Read the previous article for an account of what inspired these leaders to host Wood Badge in the first place. This article covers the stake presidency’s goals for the Wood Badge course:
Maria: As you worked toward this specific course, what were your goals and objectives for the leaders that came? What were you hoping they’d get out of it after your experience with Wood Badge?
President Doman: One of the designs of Wood Badge is that you come together as one big troop—Troop 1. Inside that troop, ideally you’d like to have eight separate patrols. Those patrols are led by troop guides. Our hope was that these troop guides would be in positions of leadership, maybe a bishop, and each patrol could have a keyholder and a Wood Badge-trained troop guide. We weren’t able to get there all the way, but we got close to having most of our bishops Wood Badge trained, some of whom were able to serve as troop guides.
We felt like if the bishop—the keyholder or leader—was able to serve as a troop guide, why not put his family in his patrol. We felt the benefits of coming out of Wood Badge with ward-based training and ward-based patrols (meaning all of Bishop Anderson’s patrol comes from his ward). What started happening is they couldn’t fit them all into one patrol, so all of a sudden we have twelve participants from one ward and now we’re having to find places for all of them to go because the bishop is going and he’s asked them to participate with him.
The benefit for this bishop is that he’s able to spend six days going through leadership development, and all the reflection time, all the personal revelation time, and group revelation time provided them an opportunity to create their own ward values, their own patrol values, create their own vision and then have this mission in place that they were creating this week. Then each individual person would create their five tickets. And these five tickets would be some individual-based, but very much central to their stewardship.
Now think of eight to twelve individuals from one ward creating five tickets each; now you’ve got sixty tickets being created from one ward to now go back and implement that vision and the actual work and labor that was going to get done. So that’s the vision—that we would have sixty, eighty-five members coming home now with tickets and a broader vision of how we would then utilize the Scouting program and truly integrate that into the preparatory priesthood, the Aaronic Priesthood, as it is to be utilized as the activity arm. As a program, it creates methods for us to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring souls to Christ. That would be what I would say was our desire and vision.
President Thayer: Can I share one thought that came to me, and I think it’s an important one if people are looking at this and want to talk about doing this on their own. I don’t think this course, for us, would have been successful if President McFarland and the entire presidency weren’t in it and leading. There are people who came to this and would say openly and honestly, I came because the stake presidency asked me to come. And they have had hearts change. They’ve borne testimony of that. They came just because they were asked to come. And if the stake presidency isn’t all in, I don’t see how it would really work. I mean, sending a counselor to do this and then come back, I just don’t think you can. I think the stake president has to go through Wood Badge and then they have to lead Wood Badge if you really want change. That’s just my opinion.
President McFarland: The only thing I would add is that in working with Scouting, understanding the vision that Brother Pack has, as, what’s his title again? Scout Executive. You see, we’re not Scout fluent yet. But Brother Pack being in our stake Young Men presidency and coming in to talk to us, he understands and he was very helpful in this process.
The Scout executives have been so supportive; Brother Pack saying over and over and over, this is priesthood keys-led, so what does that mean? How does that go? It means they’ve been open to ideas and thoughts and things that we’re trying to accomplish. Just aligning the patrols by ward. That doesn’t happen, and there’s a reason for group dynamics not to do that. But we felt that the reasons to put a ward together outweighed those other group dynamics. Those kinds of things they’ve been flexible with and have worked with us.
We already understand that there are some things we would change for the next one. Of course, it’s a process. But they’ve been great to work with and I’m even understanding greater what priesthood keys-led means. We are gospel focused up here the entire time. We’re using scriptures, there’s testimony, we’re being edified as we’re going through this training. Every leadership theory and every education theory and every motivational theory in the world falls short because they can’t acknowledge the spirit of God, and we brought that in to all of these leadership trainings.
President Doman: Absolutely. Our stake and the Church collectively are working so hard on teaching the Savior’s way and implementing Come, Follow Me and we’re deficient in knowledge and ability to do that. It’s a Herculean effort to train all of us how to do it effectively and Wood Badge provided that opportunity. We felt like we could bring some gospel-centric teachings in there in a Come, Follow Me method. So the discussion that occurred, rather than the stand and preach from the pulpit method we’re trying to get away from, provided 10-15 members of our stake the opportunity to instruct and then duplicate multiple times what that Come, Follow Me method was to look like, so it felt pretty effective.
Upcoming articles will cover how the North Field Stake Presidency saw their goals realized through the members of their stake.
Interested in hosting your own stake-sponsored Wood Badge course? Contact John Gailey.
Authors: Pleasant Grove North Field Stake Presidency