8.3 Ward Aaronic Priesthood Leadership
This chapter focuses on administering Aaronic Priesthood quorums in a way that will strengthen individual young men and their families. Aaronic Priesthood leaders frequently review chapter 3, which outlines general principles of leadership. These principles include preparing spiritually, participating in councils, ministering to others, and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this chapter, the term quorum leaders refers to the deacons quorum presidency, the teachers quorum presidency, and the bishop and his assistants in the priests quorum. The members of the Young Men presidency are quorum advisers, not quorum leaders.
The bishop oversees the Aaronic Priesthood quorums in the ward. He and his counselors comprise the bishopric and the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood in the ward (see D&C 107:13–15). They watch over and strengthen individual young men, working closely with parents and with other leaders.
The bishop is the presiding high priest in the ward. He is also the president of the priests quorum (see D&C 107:87–88). In a branch, the branch president acts as the president of the priests quorum.
In the leadership of the priests quorum, the bishop serves with two assistants, both of whom are priests. Although the bishop delegates many responsibilities to his assistants, he serves personally and actively as quorum president. He promotes a spirit of love and unity in the quorum. He regularly attends and presides over quorum presidency meetings and Sunday quorum meetings. He participates in quorum service and activities. In his absence, he designates one of his assistants to assume quorum leadership responsibilities. When a bishop is released, his assistants are also released.
The bishop interviews young men who are preparing to be ordained to the office of priest.
Bishop and His Counselors
The bishop assigns one of his counselors to oversee the deacons quorum and the other counselor to oversee the teachers quorum. These counselors promote a spirit of love and unity in the quorums. They attend quorum presidency meetings and Sunday quorum meetings as often as possible. They also participate in quorum service and activities.
With assistance from quorum advisers, the bishop and his counselors teach leadership skills to quorum leaders and help them fulfill their responsibilities.
The bishop assigns one of his counselors to oversee the ward Young Men organization under his direction. This counselor discusses Young Men matters regularly with the ward Young Men presidency. He reports on these discussions in bishopric meetings.
The bishop interviews each young man at least annually. If possible, he interviews each 16- and 17-year-old twice annually. If this is not possible, he assigns a counselor to conduct some of these interviews. Six months after each young man between the ages of 12 and 15 has his annual interview with the bishop, he has an interview with the counselor in the bishopric who oversees his quorum. For guidelines on youth interviews, bishops and their counselors may refer to Handbook 1, 7.1.7.
The bishop or an assigned counselor interviews young men who are preparing to be ordained to the offices of deacon and teacher.
The bishop and his counselors assign teachers and priests to serve as home teachers.
The bishop or an assigned counselor interviews the deacons quorum president, the teachers quorum president, and the priests quorum assistants regularly. In these interviews, the bishopric member and the quorum leader discuss the progress of individual quorum members and the progress of the quorum as a whole.
The bishop and his counselors recognize each young man in sacrament meeting when he advances from Primary to the Aaronic Priesthood, when he is to be ordained to an office in the priesthood, and when he has completed the Duty to God program.
The bishop and his counselors oversee Scouting where it is authorized by the Church (see 8.13.4).
The bishop calls and sets apart the Young Men president. He may assign his counselors to call and set apart counselors in the Young Men presidency, the Young Men secretary, assistant quorum advisers, and others who serve with the young men.
The bishop calls his assistants in the priests quorum. He or an assigned counselor calls deacons and teachers quorum presidencies and quorum secretaries. Members of the bishopric counsel together prayerfully to determine whom to call to these positions. They do not select leaders merely because of age or seniority in the quorum. The bishop and his counselors may consult with members of the ward Young Men presidency as they seek inspiration about whom to call.
When a member of the bishopric calls a young man to serve as a deacons or teachers quorum president, he asks that young man to recommend whom to call as counselors and a secretary. The bishopric member counsels the quorum president to approach this responsibility prayerfully, seeking guidance from the Lord about whom to recommend. However, the bishopric member also helps the quorum president understand that final responsibility to receive inspiration on whom to call rests with the bishopric.
A member of the bishopric seeks permission from a young man’s parents before asking him to serve in any of these callings.
After extending these callings, a member of the bishopric presents the quorum leaders for a sustaining vote in their quorum meeting. Then the bishop or an assigned counselor sets the young men apart. The bishop sets apart his assistants in the priests quorum. He also sets apart the deacons quorum president and the teachers quorum president because only he can give them the priesthood keys of their callings. He may assign his counselors to set apart counselors in deacons and teachers quorum presidencies and quorum secretaries.
A member of the bishopric announces these callings in sacrament meeting but does not ask for a sustaining vote.
Quorum Presidencies and Assistants to the Bishop in the Priests Quorum
Aaronic Priesthood quorum leaders “sit in council” with quorum members, “teaching them the duties of their office” (see D&C 107:85–86). They seek inspiration in fulfilling their responsibilities. They also receive instruction and guidance from the bishopric and quorum advisers. Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidents hold the priesthood keys to direct the work of the quorums over which they preside. Counselors in the deacons and teachers quorum presidencies and assistants to the bishop in the priests quorum do not hold priesthood keys.
Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies and assistants to the bishop in the priests quorum watch over and fellowship quorum members and other young men of quorum age. They give special attention to those who are new members or less active and those who have disabilities or other special needs. Quorum leaders strive to develop love and brotherhood among quorum members.
Aaronic Priesthood quorum leaders provide quorum members with opportunities for priesthood assignments, leadership experiences, and spiritual growth.
They hold regular quorum presidency meetings.
They conduct Sunday quorum meetings.
They help plan quorum activities, including Mutual.
They help quorum members set and accomplish goals in the Duty to God program.
On occasion, they may give gospel instruction in Sunday quorum meetings, with help from quorum advisers.
The deacons quorum president, the teachers quorum president, and one of the priests quorum assistants serve on the bishopric youth committee (see 18.2.9).
Quorum secretaries have the following responsibilities:
They compile and review attendance information and submit it to the Young Men secretary.
They consult with quorum leaders to prepare agendas for presidency meetings. They attend these meetings, take notes, and keep track of assignments.
They may help quorum leaders and advisers plan activities.
Ward Young Men Presidency (Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Advisers)
The ward Young Men presidency consists of a president and two counselors. They serve as advisers to the Aaronic Priesthood quorums. They work under the direction of the bishopric. They also receive orientation and ongoing support from the stake Young Men presidency.
Ward Young Men President
The Young Men president has the following responsibilities:
He serves as a member of the ward priesthood executive committee and the ward council. As a member of this committee and council, he participates in efforts to build faith and strengthen individuals and families (see chapter 4). He is also a member of the bishopric youth committee (see 18.2.9).
He teaches other Young Men leaders their duties, using this handbook as a resource.
He oversees the records, reports, budget, and finances of the ward Young Men organization. The Young Men secretary helps with this responsibility.
Ward Young Men President and His Counselors
The Young Men president and his counselors serve as Aaronic Priesthood quorum advisers. The president is the adviser to the priests quorum, the first counselor is the adviser to the teachers quorum, and the second counselor is the adviser to the deacons quorum. They have the following responsibilities:
They guide Aaronic Priesthood quorums in fulfilling their priesthood duties.
They get to know each young man and become familiar with his talents, interests, and challenges. They look for ways to strengthen young men individually, help them grow in their testimonies, and encourage them to participate in their quorums. They give special attention to young men who are new members and young men who are less active.
They support each young man in his family.
They help young men work toward the objectives listed in 8.1.3. This includes helping them set and accomplish goals in the Duty to God program.
In response to some assignments given in priesthood executive committee and ward council meetings, they may work with quorum presidencies to organize service committees.
They may counsel with parents and priesthood leaders about the needs of young men.
They regularly teach lessons in Sunday quorum meetings, though they may share this responsibility with assistant advisers. They oversee efforts to improve gospel learning and teaching in the quorums. In these efforts, they follow the principles in 5.5.3 and 5.5.4.
They attend Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidency meetings and provide guidance as needed. They help the bishopric teach leadership skills and qualities to quorum presidencies and priests quorum assistants (see 8.14).
They work with quorum leaders to plan and carry out quorum activities, including Mutual activities.
They help the bishopric and quorum leaders build quorum unity.
They hold Young Men presidency meetings. They also meet regularly with the counselor in the bishopric who oversees the Young Men organization.
Where Scouting is authorized by the Church, members of the Young Men presidency are generally called to serve as Scout leaders, but they may be called to serve as assistant Scout leaders (see 8.13.4).
Ward Young Men Secretary
The Young Men secretary has the following responsibilities:
He consults with the Young Men presidency to prepare agendas for presidency meetings. He attends these meetings, takes notes, and keeps track of assignments.
He instructs quorum secretaries and oversees their work in keeping quorum attendance records. At least quarterly, he compiles attendance information, reviews it with the Young Men president, and submits it to the ward clerk.
He ensures that the bishopric and the Young Men presidency are aware of young men who are not attending meetings regularly and young men who will soon be eligible to be ordained to another office in the priesthood.
He may be assigned to record the progress of individual young men as they participate in the Duty to God program.
He helps the Young Men presidency prepare an annual budget and account for expenses.
Assistant Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Advisers
The bishopric may call assistant quorum advisers to help the Young Men presidency with their responsibilities. Assistant quorum advisers may teach some of the lessons in Sunday quorum meetings. They may also assist with activities, including Mutual.
Where Scouting is authorized by the Church, assistant quorum advisers are generally called to serve as assistant Scout leaders, but they may be called to serve as Scout leaders (see 8.13.4).
The bishopric may call men as coaches for Young Men sports teams. The coaches serve under the direction of the Young Men presidency. For information about sports programs, see 13.6.21.