Lesson 2: The Calling of a Deacon

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 4–6


Objective

Each young man will understand the duties of a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood and will desire to magnify his calling as an Aaronic Priesthood holder.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    Prepare a diagram of a football or soccer play, showing the position and movement of each player.

Suggested Lesson Development

Duties of a Deacon

Situation and discussion

Present the following situation:

A policeman is walking down the street at night. He hears a loud crash and looks over just in time to see a man smashing the large glass window of a jewelry store. The man begins filling a large sack with valuable rings, watches, and gems.

  • What would you expect the policeman to do in this situation? (To arrest the man.) Why? (Because it is the policeman’s duty to help maintain law and order.)

  • How would you define duty? (A responsibility that one has, an obligation, or something a person should do.)

Explain that just as a policeman has specific duties to perform as an officer of the law, a deacon also has specific duties and responsibilities as a holder of the Aaronic Priesthood.

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 107:13–14. Suggest that the quorum members underline this scripture.

  • What are two of the great purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood? (To administer the “outward ordinances” of the Church and to prepare young men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.)

  • What is an “outward” ordinance? (Outward ordinances refer to basically temporal or physical ordinances, such as blessing and passing the sacrament and baptizing.)

Explain that this lesson will discuss how a deacon’s responsibilities fulfill the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. Although the majority of the deacon’s duties are temporal, these temporal duties help prepare young men to perform spiritual ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood, such as administering to the sick and bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost. Each Aaronic Priesthood holder, whether a priest, teacher, or deacon, should understand the duties of a deacon to be able to magnify his calling.

Chalkboard and discussion

Write the following on the chalkboard: Duties of a Deacon.

  • What are the duties of a deacon?

List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard. Responses could include most of the following:

  1. 1.

    Gather fast offerings.

  2. 2.

    Pass the sacrament.

  3. 3.

    Serve as the bishop’s messenger.

  4. 4.

    Care for the grounds and physical facilities of the church.

  5. 5.

    Assist in service projects or welfare assignments as assigned by the bishop.

  6. 6.

    Watch over the Church and act as standing ministers (see D&C 84:111).

  7. 7.

    Be involved in missionary and reactivation efforts (see D&C 20:58–59).

  8. 8.

    Assist teachers in all their duties as needed (see D&C 20:53, 57).

  9. 9.

    Give talks in Church meetings.

Read the list and discuss the importance and value of each act of service in building God’s kingdom.

Quotation

Have a young man read the following remarks by President Spencer W. Kimball, who considered it a great honor to perform his duties as a deacon:

“I remember when I was a deacon. … I thought it was a great honor to be a deacon. My father was always considerate of my responsibilities and always permitted me to take the buggy and horse to gather fast offerings. My responsibility included that part of the town in which I lived, but it was quite a long walk to the homes, and a sack of flour or a bottle of fruit or vegetables or bread became quite heavy as it accumulated. So the buggy was very comfortable and functional. We have changed to cash in later days, but it was commodities in my day. It was a very great honor to do this service for my Heavenly Father; and though times have changed, when money is given generally instead of commodities, it is still a great honor to perform this service” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 117; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 79).

Ask the young men to think about each of the following questions without responding aloud.

Thought questions

  • Do you consider it an honor to fulfill your priesthood duties and responsibilities?

  • When you pass the sacrament, do you make sure you are dressed appropriately and are reverent and dignified?

  • What understanding could make gathering fast offerings an enjoyable duty?

Working as a Team in Accepting Responsibility

Diagram and discussion

Hold up the football- or soccer-play diagram so that all members of the quorum can see it. Allow them to study it for a moment.

  • What is this diagram that I am holding up?

  • What is it used for? (To tell each player what his assignment for that particular play is.)

  • What will probably happen if one of the players does not perform his assigned duty? (The play will most likely not be successful; each player has an important assignment that must be performed in order for the play to work.)

Explain that all teams must have proper organization in order to be successful. Whether it is a football team or a priesthood quorum, each member has specific duties and responsibilities. Some of the duties of a deacon require a team effort with other priesthood offices.

  • What would happen if the deacons in a ward would not pass the sacrament? (They would fail to fulfill their responsibilities; therefore, other priesthood holders would have to be called upon to perform the deacons’ responsibilities.)

Quotation and discussion

Have a young man read what Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told about his responsibilities as a deacon.

“I remember so clearly being ordained a deacon. A new world opened up for me. I was now living on a higher plane. As I would hear people say, ‘You hold the priesthood,’ it was not easy to fully comprehend. But with humble teachers, we began to understand that as deacons we had been given blessings and authority to do sacred things.

“As quorum officers we accounted for all of our members and would see that they were all at church. We enjoyed being together. We chopped wood for the elderly and the widows, filled the coal bins at church, cleaned the meetinghouse every Saturday afternoon, swept the steps, raked the gravel yard, saw that the sacrament trays and … sacrament cloths were clean and fresh, and had real pride in the appearance of our little meetinghouse” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, p. 58; or Ensign, May 1981, p. 42).

  • What duties might young men do today that would help them magnify their callings as Elder Haight did? (Clean the sacrament trays, pick up old printed programs or papers in the chapel before or after sacrament meeting, pick up trash around the church grounds, weed the church grounds, perform service projects, and help others.)

Quotation

Explain that Bishop H. Burke Peterson of the Presiding Bishopric stressed the importance of performing priesthood duties. Read the following quotation:

“The priesthood we hold as young men and older men is the authority to perform our duties in the same way the Savior would if he had our individual responsibility” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, p. 99; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 70).

Express your feelings about this statement and encourage the young men to express themselves. You might also ask the bishopric for specific ideas to help the quorum plan a service project within the ward.

Conclusion

Testimony

Testify that as we magnify our callings as Aaronic Priesthood holders and perform the duties and responsibilities that are expected of us, we will notice a change. We will have a good feeling in knowing that we are serving others, including the Savior. Holding the Aaronic Priesthood is no small thing. Much is expected of someone who holds the Aaronic Priesthood.

Challenge

Challenge quorum members to remember that they are serving the Savior when fulfilling their priesthood duties and to perform their duties to the best of their ability with the dignity and reverence that the Savior would want them to show. Explain that as the young men fulfill their priesthood duties worthily, they are performing Christlike service. Remind them that they are entitled to great blessings associated with the priesthood. However, these blessings are received only as they magnify their calling by performing their duties and responsibilities.