“Key Concepts,” Ensign, Sept. 1987, 75
In the June 28 leadership training videoconference, Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve outlined eleven key concepts that will help Church leaders “focus on those things that matter most, and … use the flexibility which is available … in carrying them out.”
These concepts will help leaders understand this flexibility, which, when “properly used, can truly build the kingdom numerically and spiritually,” said Elder Maxwell.
We do not need new programs, new organizations, or new meetings. We do need a new focus on the mission of the Church.
President Harold B. Lee said, “There is no new organization necessary to take care of the needs of this people. All that is necessary is to put the priesthood of God to work.” (Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 104.)
Bishops should utilize much more effectively all Melchizedek Priesthood manpower in the ward. In particular, in wards where high priests are available, bishops should assign much of the work with prospective elders and their families, including home teaching, to high priests. Utilizing high priests is proper, because they have been given an assignment in the scriptures in “qualifying those who shall be appointed” to leadership callings. (D&C 124:134; see also D&C 107:12.)
More attention is to be paid to advancing adult male converts so that they can become active members of elders quorums and not remain prospective elders. Then they can become home teachers rather than the head of another family to be taught by an already too-small supply of home teachers. We surely should have learned by now that the failure to ordain usually means the failure to retain.
Full-time missionaries are to continue with new converts for several weeks, overlapping stake missionaries to see that these individuals are fully committed to the Church and receive appropriate Church callings. They should also ascertain that adult males receive the Aaronic Priesthood.
Stake missionaries are to assist with the friendshipping and fellowshipping of prospective converts and new converts. Especially skilled, mature couples should be called as stake missionaries.
On a selective basis, the wife of a high priest or of a mature, active Melchizedek Priesthood holder may accompany him when he makes his home teaching visits to those who need special attention, such as single sisters. This may be counted as a home teaching visit. Do not generalize this practice so that parents of young children are taken away from their families.
Home teaching efforts should be concentrated on those who need them most. The more active and fully participating families may not require the same attention as those with special needs.
Stake presidencies may request their Area Presidency (who, in turn, may receive approval from the Quorum of the Twelve) to utilize full-time missionaries in a limited way to teach, for conversion, carefully selected less-active brothers and sisters in order to establish a more adequate leadership base in a unit.
Greater flexibility is now being given to stake presidents to use the three stake priesthood leadership meetings, as needed, in accomplishing the mission of the Church. For instance, they could train bishops to function more effectively as presiding high priests.
Ward training meetings may be held, as needed, during the regular priesthood meeting time following opening exercises. This time is for the bishop to train the priesthood in their duties.
The ward priesthood executive committee should meet weekly. This represents a change in policy. Without meeting every week, this vital committee cannot oversee the purposes of proclaiming the gospel, strengthening the less active, and increasing temple activity.
“The measure of our success is how many have really ‘come unto Christ.’ The adverse indicators are how many are unbaptized, unordained, unendowed, unsealed, unnourished, uninvolved, and unrighteous. There is plenty for us to do together. In fact, we cannot do the Lord’s work effectively unless we do it together,” said Elder Maxwell.
“We must start from where we are, because conditions differ around the world. Yet the process will always be the same as we work together, in unity, to carry out the mission of the Church.”