Primary’s #1 ongoing challenge – staffing!

 Staffing in Primary click to download this post as a pdf, for sharing with your presidency and priesthood leaders.


We all feel it – “as soon as we get staffed we can ______________” (fill in the blank). After a year or so in the Primary Presidency, you begin to think maybe you’ll never get staffed and stay staffed – and you’re right. Filling the positions to keep Primary running is an ongoing challenge.

As one Primary worker put it: “If a Primary teacher is not present one week it is total chaos. There is no one to sit with the class and an adult has to be brought in while the children wait, likely being irreverent. Then an impromptu, unprepared lesson is thrown together and is likely not very effective.”

Besides, without a consistent teacher, it’s very hard for children to feel at home in Primary. “That’s my teacher!” is the feeling we’re striving for — because it translates into a child feeling secure and loved — and they’re more likely to be able to feel the Spirit in such a setting.

There are things you can do about it besides wait for Primary workers to be called.

1. Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of this church, and callings come from Him. We work in cooperation with other auxiliaries and priesthood leaders. In fact, the peaceful unity in the church we all desire comes as a gift of the Spirit, and we need to all work together to bring that peaceful unity into our wards and branches, so that the Lord may work with all of us to “build the kingdom in righteous ways” (“Army of Helaman”, Children’s Songbook 172).

Jesus said, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

2. Be appropriately persistent with the Lord and with priesthood leaders. Consider the parable of the importuned friend:

“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Luke 11:5-10)

Synonyms for “Importune” are pester, persist, and pursue. You can do your part by continuing to gently but clearly remind the bishopric member of the needs of Primary, and gently but clearly petitioning the Lord in prayer for the children’s needs.

3. Do all that you can.In addition to prayer, here are a few ideas:

  1. Fast as a Presidency for loving, dedicated Primary workers. Invite the bishopric member to join your fast.
  2. Worship in the temple as a Presidency, asking the Lord for loving, dedicated Primary workers. Invite the bishopric member to join you in a temple session for this purpose.
  3. Invite the bishopric member to substitute in Primary as prompted by the Spirit. He will receive the joy that comes from being with the children, as well as see the need more clearly.
  4. Pray for your bishopric. Their demands are great, their challenges many. Express your appreciation and support often.
  5. Expand the pool of available workers in the kingdom through missionary work and lost-sheep-finding work. This is a long-term answer, but brings the Spirit as well as contributes to solutions. All are needed in the kingdom of God, and God pours out special blessings on those who are willing to be His “finders.”

4. Once Primary workers are called, do all that you can to train them, teach them their duty, support them, and appreciate them. See Support and Unity: Primary Appreciation Dessert Night

A quick reminder: Aim for two-deep leadership with couples or two teachers of the same gender in every class, to help with discipline and bathroom breaks.

Know that the Lord loves you, and is anxious to guide you as you care for His precious sons and daughters.  May God bless you in your calling, in your family, and in your life.




Filed under Teacher Support

10 responses to “Primary’s #1 ongoing challenge – staffing!

  1. Pingback: Quick Start Kit for New Primary Presidencies | Primary in Zion

  2. Marci

    Thanking substitutes for their service also makes people feel like Primary is THE place to be! During sharing time in Sarah’s ward, the presidency gives substitutes a package of microwave popcorn with a note, “Thank you for POPPING into Primary today! We appreciate you!” I can imagine that substitutes thus honored would be more likely to want to substitute again, and other ward members might think “yes, Primary *IS* the place to be!”

  3. Kiersten

    Thank you for these words. Just what I needed this week.

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