Jeff Borders joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 19, and since then has had many opportunities to serve in various capacities. His wife, Crystyne, was integral to his conversion while they were dating, and he believes her to be one of the best missionaries he has ever met. When not serving at Church, Jeff works as the Manager of Respiratory Therapy and Clinical Informatics at a rural hospital, and the Training Lieutenant for his local volunteer fire station. He has a passion for educating and co-instructs many of the training classes for nursing and respiratory staff at his hospital. Jeff writes regularly for This Week in Mormons.

Enter Jeff…

If you are anything like me, having one more piece of paper to keep track of from a meeting is just a pain. Whether at work or at church, I find those papers get tucked away and rarely looked at again. If I can digitize things, it tends to work out better for me. I’ve sat through any number of meetings both at work and in church where an agenda is passed out. I make a few notes on it, mainly tasks for myself, and then with the best of intentions to look back at it, yet I rarely look at them again.

This has always left me thinking, there has to be a better way of doing this.

We reorganized our Bishopric at the beginning of the year and I was called again to serve as a counselor, but this time there was one major difference. The Bishop wanted us to try the task management software, Trello, instead of using printed agendas. I didn’t have anything to lose (they have a free option), and it seemed like maybe I had found a solution to my problem.

What I’ve found by using it is a much better system, at least for me.  That is not to say that any previous leaders did anything wrong, just that we have so much wonderful technology around us to help us in our callings, that we’d be remiss if we didn’t use it.

In this article I’ll explain the 6 boards we use as a Bishopric and maybe there will be something here that will help another leader out who experiences some of the same feelings that I was having.

Our Bishopric Board

As we use Trello, our bishopric agenda for our meetings on Sunday includes different lists and within those lists we add different cards for items that we need to address. For our bishopric, our lists currently consist of;

  • Ward Youth Council Agenda Items,
  • Agenda Items,
  • Sacrament Announcements & Business,
  • To Do,
  • In Progress and
  • Done

As you can see from the screen shot below, we then add cards under the lists that address different items we need to know about or that we need to consider. For example, under Sacrament Announcements and Business we’ll list the speakers for the month and the hymns. Inside each card we can then give additional details, even tagging each other in comments if one of us needs a follow up or answer a question that we have. We also can assign the card to a given member of the bishopric. These items then move through the next lists; “To Do, In Progress,” and eventually to the “Done” category where they will be archived.

Our Callings Board

This one is a huge piece of our bishopric. Having this board, allows us to have discussions outside of a formal bishopric meeting in regards to callings. We can have separate conversations about a particular calling in the comments of a card, without those conversations getting lost in a long text thread filled with any number of other items. This keeps all our discussion compartmentalized to a specific topic. This then allows us to come to bishopric meeting prepared to move on most callings and also allows more time in bishopric to discuss other matters that may need addressing.

We break this board down into 6 lists;

  • Callings To Fill,
  • People Who Need Callings,
  • To Extend/Release Calling,
  • To Sustain/Release,
  • To Be Set Apart, and
  • Enter into LCR.

Callings can be assigned to the counselor or bishop based on area of responsibility. This helps us to not forget whether someone was sustained or released in Sacrament meeting, and who we still need to set apart.

Our Adult and Youth Temple Recommend Interviews Board

Our executive secretary is the key part to this board, as he is the one that enters the cards for individuals needing recommends and moves them from

  • Expiring This Month to
  • Expired Less Than 3 Months to
  • Expired Over 3 Months.

From there, the bishopric member doing the interview will assign a specific card to themselves and move the card from “Scheduled To be Done to Completed/Waiting for Stake Interview.” Once we see that the person has met with the Stake, we archive that card.

The youth temple recommend board varies slightly from the adult board, as it only has:

  • Expiring This Month
  • Expired.
  • New Youth for the Bishop
  • Need to be Printed and
  • Need to be Handed Out

Our Youth Interview Board

The General Handbook states:

“The bishop interviews each young man and young woman at least annually. If possible, he interviews each 16- and 17-year-old twice a year. If this is not possible, he assigns a counselor to conduct some of these interviews. After the annual interview with the bishop, each young man and young woman ages 11–15 usually has an interview at another time during the year with the counselor in the bishopric who oversees the Aaronic Priesthood quorum or Young Women class in which the youth participates.”

As such we use another Trello board to keep us organized, with the executive secretary creating the cards for individual youth and placing them in the appropriate list based on assigned bishopric member. We then can make notes on interviews and keep track of what we have to do and what we’ve completed in our regular 6 month cycle of interviews.

Our Ward Council Board

After working out the kinks of Trello with the bishopric, we introduced it to the ward council and now use it in place of a printed agenda as well. We’ll bring the Trello board up on a TV in the bishop’s office for the ward council to view. They can also follow along on their devices and make notes in real time as we discuss things.

Just like our bishopric meeting agenda, we can have detailed conversations on different topics without long text threads or strings of emails, thus keeping ourselves well organized. This is only a small sampling of what is on our ward council board, but we have found good success with using this for communication and productivity.

Beyond our bishopric, the ward clerk has adopted Trello to use with the membership clerk and the relief society president has adopted it for her organization.

While I’m sure there are downfalls to using technology, the ability to have conversations outside of formal meetings has greatly enhanced our ability to carry out our callings and be out ministering like we are called to be doing. This may not be the perfect solution for everyone, but some might find it worth trying. And if not Trello, other apps like Slack or Asana provide similar features for task management.

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