ON
THE WARD AARONIC PRIESTHOOD COMMITTEE MEETING


A Lesson Given In

WARRENTON STAKE
PRIESTHOOD LEADERSHIP MEETING


By
D. Calvin Andrus
17 April 1997


1. Doctrine

(D&C 107:85-89) And again, verily I say unto you, the duty of a president over the office of a deacon is to preside over twelve deacons, to sit in council with them, and to teach them their duty, edifying one another, as it is given according to the covenants. And also the duty of the president over the office of the teachers is to preside over twenty-four of the teachers, and to sit in council with them, teaching them the duties of their office, as given in the covenants. Also the duty of the president over the Priesthood of Aaron is to preside over forty-eight priests , and sit in council with them, to teach them the duties of their office, as is given in the covenants--This president is to be a bishop; for this is one of the duties of this priesthood. Again, the duty of the president over the office of elders is to preside over ninety-six elders, and to sit in council with them, and to teach them according to the covenants.

[Notice that the duty of the AP Quorum leaders is nearly identical to that of the Elder's Quorum President.]

(Ezra Taft Benson, "Challenges for Leaders of Aaronic Priesthood," Young Men's General Presidency and Board, Salt Lake City, Utah, 19 September 1979, as cited in Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , p.220-221.) We should all be mindful that the impact of the world on our young people today is not only greater than ever before, but it comes much sooner in their lives. Therefore, we have to do our work earlier and with much greater effectiveness. We must do all that is necessary through proper priesthood channels to train these young men -- bearers of a preparatory priesthood-- how to use their priesthood and receive the guidance of the Spirit, so they will be guided in paths of righteousness and be a strength in the affairs of the Church, the community, and the nation in which they live. Young men need to understand that they are now participating in a priesthood apprenticeship . They need to understand that priesthood is the government of God on this earth ; that in His wisdom He has given a preparatory priesthood before one receives the Melchizedek Priesthood. They need to have the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood clearly explained to them so they have impressed on them the importance of keeping their covenants. (See D&C 84:25-27.)

2. Principles

(1991 Aaronic Priesthood Leadership Handbook, page 15.) The Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee meets regularly under the bishopric's direction to review and correlate Aaronic Priesthood matters in the ward and ensure that the individual needs of young men of Aaronic Priesthood age are being met. The committee has the following members: Bishopric; An assistant to the president of the priests quorum; Presidents of the teachers and deacons quorums; Ward Young Men Presidency; Ward Young Mens Secretary.

3. Objectives

The Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee Meeting is the PEC for the Aaronic Priesthood. It is where AP Quorum leaders report their stewardships to the Presiding Priest, just as MP Quorum leaders report their stewardships to the Presiding High Priest in PEC. When administered correctly, the YM presidency does not come between the AP Quorum leaders and the Bishopric. (Neither do they come between the AP Quorum leaders and the members of the Quorum.)

By holding the Aaronic Priesthood Quorum leaders accountable for their stewardships, these leaders will take responsibility for the members of their quorums. Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee meeting is the catalyst that will make the Aaronic Priesthood Quorums work . Not only will Aaronic Priesthood Quorum leaders receive "on the job training" for Melchizedek Priesthood callings, but individual quorum members will have the blessing of life-changing quorum brotherhood experiences that have been directed by the Spirit.

4. Sample Agenda

The Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee Meeting need last no more than 20 - 30 minutes, with the following possible agenda items:

The Deacon's Quorum President reports which Deacons:
1. during the previous month collected Fast Offerings
2. missed more than two quorum meetings in the previous month
3. went on the previous month's camp out
4. missed more than two scout troop meetings
Plus, how many times the Deacon's Q. Presidency meet during the last month and plans they made to remedy problems identified in items 1-4.

The Teacher's Quorum President reports which Teachers:
1. during the previous month collected Fast Offerings with the Deacons
2. missed more than two quorum meetings in the previous month
3. failed to go home teaching during the previous month
4. missed more than two varsity team meetings during the month
5. missed preparing the sacrament more than twice in the past month
6. did not attend 80% of seminary classes
Plus, how many times the Teacher's Q. Presidency met during the last month and plans they made to remedy problems identified in items 1-6.

The Priest's First Assistant reports which Priests:
1. split with the missionaries during the previous month
2. missed more than two quorum meetings in the previous month
3. failed to go home teaching during the previous month
4. missed more than two weekday meetings during the month
5. did not once bless the sacrament in the past month
6. did not attend 80% of seminary classes
Plus, how many times the Priest's Q. Presidency met during the last month and plans they made to remedy problems identified in items 1-6.

The agenda is focused on the individual, not the collective--report names not numbers.

5. Implementation

The Stake AP Priesthood Committee has given the assignment to the Stake YM Presidency to attend the first running of each ward's first Aaronic Priesthood Committee meeting to teach, train, and show how it is done.

6. Comment

Holding monthly Aaronic Priesthood Committee meetings naturally spawns the fulfillment of the doctrine and principles of the Aaronic Priesthood. First, it puts accountability squarely on the shoulders of the AP Quorum leaders where it belongs. Second, it prepares Aaronic Priesthood Quorum leaders to be Elders Quorum Presidents through "on-the-job" training . Third, it focuses attention on the quorum members and their salvation. Fourth, the Quorum Presidencies now have a reason to meet and an agenda to discuss--the plans to solve problems. And, finally, it puts into practice what we know about saving souls: daily, weekly, monthly quorum focus on the individual has a greater impact than a once-a-year high visibility stake activity. The quorum is where the rubber meets the road.

The role of the Ward YM Presidency in this process is to prepare the quorum leaders for the Ward Aaronic Priesthood meeting. This preparation should be done in Quorum Presidency meeting. The YM Presidency should see to it that the Quorum secretary gathers all the data for the Quorum leaders to present in the AP committee meeting. The YM Presidency facilitates Bishopric assignments for Quorum leaders to visit the homes of the quorum members (but sits in the car, while the Quorum leaders go into the house.)

The Ward Aaronic Priesthood Committee meeting should focus on the spiritual progress of the young men and their priesthood duties, not on the weekday activities. Discussion of weekday activities should be deferred to the Bishop's Youth Committee and the Ward AP/YW Committee meeting. In this meeting the quorum leaders should pray over the members of their quorums--name by name.

Finally, the doctrine is clear that the priesthood quorum is the Lord's vehicle for bringing spirituality into the lives of our young men. The doctrine is also clear that quorum leaders have a weighty responsibility for which they are accountable to the Bishop and the Lord. The principle is clear that quorum leaders are to meet with the Bishopric in Aaronic Priesthood Committee Meeting to report their stewardships and receive assignments and instructions from the Bishopric. The content of this meeting is up to the the inspiration of the the Bishopric. The Stake YM Presidency will make suggestions for your consideration. In all cases, however, there are three keys to success: Seek the Spirit; Love the Quorum Members; and, Be Prepared.


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