10 Common Ward Activities That Are Actually Bad Ideas

Some Activities Are Bad and Some Become Bad When Taken to Excess

Potluck Buffet Table
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Church activities at the local level seem to go in and out of fashion. Often, activities are planned simply because people want to do them, not because they help facilitate a desirable goal.

Bringing ward members together, fostering fellowship and so forth, are desirable goals. However, these goals are not automatically achieved just because an activity is held.

Poorly planned, and poorly executed, activities can encourage cliques to form, members to be excluded, offense to occur and burdens placed on families and individuals.

The Church gives local leaders flexibility in addressing the needs of the local flock, provided basic guidelines are followed. Consider how the following common activities can be destructive.

Talent Show

Heavenly Father has given us all talents. They should be fostered and encouraged. However, a local talent show generally fosters competition and judgmental attitudes. In addition, only a few talents ever get showcased, generally ones that are musical.

We should use talents to bless each others' lives. Performances generally do not do that. By all means, seek to use and share talents. Focus on ways to do so that does not cultivate arrogant, conceited little show offs.

Pot Luck Meal

What could possibly be wrong with the Mormon tradition of food? Well, most pot luck meals are skewed to benefit the resources of families with four or more people in them.

Single people do not generally have food preparation and serving dishes for anything other than really limited needs.

Also, singles do not generally buy food in the quantities necessary for a pot luck dish.

In order to participate, singles must make a special trip to the grocery store to obtain the amounts of food expected at a pot luck meal.

Some of these problems can be minimized by careful planning. Telling singles to come anyway, because there is always enough food, is not a solution to the inherent problem.

Plan pot lucks so that everyone can easily participate. Also, keep in mind that a lot of people have allergies, food intolerances and specific food needs.

Linger Longer

Linger Longers are generally pot luck meals held after the three hour meeting block on Sunday. Typical days include Fast Sunday and the fifth Sunday.

They have all the negatives of a pot luck meal with one added problem. They morph into elaborate, savory dishes cooking away in crock pots with their smells wafting through the entire building during regular worship services.

People sometimes skip church to cook something to bring to the Linger Longer. In addition, people may feel guilty about attending church unless they bring food.

To avoid these problems, limit it to cold meats, finger foods and other dishes that can be prepared the night before and do not assail tender nostrils when we are all trying to concentrate on spiritual things.

Fashion Show

How can this sort of activity be held without encouraging people to focus on and overemphasize appearances?

There is nothing in LDS beliefs that suggests this is a good idea, only a bad one.

Game Night

Most games nights never have a gospel centered purpose, which is what the Handbook encourages.

It is a contradiction to disparage computer games but encourage ward game nights.

Any games take up time that could be directed to a better purpose. If it costs people's time, make certain it is a worthy purpose.

Trip to Nauvoo/EFY/Time Out For Women Etc.

There is nothing inherently wrong with these activities. However, wards and stakes are planning elaborate Nauvoo trips that either blow entire budgets or make it necessary to raid every auxiliaries' budget to fund them.

These types of activities are discouraged in the Handbook. Once is an exception. More than that is intentional disobedience.

Activities like Especially For Youth and Time Out For Women foster the idea that spirituality can be purchased. Unfortunately, this means that it can be purchased only by those with money to do it. Leave them to their own publicity efforts and the discretion of individual members.

Scrapbooking

We should preserve our memories. We have been told to keep journals and share our histories with our posterity. However, this does not mean we have to spend large amounts of money doing it.

Scrapbooking is just one option. Frankly, in a digital world, it is a rather poor option. Digital options have exploded exponentially. Do not lead people to think that scrapbooking is endorsed by the Church.

Christmas Party

Christmas parties inevitably emphasize the commercial aspects of Christmas, rather than celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Make Christ's birth the focus and you will probably decide that most typical ideas distract from this sacred purpose, rather than build on it.

Emergency Preparedness Fair

This activity has been done to excess. Most people have piles of paper on this subject they have picked up at prior fairs. Most people never read or apply the information they have.

When they do read it and try to apply it all, they discover that much of the information they have conflicts with itself. They do not know what to believe and they do not know how to resolves these contradictions.

Sadly, much of the information spread at these fairs comes from unreliable sources. Few of these fairs have competent people involved.

Family History Fair

In the past, these sorts of events made sense. On a paper system, or one augmented with microfilm, you could adequately instruct people on how to do the basics.

Currently, the Church has made so many training videos and other helps that it is simply redundant to duplicate all this at the local level. People can find digital assistance at their fingertips. Local events like this do not need to be held any more.

Use care in whatever way you encourage local fellowship in the Church. Good intentions do not automatically result in good activities.