“Lesson 23: Conducting Meetings and Interviews,” Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B (2000), 201–7
“Lesson 23: Conducting Meetings and Interviews,” Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B, 201–7
The purpose of this lesson is to help us conduct effective meetings and interviews.
Nephi tells us that after Christ visited America, the Nephites “did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord” (4 Nephi 1:12).
What meetings do we attend in the Church? Why do we have meetings?
Display a poster of the following list, or refer to the information on the chalkboard:
To be effective, meetings must accomplish a definite purpose. Leaders should conduct meetings with order and dignity, encourage participation from those attending, and provide for evaluation and follow-through.
A meeting is effective when the purpose for which it is held is achieved. This requires planning.
An important aid in planning is an agenda. An agenda is a list of things to be done in the meeting and of those who are to participate. Agendas allow meetings to be presented clearly and effectively. To make an agenda, we must think through what we want to accomplish and then write those objectives down in order of importance so that the most important items are considered first.
What could we include in an agenda? (List the suggestions on the chalkboard. An example of an agenda for family home evening is at the end of this lesson.)
A short preparation meeting may be held before some meetings such as sacrament and baptismal services. In it the agenda is reviewed with those who will be participating, and a prayer may be offered to ask for the guidance of the Spirit.
The Lord tells us, “It always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit” (D&C 46:2). When we pray to have the Holy Ghost in our meetings and then act accordingly, the Holy Ghost will be present and help us accomplish the purpose of the meeting. Moroni wrote of the Nephites, “Their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done” (Moroni 6:9). Much of this inspiration will come before the meeting as we prayerfully prepare an agenda.
When we conduct meetings, we should set a proper example by being clean, well groomed, and appropriately dressed. We should avoid unnecessary talk and maintain dignity.
Willing, prepared participants make meetings more effective. We should ask the Lord to help us be receptive to the instructions, training, and business of Church meetings. We should go with a desire to participate, learn, and accept the assignments we are given. We should prepare ourselves to participate under the influence of the Holy Ghost.
After a meeting we should evaluate its effectiveness. Our evaluation could include questions such as these:
Was the purpose of the meeting accomplished?
Could we have made better preparations?
Did we cover all the items on the agenda?
Was there a good spirit in the meeting?
Did the participants understand their assignments and how to accomplish them?
By analyzing our answers to these questions, we can determine how to improve future meetings.
Show visuals 23-a, “Priesthood interviews encourage good relationships,” and 23-b, “Effective interviews promote the Lord’s work.”
Interviews also require special preparation. An interview can accomplish many purposes. It can be used to (1) gather information, (2) deliver information, (3) counsel and motivate, (4) call people to positions, (5) receive reports of stewardships, (6) teach principles and doctrine, or (7) determine worthiness. Because leaders frequently conduct interviews, we should know some basic principles for conducting Church interviews:
Schedule the interviews, and provide sufficient time to conduct them in a dignified, unhurried manner.
Pray to have the Spirit and the power of discernment during the interviews.
Hold them in a place that is quiet and comfortable and allows privacy.
Give full and sincere attention to the individuals. Show a genuine interest in them.
Help them feel comfortable and at ease by being kind and calm.
Make sure they understand any questions we ask.
Keep the interviews on the subject.
Let the individuals know we are available for help.
Keep personal information confidential, and assure them we will do so.
Our sincere efforts to listen to the members we interview will help them resolve their concerns. This means trying to understand their concerns and then helping them arrive at decisions for which they feel responsible. They must commit themselves before they can change for the better.
President N. Eldon Tanner explained:
“It is important that those we interview realize that they are spirit children of God and that we love them, and let them know that we love them and are interested in their welfare and in helping them succeed in life. …
“Remember, the interview is based on consideration, on sympathy and love. This is so important. Let the people know we love them and are only trying to help them” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1978, 59–60; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 41–42).
The purpose of the Church is to bring souls to Christ, and meetings and interviews can help us do this. Meaningful and profitable meetings and interviews, however, do not just happen. They must be planned, conducted, and evaluated with specific purposes in mind. The Lord says:
“I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.
“And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me—
“That inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom which ye have received” (D&C 43:8–10).
The better we plan and conduct meetings and interviews, the more others will be inspired to live God’s laws and commandments.
Fathers: Organize and plan an agenda for your next family home evening so you can teach your family the gospel more effectively.
Priesthood leaders: Follow the suggestions in this lesson when given responsibility for conducting meetings and interviews.
All priesthood holders: Prayerfully plan your week. Write an agenda that helps you do what the Lord wants you to do.
Chorister: (name of family member to be chorister)
Opening song: (name of hymn or Primary song)
Opening prayer: (name of family member to give prayer)
Family business: (conducted by head of household)
Musical number: (name of family member to give musical number)
Lesson from Gospel Principles manual: (name of family member to present lesson)
Discussion and planning for coming week
Closing song: (name of hymn or Primary song)
Closing prayer: (name of family member to give prayer)
Enjoyable activity: (name of family member assigned)
Refreshments: (name of family member assigned)
Before presenting this lesson:
Prepare the poster suggested in the lesson, or write the information on the chalkboard.
Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.