Top 10 busiest ward callings

Bishop was ranked the most time consuming calling in a survey of three local bishops. (Stock photo by

Bishop was ranked the busiest calling by three local bishops. (Stock photo by

Working a full-time job will keep you busy. Having a family will keep you busier. And if you also volunteer — or, more specifically, serve in a demanding church calling — at the end of the day, there isn’t enough time in the day.

All callings are important, but they aren’t the same when it comes to taking up space on the calendar. Even though it’s difficult to quantify the “busiest” ward callings, we asked three local bishops to rank the top 10. (Maybe our survey is one reason “bishop” tops the list of busiest ward callings — everyone wants a piece of his time.)

  1. Bishop
    The Church’s “Handbook 2” puts it best: “The bishopric has responsibility for all ward members, organizations and activities.” All three bishops we interviewed agreed on this one, citing both the sheer number of hours spent in meetings — one accounted for 18 hours spent in council, not including other responsibilities — and the emotional energy required to watch over the spiritual welfare of  ward members.
  2. Relief Society President
    All three bishops listed Relief Society president as the second-most busy calling in a ward, mostly because the nature of her calling demands a great deal of spiritual energy.“(Busy) is hard to quantify because there are two parts to it — time and effort,” said Michael Jensen, bishop of the North Park 2nd Ward in the North Park Stake in Provo. “The Relief Society president’s time commitment is not necessarily more than the bishop’s counselors, but her calling is very spiritually taxing. She cares for those who are struggling the most temporally and, often, spiritually. Her time spent is like a spiritual concentrate — more potent and powerful, but also very taxing.”
  3. Bishopric Member
    The bishop’s counselors, executive secretary and ward clerks serve alongside the bishop in most of his responsibilities, sharing in the workload of attending meetings and counseling with other ward leaders.
  4. Young Women President
    The Young Women president’s calling is focused on a smaller portion of the ward than previously mentioned callings, but her responsibility to plan activities every week and oversee Sunday instruction makes her calling one of the most time-consuming. She is ultimately responsible for  Girls Camp, Youth Conference, mutual activities, youth dances, firesides and other activities.
  5. Young Men President
    The Young Men president’s calling is similar to the Young Women president’s, but his responsibilities overlap  with others in the ward. While the Young Women president oversees the 16- and 17-year-old Laurel class, the bishop has responsibility for the equivalent priests quorum. The Scout leader also helps the Young Men president with activity and camp planning.
  6. Elders Quorum President
    Of the 10 callings on the list, Elders Quorum president was one of two that brought back the most drastically different responses — it was ranked third, seventh and eighth, landing it in sixth place on average.
  7. Scout Leader
    Bruce Miller, bishop of the Cedar Hills 6th Ward in the Cedar Hills West Stake, noted that scout leader and Young Men president are similarly administered and thus comparable in overall time commitment. “They essentially are one and the same,” he said.
  8. Ward Mission Leader
    Just as mission needs are different from ward to ward, this calling received different rankings depending on the area of Utah Valley where the bishops lived. In general, though, the ward mission leader — who coordinates member missionary work in the ward — has a less demanding calling in areas with a high concentration of Latter-day Saints, including much of Utah County.
  9. High Priest Group Leader
    Like the Elders Quorum president, the High Priest group leader’s level of responsibility varies from ward to ward depending on the size of the group and the delegation he receives from the bishop and others.
  10. Primary President
    Along with Elders Quorum president, Primary president brought the most disparity in responses among the bishops, bringing in votes for fourth, ninth and 10th.

When all is said and done — and calendared — the quantity of time spent in a calling isn’t the best measure of a person’s quality of service, discipleship or conversion.

“I have seen many members give many hours in their callings,” said Ed Carter, president of the Provo Central Stake. “It is heartening for me to see all the good that is done. When it comes down to it, I consider that a disciple of Christ already has committed to dedicating his or her life to service, so the amount of time in a calling is not the critical thing.”


Breanna Olaveson worked in the magazine industry before taking her writing from full-time to nap time with the birth of her first daughter. Her work has appeared in the Ensign, Liahona and New Era magazines, as well as Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley BusinessQ, Utah Valley Bride and the Provo Daily Herald. She lives in Utah county with her husband and three children. She blogs at


  1. Avatarmarcia Reply

    Having served as a RS, YW and Primary president I can say from my experience that the Young Women’s President is by far the busiest. Since a bishop has never been a Relief Society or Young Women’s President I doubt he has any idea the amount of time required or how busy it is unless he has been married to one. Having a husband that has been in the bishopric, a bishop, and a stake president I can tell you that being a member of the bishopric ranks at the lower end of the top ten. But as stated at the end of the article it is best measured by the person’s quality of service, discipleship and conversion.

  2. Avatarheartwings Reply

    Bishops are a poor source to have rank busiest callings. They have little idea how much time people spend on what they consider low ranking callings. I’ve known some people who spent more time than an entire bishopric all put together on giving service in their callings. This article is very poor indeed. The real work of the church is done by workers, not meeting holders.

  3. AvatarPalmetto Reply

    I’m not sure how seminary teacher managed to escape this list. Maybe the list would be better labeled “Top 10 busiest Utah ward callings”.

  4. AvatarBrent Reply

    It has nothing to do with how much more work you think you are doing than your brother or sister, but rather how willingly you impart of your time to the building of the Kingdom.Did you not covenant to do that? At the end of the day you need to account to the Lord for your time. can you imagine trying to Justify your actions by comparing yourself to someone else – I am sure that will work out well for you. Good luck with that plan.

  5. AvatarPhil Reply

    When the Handbook has been reviewed and the leadership principles applied correctly the work load shifts by delegation from the Bishop to the Quorum and auxiliary leaders. The amount of time would depend on the size and composition of each ward and commitment level of the leaders.

  6. AvatarAaron Reply

    My wife was Primary President in a ward with 170 kids and 40+ adults serving in her organization. I’d rank that much higher in her case. Keeping callings filled, preparing sharing time, training teachers, visiting kids, dealing with parent/teacher (adult) drama, cub scouts, achievement days, nursery, baptisms, etc. took a lot of time. More than my stints as EQP or YMP.

    1. AvatarJoAnn Reply

      My daughter has served as both Ward and Stake Primary President, so I know Aaron ‘s list is valid, but most PP also have good-sized families. Besides caring for her home and family, she is/was helping her children with science fairs mission preparation, wedding planning, helping at the arrival of new babies Besides all that, it became necessary for her to seek full-time employment. Perhaps Primary President should be rated in the top three.

  7. AvatarMark Halgren Reply

    I know this was written for the Wasatch Front contingent, but the busiest calling in the church is Early Morning Seminary Teacher. Five lessons per week, lesson planning, recordkeeping, and training meetings. Nothing else even comes close, including Bishop.

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