Purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood
Our Heavenly Father has given you a sacred and choice opportunity to serve young men. You have the responsibility to help them understand the purpose and magnificence of the Aaronic Priesthood. As a Young Men leader, you assist parents and priesthood leaders in watching over and strengthening young men. Your influence will have eternal consequences for the young men, their families, and many others they will serve as they learn to honor and magnify priesthood callings.
"I testify that you will feel your heart changing as you become a faithful priesthood man. You will seek to be completely clean and administer the sacrament worthily. You will treat every young woman with kindness and respect. You will honor your parents. You will avoid offending the Spirit in what you think, say, or do. You will come to know the Lord, whom you serve, and you will ever strive to be like Him.
"I testify that your faithful service in the Aaronic Priesthood will change the lives of those you serve. There are people who need your priesthood service. Your family needs you. Your quorum needs you. The Church needs you. The world needs you.
"There is an urgency for you to fulfill your duty to God. I am confident that you will.
"On a cold morning a few weeks ago, I jogged along the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal. I came to a monument dedicated to the Portuguese explorers from centuries past. I stopped as the sun rose and splashed its warm light on the imposing monument and on me. I was inspired as I looked at the determined faces of the explorers gazing out over the water. These were men who were willing to do things that very few had done. They left a familiar and comfortable world and courageously went out into the unknown ocean and discovered new lands. They changed the world.
"I see you when I think of that monument of courageous explorers. I see you on a personal journey that few in the world today choose to pursue. I see you fulfilling your duty to God.
"I pray that we may all understand the magnificent Aaronic Priesthood and trust, as God does, those who bear it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen" ("The Magnificent Aaronic Priesthood," Ensign, May 2010, 54-56).
You have been called of God by revelation, and you are entitled to personal revelation in ministering to young men and performing duties associated with your calling. Prepare spiritually so you can receive this revelation and set an example for the young men. As you consider your spiritual preparation, follow the example of Jesus Christ. Before He began His ministry, the Savior retreated to the wilderness to fast and to pray (see Matthew 4). As part of your spiritual preparation, study the scriptures with a focus on young men and the Aaronic Priesthood.
- Learn about preparing yourself spiritually in Handbook 2: 3.2.1.
Minister to Each Young Man
It is important to remember that Jesus Christ cares about each of us individually. Likewise, your ministry should focus on watching over, being sensitive to, and striving to retain each young man one by one. Your success in influencing each young man will increase as you develop a personal interest in his life, act upon the spiritual promptings you receive, and have Christlike love for him.
- Learn about ministering to the young men in Handbook 2: 3.2.3.
Understand the Purpose of Quorums
As you serve the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, you will have the opportunity to teach them the important purposes of a quorum. Quorums serve others, build unity and brotherhood, and instruct members in doctrines, principles, and duties. In order for a quorum to function properly, leaders and advisers must recognize that the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood are held by the bishop and the presidents of the teachers and deacons quorums. It is important to teach young men about these keys and allow them to use their keys.
- Learn about priesthood keys in Handbook 2: 2.1.1 and 8.3.
- Learn about serving others in Handbook 2: 8.1.3 and 8.7.
- Learn about building unity and brotherhood in Handbook 2: 8.1.2.
- Learn about teaching doctrines, principles, and duties in Handbook 2: 3.2.4, 5.5, and 8.1.1.
- Learn about Sunday gospel instruction in quorums in Handbook 2: 8.11.
Administer the Young Men Program
The Church has provided programs and materials to bless the lives of young men. These materials include the Duty to God program, standards in For the Strength of Youth, Mutual and Scouting activities, and leadership training for young men. Learn more about:
- The Duty to God program (Handbook 2: 8.12).
- Instructions for advisers and parents (Fulfilling My Duty to God, pages 93-102).
- The For the Strength of Youth standards (Handbook 2: 8.10).
- Activities (Handbook 2: 8.13).
- Ways to teach leadership skills and qualities (Handbook 2: 8.14).
- The Scouting program (Handbook 2: 8.13.4).
As a Young Men adviser, you will be asked to participate in councils. The purpose of councils is to edify one another and to address the needs of the young men and their families. It is important to teach quorum presidents their responsibility to "sit in council" (see D&C 107:85-87).
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: "This is the miracle of Church councils: listening to each other and listening to the Spirit! When we support one another in Church councils, we begin to understand how God can take ordinary men and women and make of them extraordinary leaders. The best leaders are not those who work themselves to death trying to do everything single-handedly; the best leaders are those who follow God's plan and counsel with their councils" (in "Counseling with Our Councils," Ensign, May 1994, 26).
- Learn about the purpose of councils in the Church in Handbook 2: 3.2.2.
- Learn about the ward council in Handbook 2: 4.
- Learn which councils you should participate in as a Young Men leader in Handbook 2: 8.9.
Help Young Men Serve Now So They Can Prepare for Future Service
Young Men advisers help young men prepare for missionary service and for their future roles as worthy husbands, fathers, and priesthood leaders by helping them engage in Aaronic Priesthood service now.
"To young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught-that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty-an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary or institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel."