“Watching over the Church,” New Era, Feb. 2005, 30
If they hold the priesthood, boys in their early teens are given a very important assignment—the assignment to watch over the Church.
These young men must be amazing, you might say, to be given such an important assignment. And, in fact, they are. Teachers in the Aaronic Priesthood are given the assignment to “watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them” (D&C 20:53).
As members of a teachers quorum, worthy young men are called to strengthen the Church as they participate in Church and community service, home teach the members of their ward, and prepare the sacrament with reverence and respect.
For the teachers in the Iowa City Second Ward, Iowa City Iowa Stake, these responsibilities are an exciting part of their everyday lives. They strive to be worthy holders of the Aaronic Priesthood and to magnify their callings to the office of teacher.
These young men have found that serving is easy when they are always looking for ways to help. For example, Brandon Stewart was glad to shovel his neighbor’s walks after a big snowstorm, and Ryan Hunter recently enjoyed the chance to help a family pack for a move.
These young men also have fun serving as a quorum. They can’t help but smile when they remember Christmas caroling at a home for families with children in the hospital. “I was a little nervous to go at first,” explains Brandon. “But after the first song I felt a lot better, and my favorite part was when they thanked us afterward.”
Home teaching is another way these young men serve. Each member of the teachers quorum works with a senior companion. This senior companion is their father or another Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the ward.
Josh Tryon has learned a lot from his senior companion. Josh admires how well he prepares the lesson and how willing he is to help the families they teach. “Through watching the example of my home teaching companion, I have learned how to be a better person and how to someday be a Melchizedek Priesthood holder,” Josh explains.
“The first time I went home teaching, I was really nervous about what I would have to say to the families,” admits Ryan Hunter. “I was glad when I only had to give the closing prayer.” But after just a couple months of home teaching, Ryan wasn’t nervous anymore. Now he looks forward to going. “My favorite part is talking to the people and learning more about them and how we can help them,” says Ryan. “If it were not for home teaching, people might not ask for help, even when they really need it.”
One of the most important parts of a successful home teaching visit is preparing and sharing a lesson. Every other month Brandon Stewart gives the lesson. Brandon has learned how to prepare a lesson by watching his senior companion, his father. Thanks to his dad’s good example, giving the lesson is Brandon’s favorite part of home teaching.
To prepare his lesson, Brandon starts by reading the First Presidency Message in the Ensign. He picks the parts he thinks may help the family he will be teaching. He then adds his personal experiences and feelings about the topic and concludes his lesson just as his father does, by bearing his testimony.
Along with home teaching, members of a teachers quorum also have the opportunity to serve by preparing the sacrament each Sunday. In the Iowa City Second Ward, the teachers are given rotating assignments of either preparing the sacrament before the meeting or putting the trays away after the meeting.
Before Nate Rideout was a teacher, he admits he wasn’t too concerned about getting to church on time. But now things are different. When it is his month to help prepare the sacrament, Nate makes sure he gets to church 30 minutes before sacrament meeting begins. “The sacrament is the most important part of the meeting,” explains Nate. “I know I can’t be sloppy when I prepare the sacrament, because it is a sacred ordinance.” Nate is grateful for the opportunity he has to reflect upon the importance of the sacrament as he carefully sets out the trays and fills the cups with water.
By faithfully serving neighbors, ward members, and their Heavenly Father, these young men have felt their testimonies of the gospel grow as they watch over the Church.