By Bishop Richard O. Paris II
Volume 18, Number 2, April/May/June 2017 Issue 71
As was noted in the previous issue of The Hastening Times, the Aaronic priesthood gathered for the Aaronic Priesthood Assembly the weekend of February 23rd to 25th. While the last article conveyed some of the content and goals of the gathering, we feel it is worthwhile to share additional information to convey in more detail the enthusiasm and success of the weekend.
The attendees were “on fire” after a weekend of increasing love, mutual concern, practical learning, and collective brainstorming! What a blessing to see so many priesthood smiling and sharing experiences as we worked together to discover how to build the kingdom in real and physical ways as we reach out to others.
We looked at many different aspects of how the Creator made us individually for service. To assist in our own understanding of our particular gifts and talents, we spent time assessing and discussing how we communicate and how our approach to thinking affects us and those with whom we come in contact.
Communication Styles – Do you ever wonder why you connect easily with some people, but find it more difficult to connect with others? We worked through our personal communication styles and tried to learn how to identify communication styles of others. If we understand our own and other’s communication styles, we can be more effective at establishing rapport and trust. When we have more effective communication, we can have deeper, more meaningful relationships.
Whole Brain Thinking – Everything we do starts with our brain and how we were made. The way we think, react to others, make decisions, communicate, choose careers, manage people, and raise our family starts with our preferred ways of thinking. Some of us focus on facts; others look for relationships. It is helpful to understand our own brain profile; and so to do that, we used a well-researched profile measure known as the Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI). The NBI exercise helped us to understand our individual general thinking, skills, and leadership preferences. The understanding of our preferences was discussed to help us discover ways to work together as a team, serve our church membership better, and help with decision making processes.
Advocating for Your Brother – This was one of our favorite classes. Christ came to earth as an advocate for every soul ever created. We have a responsibility to follow his example and to be an advocate for our brothers and sisters in our walk through life. Many of us long to reach our children, grandchildren, and friends so they can worship the Lord with us at church. We explored creative ways by which we could reconnect with them and share our love of the Lord and the gospel. From text messaging and Facebook posts, bicycling dates, or meals with widows, we brainstormed many ideas of ways to connect with others.
Advocating for Your Brother – Brainstorming Ideas
• Grow a presence on Social Media
• Home visits from Aaronic priesthood
• Bicycling group for fun, fellowship, and health
• Advertise our events to promote our beliefs and church
• Try to have events we can invite non-members to outside of Sunday and Wednesday services
• Find ways to have JOY in service and fellowship
Personal Mission Statements – Jesus was crystal clear in his mission when he said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…” (John 14:6), and, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
When we understand our own mission, it crystalizes the activities in which we should be engaged and even drives our motivation for the activities that fill our individual lives. Developing our personal mission statements was a big highlight of the retreat, and it was amazing to see how quickly the priesthood of all ages crystalized their individual mission statements. After writing his, Brian Williams noted, “I am actually going to use this in my Aaronic moment and tie it in to my sermon Sunday.”
To help kick things off, Richard Paris II shared his personal mission statement: To serve, enthuse and inspire, with joy, devotion and integrity, those who seek to be free. He then coached the others to craft their own. We invite you to read, meditate upon, and enjoy the mission statements prepared by the men of the Aaronic priesthood. It is so inspiring to see the hearts’ desires of the priesthood put into words. Here are a few examples:
To engineer, dream, and believe with honesty, belief, and ethics for the glory of God. – Brian Williams
To live my life as a sacrifice, that the Lord may illuminate my mind with truth and wisdom, so I can nurture those who desire to be awakened and claim their inheritance in the kindom of God. – Alex Vun Cannon
To ascend into the heart of God, to heal what is broken, and safeguard the truth. – Ben Tims
To inspire, encourage, and excite all to seek and follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through study, prayer and fasting. – Rick Terry
To serve, nurture, and prepare, with love, humility, and zeal, all those who seek to follow God’s will. – Don Evans
To support, drive, and encourage, with compassion, those who wish to follow the path. – Parker Tibbitts
To dream, excite, and inspire with ambition, happiness and love, to lead those to the light and joy of Christ and life. – Nathan Paris
To love, heal, and empower with the Truth of Jesus Christ, all those who seek freedom from the sin suffering of this world! – Alex Tibbitts