The Savior taught a principle that can bless Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies: “For which of you,” He said, “intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28).
You may not normally think of “counting the cost” as part of a presidency meeting, but consider this: planning first, or counting the cost, enables a presidency to know what will be needed to achieve its goals, and that empowers the entire quorum to work together.
“We don’t hold meetings just to hold meetings,” says Landon O. of northern Utah, USA, who serves as first assistant to Bishop Brock W. Hill, the president of the priests quorum. “We have in mind what we’re trying to do, and then we figure out what it will take to do it.”
Landon and others serving in Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies in his ward are strengthening their quorums by holding effective presidency meetings.
Presidency meetings provide a great opportunity to discuss the new youth curriculum, Come, Follow Me.
“We look at the outlines for the month and talk about them with the other priests—what do they want to know, what do they have questions about,” says Brandon L., the second assistant in the priests quorum. “Then in presidency meeting we talk with our advisers and decide what would be best to learn as a quorum.”
The teachers and deacons quorums do the same. “We’re not just being told what to learn; we’re all helping each other to learn,” says Colton V., the first counselor in the deacons quorum presidency.
Another purpose of presidency meetings is to organize the quorum to reach out to those who are struggling or who aren’t as involved as they could be.
“We look at who’s having a hard time or who’s not coming to church, and we try to focus our weeknight activities around them,” Landon says.
The presidency also visits quorum members. For example, Brandon says, “We had some priests that hadn’t been able to make it out for a while, so after our meeting we went to their houses and asked, ‘Hey, are you all right? Did we say something that offended you?’ We got them involved again by letting them know we’re there for them.”
Dylan S., the second counselor in the deacons quorum, regularly reminds the presidency to encourage the deacons to invite their friends to activities. Then Dylan leads by example—he’s invited three different friends to quorum and Scout activities, and they have each attended.
Presidency meetings always include a discussion of opportunities to provide service. “As we plan activities, we look for ways to help anyone we can,” says Andrew B., the first counselor in the teachers quorum presidency.
“We always try to remember that holding the Aaronic Priesthood means doing more than just coming to church on Sunday,” says Mason M., the teachers quorum secretary.
Presidencies gather and pass along ideas from quorum members, who may be aware of individuals in the ward who need service, and adult leaders remind the presidencies of service activities already planned by the ward or stake.
Presidency meetings can also be a time to evaluate and improve. “We had a sacrament meeting where not too many people showed up, and it was hard to know how to adjust when we were passing the sacrament,” says Bridger O., the deacons quorum president.
“As a presidency,” Bridger explains, we decided that the deacons should talk that through and be prepared if it ever happens again.” The presidency also decided to meet with each new deacon as he comes into the quorum and show him how to pass the sacrament.
By doing such things, the presidency is encouraging the deacons to follow another principle: “Let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence” (D&C 107:99).
Cameron H., the teachers quorum president, says he learns a lot about his duty by going home teaching. In presidency meetings, he often shares what he has learned from his Melchizedek Priesthood companion. “Home teaching is a really good experience,” Cameron says. “It helps us to experience what the priesthood should be doing.”
Just as the Savior did when He was young, the leaders of the deacons, teachers, and priests quorums in Landon’s ward are increasing in wisdom and stature (see Luke 2:52). They are learning to be better leaders, exercise priesthood keys, delegate responsibilities, build testimonies, share the gospel, and prepare themselves and the members of their quorums for a lifetime of service.
“They’re preparing not only for the temple and for missions,” Bishop Hill says, “but they’re also preparing to be righteous fathers in their own homes so they can raise up their own children in the gospel and bring them to Christ.”