“Modifications of Meetings and a New Form,” Ensign, Sept. 1987, 76–77
During the leadership training conference on June 28, some modifications of policies were introduced to help leaders more effectively reach members.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve announced that the ward priesthood executive committee should now meet weekly.
“It is felt that the priesthood executive committee cannot fulfill the purposes of proclaiming the gospel, strengthening the less active, and increasing temple activity without meeting every week,” said Elder Wirthlin.
In this meeting ward leaders can review progress and present plans to help ward members “come unto Christ.”
“The mission of the Church should be the major emphasis of every committee meeting,” said Elder Wirthlin.
The bishop, working through the priesthood executive committee, may now assign to the high priests much of the responsibility for activating less-active members. “This arrangement will make wise and more effective use of the great high priests quorums and groups in the Church, many of which have been underused,” said Elder Wirthlin.
The bishop and high priests group leader should ensure that members of the high priests group are given specific assignments and follow guidelines in the Melchizedek Priesthood Handbook.
“For example, home teaching efforts should be concentrated on those who need them most. More-active and fully participating families may not require the same attention and effort as those with special needs.”
When the bishop is trained to use the priesthood executive committee effectively, he can better utilize the Melchizedek Priesthood resources in his ward to reach members who need attention but who do not require an interview with the bishop, said Elder Wirthlin.
Training priesthood leaders more effectively is essential to implementing the mission of the Church, said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Nelson announced modifications in content of two meetings.
From now on, the stake president is to use the quarterly stake priesthood leadership meeting as his personal opportunity to teach and train priesthood leaders in the stake.
“Stake presidents may hold the usual departments or, on occasion, invite only the bishops to attend one of the meetings, or only the high priests, or all of the Melchizedek Priesthood leaders, and have them assembled together in one group for the entire meeting,” said Elder Nelson.
“Through this training, sights should be lifted beyond present programs and practices to focus sharply on our real mission—to save souls. That will happen when each president of [each] stake truly becomes its spiritual shepherd.”
“The second change is that the regular ward weekly priesthood meeting following opening exercises may now be used by the bishop for training purposes,” said Elder Nelson.
This is to be done as often as necessary for effective priesthood training. The schedule and substance of these meetings should be flexible enough to allow for needs that vary greatly throughout the world.
For these training meetings, stake presidents and bishops should prepare lessons focusing on the mission of the Church primarily from the scriptures and from the General Handbook of Instructions. Conference talks by the General Authorities and other relevant material may also be used, and stake presidents and bishops may invite other ward leaders to help them reach specific training objectives.
These training meetings should allow other priesthood leaders to experience their stake president and bishop as ministers to the flock and not solely as administrators, said Elder Nelson.
“The work in which we are engaged is to save souls,” he said. “People—real people—are our purpose and our prize.”
In order to help leaders be more aware of the spiritual progress of individuals, the Church is introducing a supplemental information form as part of the Ward/Branch Activity Report and the Stake/District Activity Report.
Although the information will be used at Church headquarters for minor evaluating purposes, its primary purpose is “to help local leaders focus their attention and efforts on key events in the lives of individuals—events that indicate they are making progress in becoming worthy of the blessings of the temple,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.
The forms ask leaders to report the number of convert baptisms during the quarter, the number of adults and youth who started attending meetings, and the number of members who have not been endowed.
This information is to be used by stake presidents and bishops to evaluate and plan for the members in their care.
“They should prayerfully consider the information in the report and take appropriate action. It will be important to know the names and circumstances of the individuals represented by the statistics. The purpose of this information is to draw attention to the needs and circumstances of individuals,” said Elder Ballard.
“Local leaders should meet with clerks and secretaries as soon as possible to determine how this information will be collected,” he said. “Generally, the clerk can complete the top sections of the supplement. The presiding priesthood leader should complete the bottom section. The supplement should be completed at the end of each quarter and submitted with the Activity Report.”
Leaders should remember three key points in using the form:
Information from the supplement can help them evaluate their unit’s success in accomplishing the mission of the Church.
They should know the names and circumstances of the individuals represented by the statistical information.
They should use the information to help them plan and correlate resources to help the individuals represented by the numbers.