Leaders serving unitedly wield strength

Promote free discussion

Foster greater service- Focus combined effort

The genius of Church government is government through councils, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve said Sunday afternoon.

"God called a grand council in the pre-mortal world to present His glorious plan for our eternal welfare," he explained. "The Lord's Church is organized with councils at every level, beginning with the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and extending to stake, ward and family councils."

He said general Church councils function much the same as stake and ward councils in many respects. "All councils in the Church should encourage free and open discussion by conferring with one another and striving to have clear, concise communication. Councils should discuss objectives and concerns, with mutual understanding being the ultimate goal."

He said he had been told by the presidencies of the women's auxiliaries that "very few women in the Church express any interest in wanting to hold the priesthood. But they do want to be heard and valued and want to make meaningful contributions to the stake or ward and its members that will serve the Lord and help accomplish the mission of the Church."

As an example, he quoted Sister Elaine L. Jack, general president of the Relief Society, as saying: "You know, Elder Ballard, the sisters of the Church may have some good suggestions on how to better prepare the youth for missions if we were just asked. After all, you know, we are their mothers!"

Elder Ballard said that leaders acting unitedly create "spiritual synergism, which is increased effectiveness or achievement as a result of combined action or cooperation, the result of which is greater than the sum of the individual parts."

He gave some suggestions for greater effectiveness with families and in Church callings:

Focus on fundamentals. "Those who teach must make sure the doctrine remains pure and that it is taught."

Focus on people. "Spend most of the time in council meetings reviewing the needs of individual members. In doing so, confidentiality is critical."

Promote free and open discussion. "Leaders and parents should establish a climate that is conducive to openness where every person is important and every opinion valued.

Participation is a privilege. "With that privilege comes responsibility - responsibility to work within the parameters of the organization, to be prepared, to share, to advocate vigorously the position you believe to be right. But just as important is the responsibility to support and sustain the final decision of the council leader, even if you do not agree fully."

Lead with love. Priesthood is for service not servitude; compassion, not compulsion; caring, not control."

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed