In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a "calling" is a position or assignment in which members have been asked to serve or perform. Members are called of God to serve each other, and all callings are important. Callings are voluntary, are issued by the proper authority, and are usually for a few years.
There is a specific process in which callings are issued. First the person who presides over a calling will carefully ponder and prayerfully consider the name of an individual. They submit that person's name to the proper priesthood authority (such as a Bishop) who also prayerfully considers the recommendation. Once spiritual approval has been received the calling is extended to the individual. When a person is extended a calling they either accept or reject it. Members are encouraged to accept callings because they are from God, and the services they will perform are also for their own benefit and growth.
Called of God:
All callings that have gone through the proper process come from God. The Fifth Article of Faith
states this belief:
"We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances
When a calling is issued the rest of the congregation (usually during Sacrament
Meeting) sustains (or supports) that person. After the regular services are over the person is set apart for their calling. Setting apart is when the proper priesthood authorities place their hands on the person's head and give them a blessing.
Callings are Voluntary:
All service in the LDS Church is voluntary because we have a lay ministry, rather than paid clergy, and members do not receive wages or other compensation for their time.
The organization of the LDS Church is not a corporate ladder to be climbed, but is guided and directed by Jesus Christ through his prophet
, apostles and other church leaders. (See What is a Prophet?
Duration of Service:
Generally members serve in their callings for a few years, although how long they will be asked to serve is unknown. Once their time of service ends, or if the individual moves, they are released from the calling by the proper authority and a new member is called in their place. On rare occasion a calling may last for several years, sometimes even decades, but generally this is not the case. A few callings, that of the Prophet
, are for their entire lifetime and only after their death will a new prophet or apostle be called. (See "LDS Church Presidents
" to learn more about the succession of LDS Prophets.)
All Callings are Important:
One calling is not considered more important than another. Each has its duties and responsibilities that are vital to the progress and advancement of the Lord's work. Not only do callings give members of the LDS Church a chance to serve one another but they are an opportunity to personally learn and grow. The Apostle Paul taught this truth in Romans 12:3-5
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
LDS Church Presidencies:
Callings in a presidency include a president and two counselors. A secretary is usually called as well to help assist a presidency, although they are not actually a part of the presidency. There are several presidencies within the LDS Church, some of which are listed in the examples below.
Examples of LDS Church Callings:
Some callings of the LDS Church in local congregations include (but are not limited to):
- Bishopric (includes Bishop, and two Counselors)
- Elders Quorum Presidency
- Relief Society Presidency
- Sunday School Presidency
- Single Adult Representative
- Young Men's Presidency
- Young Women's Presidency
- Primary Presidency
- High Priest Group Leader
- Teacher Development
- Music Chairperson
- Ward Clerk
- Executive Secretary
- Membership Clerk
- Finance Clerk
- Ward Mission Leader
- Ward Missionaries
- Ward Librarian
- Ward Bulletin Editor
There are many
other LDS Church callings, including LOTS of teachers in all of the auxiliaries and organizations.
See the article, "LDS Church Presidents
," to learn about the Latter-day Prophets (called Presidents) and Apostles.