Handbook 2:
Administering the Church


3.2 Principles of Gospel Leadership


Prepare Spiritually

The Savior commanded Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). When leaders are converted and are growing spiritually, they can help others become converted and grow spiritually.

Leaders prepare themselves spiritually as they keep the commandments, study the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets, pray, fast, and humble themselves before the Lord. With this preparation, they are able to receive inspiration to guide them in their personal lives, their family responsibilities, and their callings.


Participate in Councils

In councils, leaders meet under the direction of presiding officers to discuss ways to help individuals and families. Guided by the Holy Ghost, they work together to determine effective ways to serve members of their organizations. Some examples of councils in the Church are the ward council, the stake council, bishoprics, and quorum and auxiliary presidencies. For guidance on participating in councils, see chapter 4.


Minister to Others

Like the Savior, leaders seek to minister to individuals and families, both spiritually and temporally. They care about each person, not just about managing an organization. They reach out to new members, less-active members, and those who may be lonely or in need of comfort.

    The purpose of ministering is to help others become true followers of Jesus Christ. Ministering to others includes:
  • Remembering their names and becoming acquainted with them (see Moroni 6:4).

  • Loving them without judging them (see John 13:34–35).

  • Watching over them and strengthening their faith “one by one,” as the Savior did (3 Nephi 11:15; 17:21).

  • Establishing sincere friendship with them and visiting them in their homes and elsewhere (see D&C 20:47).

In addition to being caring neighbors and good citizens, members of the Church also have specific assignments to serve individuals and families as ministering brothers and sisters (see 7.4, 9.5).


Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ

All leaders are teachers. Effective teaching inspires people to strengthen their relationship with God and live according to gospel principles.

Leaders’ most powerful teaching comes from their personal example. Leaders also teach by sharing their testimonies and conducting doctrinally based discussions in leadership meetings, classes, and activities. They teach from the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets. They know that “the preaching of the word … [has] more powerful effect … than the sword, or anything else” (Alma 31:5).

In addition to teaching the gospel themselves, priesthood and auxiliary leaders are responsible for the quality of learning and teaching in their organizations. They ensure that teaching in their classes is meaningful, edifying, and doctrinally sound.

For additional guidance on teaching the gospel and overseeing efforts to improve learning and teaching, see 5.5.


Administer the Priesthood or Auxiliary Organization

Leaders are most effective in their efforts to strengthen others when they follow the Church’s established guidelines. Guidelines for administering priesthood and auxiliary organizations are found in chapters 7–12.