the YM presidency, two members of the bishopric, and one member of the stake YM presidency who was in our ward – all in one little class (basically the “quorums” were combined into one meeting), I think it was intimidating for the boys.

    Primary teacher was actually always challenging. I taught the ten year olds, they were a handful, and I taught the four year olds. The hardest part about that class was having my own son in it, and he didn’t understand the how or why he should act differently in class with his dad, then at home wrestling with his dad.

  23. Worst calling: the only one I’ve had so far- Male YSA rep. I just moved up to Johannesburg, and I find I’m the second youngest in a group of 30+ YSA with a modal age of about 26 ( the mean is higher as some older single adults still join us). Moving from a seaside resort town with 8 YSA I grew up with, to my current situation has been tough. And sucking at constructive creative ideas doesn’t help. Neither does the CHI being quiet on the issue help much as well.

    Best calling: N/a. Im only 18.

  24. The best calling ever for me was as Primary pianist. The music leader and I were definitely a partnership and I got to play fun songs (often with alternative rhythms) and listen to children sing for two hours every Sunday.

    Absolute worst calling–my husband as bishop, with four young children and a small farm to run. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

  25. Most difficult: youth teacher; second most difficult: Bishop -just because of the time involved.

    Easiest: high councilman -easy to hide anywhere throughout the stake, give a talk every two months and everything was OK!

  26. Hardest–Scoutmaster. Without good assistants and no boys of my own in the program, this turned out to be a heavy load requiring an incredible time commitment. I love the ideal of scouting; it was just this particular application fell far short.

    Easiest–Troop Comittee Chair. Fill out tour permits, conduct Boards of Review, and help out occasionally when asked. Great gig.

  27. I am enjoying being Primary president; I love being with the kids and teaching them. However, it is a huge pain trying to keep it staffed. Primary, nursery, achievement days, and cubs easily has more callings than any other auxilliary in the ward. And if you have a slow moving bishopric it is almost never fully staffed.

    My least favorite calling, though, was cubmaster. I am just not cheesy enough for it.

  28. Mine has to be my curent role as HPGL. As a 28 year old I struggle being in a room of men where my presence brings the average age down to 117. The Spirit of Elijah has not penetrated my heart as it has with others and the whole calling kind of grates on me!

  29. Post

    #31, I love HP Group because it is the only place in church to get into wild doctrinal discussions and it doesn’t seem to bother those that are sleeping one bit. 🙂

  30. #31: John D

    You just need to move to Utah. At least in my ward, there is such a plethora of people who are qualified for and actually want to be in leadership positions that there are many, many people in our EQ in their 40s (me included) and into their 50s as well. Every so often, they basically just make people High Priests for no other reason than they are in their 50s-60s with grandkids, etc just to keep them with their peer group. So I’ve never been stuck in HP. And in reality, I’ve probably only been to EQ for 12 months at the most in the past 6-7 years anyway given callings in YM and Primary.

  31. Best – all teaching callings, but especially teaching the adults (RS or GD, both are where I’ve spent most of my time too).

    Worst – My current calling as nursery leader. It’s very active, stressful (trying to keep it staffed, never knowing whether we’ll have enough help), noisy & smelly, and I go home exhausted yet relieved. It’s never as bad as I imagine it to be, but all day Saturday I’m dreading it.

    I dreaded being called in to cub scouts, but I actually really did enjoy it. That was just because my son was in my den, and it was fun to work with him and the other boys. Pack leader was also pretty fun. I’m not a fan of activities committee or enrichment, though.

  32. I was going to add that now that I’m in my 40s, I think I’m in a mid-life crisis when it comes to callings. Having been an active adult for over 20 years, I’ve pretty much done almost everything there is to do at least once. So it’s not that exciting to get a new calling anymore.

    I forgot my absolute worst – Camp Director. But I would have enjoyed that if my daughter had been a YW at the time. Instead I was 8 months pregnant with her.

  33. I’m a bit late to the party but at least I can still contribute.

    Best calling – Assistant Ward Clerk, a calling I had THREE times in a row for my first three years of college. While the title was the same I had a different responsibility each year: finances, then statistics and finally as ward website administrator. All of these were right up my alley because I am a left-brained person who majored in computer science and minored in math with several independent web projects as well so I learned what I had to do quickly and did it well.

    Worst calling – Pretty much any time I ever held a leadership position or one where I don’t do what I do best in working behind the scenes. I am NOT a sociable person and don’t have a lot of charisma so getting people rallied together is bad enough but feels even worse when something goes wrong; it also never helped that I could never get people to attend any planning meetings and ended up doing a great chunk of work solo. My last calling was like this and has ever been the only one I requested to be released from.

  34. I’ll also speak for my mother.

    Best calling: Primary teacher, especially with the 7-8 year olds. She’s held her current position for four years and two changes in the presidency.

    Worst calling: Anything else.

  35. One of my most favorite callings was ward Executive Secretary. I got to meet all the members, because at one point or another, the bishop wanted to see everyone.
    One of the most difficult, but also most rewarding, was Young Men’s president in a small, isolated branch. For most of the time I had not counselors, but I grew to love the young men and, hopefully, was a positive influence on them.
    I’m currently Stake Clerk; good calling.

  36. Compassionate Service Coordinator (two of us)…I hate this calling! I reluctantly accepted it as I was called to it years ago in another ward and it didn’t go very well. Every time something is needed to be set up, it’s always last second. You can’t help people dying, but I find I am not a spontaneous person. I like to plan and have time to plan. I am crawling out of my skin with this calling. It’s going against my grain in spite of lots of prayers and attempts at “attitude” adjustments. I love the gospel. I serve others with sincerity. I am self-employed and end up providing a lot of mental service through it. I feel drained. I don’t know what to do other than possibly ask to be released from it. I have wondered what in the world is wrong with me! So frustrated.

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