Often, the most important events in the lives of young people center in having relationships with others who are committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, Latter-day Saint researchers have found that these relationships are critical to deep conversion:
“Young men who have strong, positive relationships with an active LDS family, peers, and leaders, which help them develop a relationship with their Heavenly Father, are most likely to stay active. Specific program elements—such as the Sunday curriculum, YM activity program, and personal achievement expectations … may have little effect independent of those relationships. …The important question is not how completely specific program elements are implemented, but how they contribute to positive relationships that strengthen the religious identity of LDS young men.”
Can you identify an individual in your life who helped anchor you to Christ and His Church? What did they do to help you? Consider writing a letter of appreciation to them.
To the priesthood leader, this means to spend quality time getting to know each young man individually and to ensure time spent together with young men build these positive relationships between both peers and adults.
Personal attention to a young person just beginning to stray may save hours and hours—indeed, years and years—of effort later in our attempt to reclaim that person to activity.
Below are some ways you can foster trusting relationships with the young men you serve and be with them.
Be a Disciple of Christ
- Pray that you will be able to see the young men as God sees them.
- Know and genuinely love them.
- Become familiar with their talents, interests, and challenges.
- Demonstrate kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
Spend Quality Time Together
- Look for ways to strengthen young men individually.
- Real activities with meaningful outcomes are more likely to encourage young men to build close relationships with leaders and with each other.
- Shared spiritual experiences strengthen relationships and promote personal spiritual experiences.
- Give special attention to those who may be struggling.
Ponder These Questions
- Think one by one about the young men you serve. Is there one who stands out who you can help this week?
- What are some ways you can build trusting relationships that will anchor them in the gospel?
- What can you do in the quorum experience and in activities that will promote stronger relationships?
- “He Cared, He Listened” (3:19)
- “Help Others Move toward the Savior” (3:33)
- Henry B. Eyring, “That He May Become Strong Also,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 75–78
- Dale G. Renlund, “Through God’s Eyes,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 93–94
- Russell M. Nelson and Wendy W. Nelson, “Hope of Israel” (worldwide devotional for youth, June 3, 2018), ChurchofJesusChrist.org