Home Teaching and the Aaronic Priesthood
A great blessing for teachers and priests in the Aaronic Priesthood is to be companions with Melchizedek Priesthood holders as home teachers. These young men have the opportunity to learn from experienced priesthood holders as they literally fulfill their duty “to watch over the church” (D&C 20:53).
Melchizedek Priesthood holders have the responsibility to be home teachers. In this assignment, they are responsible not only for the families they are assigned but also for the young men given them as companions. By actively including young companions in home teaching and following through with assignments and opportunities for service, they help young men grow spiritually, better understand the gospel, and perform the work of the priesthood. As Aaronic Priesthood bearers visit homes and feel the Spirit, they also gain a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Lord said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:16, 17). Part of the learning process as young men prepare to go to the temple, serve missions, marry, and become fathers is developing a sense of caring about others through serving the Lord’s flock. By faithfully attending to his home teaching duties, a young man learns to put service to others above himself. By being willing to care for others, he also experiences the Light of Christ in his own life. Such service helps nurture testimonies and gives young men experiences they can draw upon as missionaries.
An Aaronic Priesthood holder can prepare for this service each month by reading the message from the First Presidency in the Liahona or Ensign and discussing it with his senior companion, making appointments for visits, considering the needs of the families to be visited, accepting assignments to teach part of the discussion, and offering prayers in members’ homes.
First Sunday Quorum or Group Meetings
On the first Sunday of each month, quorum and group leaders should teach priesthood bearers their duties and help them “to act … in all diligence” (D&C 107:99). Leaders should not delegate this responsibility to others.
Planning for the first Sunday instruction can be done in presidency or group leadership meetings. In considering topics for instruction, leaders should review the needs of quorum members, their families, and others for whom the leaders are responsible. In first Sunday meetings, leaders should help quorum members become better husbands, fathers, and sons who are actively engaged in accomplishing the mission of the Church.
The booklet Melchizedek Priesthood Quorum Instructions (item no. 35553) provides practical suggestions for first Sunday instruction. For example, these instructions provide suggestions for topics such as “Using the Priesthood to Strengthen Family Members,” “Strengthening Members through Home Teaching,” and “Helping New Members Feel Welcome.” If a quorum or group leader does not have a copy of these instructions, he should contact the stake or district for a copy.
Each suggested topic could be the basis for one or more first Sunday meetings. Leaders may be flexible in adapting and combining the suggested topics to meet the needs and circumstances of their quorum or group members.
As they teach, leaders should remember that part of their calling is “to sit in council” (D&C 107:89) with those they lead. Leaders can fulfill this responsibility in several ways, including inviting quorum or group members to report on priesthood assignments or committee work, discussing the quorum’s or group’s goals, demonstrating how to fulfill basic priesthood responsibilities, and inviting members to share their feelings about different aspects of the first Sunday topic.
In summary, through first Sunday instruction, leaders help each quorum and group member “learn his duty, and … act in the office in which he is appointed” (D&C 107:99).