Recently we have suggested a three-fold focus for leaders working with Aaronic Priesthood holders: “Be with them,” “connect them to heaven,” and “let them lead.”
The quorum presidency meeting is essential to fulfilling each of these three purposes. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once said that his mission president gave him a helpful insight about a challenge we face in working with the youth: “We underestimate their ability, and we overestimate their experience” (Worldwide Training Broadcast on Teaching in the Savior’s Way, Nov. 5, 2016, teaching.lds.org).
The quorum presidency meeting provides an opportunity for leaders to help young men gain experience that will prepare them to develop their leadership abilities. The Aaronic Priesthood is the preparatory priesthood, and presidency meetings are an important way for young men to prepare to lead and serve.
Presidency meetings provide experiences and opportunities
As a presidency, we and our board members visit Aaronic Priesthood quorums each week. It’s generally pretty easy to tell if a presidency meeting has been held. When a member of the quorum presidency conducts from a prepared agenda, makes relevant announcements, presents well thought-out plans for activities, and makes assignments so that all get an opportunity to serve — all of this without multiple interruptions from the adviser — then it’s a good bet that there has been a presidency meeting recently.
A well-organized quorum meeting is pleasing to the Lord. He has said, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:119).
Some might worry that regular presidency meetings are too much to ask out of young men. However, Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “If youth are too underwhelmed, they are more likely to be overwhelmed by the world. Functionally, how many deacons and teachers quorum presidencies consist of merely calling on someone to offer prayer or pass the sacrament? Brethren, these really are special spirits, and they can do things of significance if given a chance!” (“Unto the Rising Generation,” Ensign, Apr. 1985, p. 11).
The presidency meeting gives young men an opportunity to lead their quorum to do significant things.
Aaronic Priesthood quorum leaders who are taught and mentored in presidency meetings are less casual in the way they conduct and lead the quorum meeting. Conversations are less likely to wander onto worldly topics. A good quorum leader counsels with his brethren and keeps the discussions in the quorum meeting focused on priesthood purposes (see Doctrine & Covenants 107:85–87), inviting the Spirit of the Lord into the meeting.
When quorum leaders speak and act in the name of Jesus Christ, focused on priesthood purposes, the Holy Ghost will be their constant companion and inspire them as they act in love with clean hands and a pure heart (see Doctrine & Covenants 121:45–46). Such experiences prepare young men fulfill the responsibilities of a missionary, a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, a husband, a father, and a Church leader with greater priesthood power.
Guidelines for presidency meetings
Handbook 2, 8.9.3 gives guidelines like the following about quorum presidency meetings:
• They should be held regularly.
• The bishop regularly attends and presides over the priest quorum presidency meeting.
• The deacons quorum and teachers quorum presidents conduct their presidency meetings, and they preside unless a member of the bishopric is present.
• Quorum advisers and secretaries also attend.
• Secretaries take notes and keep track of assignments.
The handbook lists items that may be included in the quorum presidency meeting agenda. Generally speaking, in presidency meetings, plans are made and organized, helping the quorum “to act for themselves and not to be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:26).
Christ, the Perfect Example
As the end of His earthly ministry approached, the Savior focused on teaching and mentoring His apostles to prepare them to carry on His work. He did this in the most intimate and personal way. He counseled them to love one another as He had loved them. He taught that they must be one as He and the Father are one.
He explained that they needed to count the cost of discipleship, that it wouldn’t be easy, that they must be in the world but not of the world. He taught that the servant was the greatest of all. He taught that they must live what they teach. He taught that keeping the commandments shows love for Him and that as they did what He taught they would come to know it was true. He taught that charity is the motivation for service. He taught the parable of the talents, showing that men who use their talents in service to Him gain more talents to serve. He called them His friends rather than servants. He said that in His father’s house are many mansions and that He was going to prepare a place for them, and where He was going they could come also. He taught them that in His absence He would send the Holy Ghost as their companion to teach them all things. He gave His life for His friends. And finally, He commanded them to feed His sheep.
Christ was the perfect mentor. The principles He taught can be shared with the Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidency and applied to strengthen quorum meetings. As we mentor our quorum presidencies we must remember that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He is our Savior, our Leader, and the Example we follow in mentoring these special young men. Let us act in His name and bear His priesthood power honorably as we teach the young men their duty.