An Assembly of Home Ministers

by Priest Joshua R. Turner

Volume 19, Number 2, Man/Jun/Jul/Aug 2018 Issue No 75

In late February, the Aaronic priesthood, along with
the Bishopric and several branch presidents, gathered
for our annual assembly. Just before Thanksgiving, the
Bishopric had come to the Aaronic quorum presidents
with the idea of having the Aaronic men plan and lead
the assembly from their own ranks. Volunteers were
recruited in the November quorum meetings, and
we then set about planning a weekend of classes and
fellowship with home ministry as the central theme.


Home ministry is a core part of the Aaronic ministry.
We did not want to just teach on the subject; we also
wanted to give the men practical experience. From the
earliest outlines of a schedule, we intended to spend
Saturday afternoon giving both the experienced and
the inexperienced the chance to grow and learn in a
hands-on manner. Calls went out, and several of the
local saints eagerly responded to the opportunity to
have the priesthood in their home and facilitate this
endeavor.


Following the guidance in Doctrine and Covenants
R-154:4b that "...established family altars must be
in place," we made family altars the focus topic for
our visits and geared our classes and discussion in that
direction. To kick the classes off, Priest Ben Tims led
the presentation and discussion on the origins, purpose,
and importance of home ministry, dubbed "Home
Ministry 101." This class was held Friday night, taking
the bulk of the evening to just begin scratching the
surface of the depth and breadth of this ministry. It was
followed by a short worship service.


Saturday morning, we dove back into our classes,
focusing the first session solely on the intended visit
topic of family altars. Priest Joshua Turner led this
class, then proceeded straight into the next session to
cover specific home ministry skills, including ministry
to the bereaved and stewardship topics. Having had
little break between the two marathon sessions, the
assembly broke from their classwork for a gathering
with President Frederick N. Larsen, who gave guidance
and counsel on various aspects of our ministry as
Aaronic priesthood.


Following a brief break for lunch, classes resumed
with a two-part session revolving around conducting
home ministry itself. Brothers Tims and Turner
covered setting up visits, entering the homes, decorum,
and interacting with the saints. This then segued into
Bishops Richard Paris and Andrew Romer presenting
on communication styles, including skits directed
by the feedback of the attendees, to help them better
understand how their new knowledge would play out
in a practical sense.


Armed with the knowledge of the various classes, the
men were then paired off for the main, most important
part of the weekend: going out into the homes. They
built their ministry outlines, followed up with the prearranged
homes to be visited to make sure things were
still on, and then set out to conduct their ministry.
Following their ministry, they returned to report on
what they had learned and share advice they had for
their brethren.


It was incredibly gratifying to hear from the returning
priesthood that every home visited already had a
family altar. More gratifying still was the warm and
encouraging reception each of the men had received
from the saints and the newfound or renewed
enthusiasm they had for this aspect of their ministry.
This vigor of both the priesthood and membership was
then carried into the Center Place-wide service held on
Sunday where home ministry participants (priesthood
and families) related their testimonies of the joy,
blessing, and inspiration of the weekend's activities.


One weekend was too short a time for all the fellowship
and learning we desired to experience, but it is still
not an experience we would trade for the world. The
Aaronic priesthood now stand taller and stronger,
ready to bring our ministry to the homes of the saints,
recognizing the call in Doctrine and Covenants Section
R-156:3a that "The time is even more urgent than
ever before for the quorums and orders to more fully
magnify their callings." We humbly ask the saints'
continued prayers and support as we endeavor to do
just that.