As an organizational development consultant, I marvel at how perfectly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized. The structure within the Church is exquisitely designed to ensure no one need fail in his or her calling. When implemented as the Lord intended, there are numerous levels of support for Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leaders. Inspired leaders have created a perfect structure of communication, training, and support to ensure you succeed in your leadership role in Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood.
To me one of the most poignant scriptures in the New Testament is found in John 14:18. Prior to Christ’s Atonement He petitions His Father to send the Comforter to his disciples so they will always have His Spirit to support and sustain them. In doing so, Christ says, “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.” The Lord then lovingly declares, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
As an adult leader in Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood you have not been left to fend for yourself as you fulfill your calling. There is a hierarchy of support available to you. When these support roles are fulfilled as designed by the Lord you should never feel comfortless, troubled, or afraid. As shown in the graphic below, there always is someone available to “teach you all things” (John 14:26) and help you in your duties and responsibilities to the young men. Over the next few weeks I will explain each of these roles in the Church hierarchy.
As I have stated numerous times in previous Mac’s Messages, the purpose of Scouting in the Church is to establish within the Lord’s young men a firm foundation in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. LDS Scouting also is designed to achieve the vision and mission of the Boy Scouts of America, which are respectively to “prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law” and to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law” (BSA Mission & Vision). Scouting in the Church also helps achieve the three aims of Scouting—character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. These goals are achieved when LDS Scouting leaders properly implement the eight methods of Scouting within their Scouting programs.
The Scouting unit committee plays a vital role in relieving the heavy burden placed upon the shoulders of Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leaders. The Scouting unit committee is designed to provide the resources necessary to run a quality Scouting program so the Young Men leaders can focus on the boys instead of worrying about the logistics of their Scouting program. In my next blog message I will explain how to ensure you have a high-functioning Scouting committee.
In the temple we are clearly taught how the Lord operates on a system of return and report. We see this pattern repeated at the ward level in priesthood executive committee meeting, ward council, and personal priesthood interviews. Scouting leaders report to the ward Young Men presidency. The ward YM presidency is supported by members of the bishopric. The bishop typically oversees the priests and the Venturing program. Generally his first counselor supports the teachers and Varsity Scouts while his second counselor assists the deacons and Boy Scouts. The ward primary presidency is responsible for the 11-Year-Old Scouts and the Cub Scout program. The bishop assigns one of his counselors to serve as the chartered organization representative (COR), who acts as a liaison with the BSA local council and district.
Members of the stake Young Men presidency serve in a dual training and mentoring capacity within the hierarchy of the Church and as unit commissioners within the Boy Scouts of America. Their role is to help bishops, CORs, ward Young Men presidencies, quorum advisers, and Scouting leaders to be as effective as possible. They should be a vital resource of information, tools, and methods for how to properly implement the Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood programs as outlined in the Church handbooks. They are assisted in their efforts by the high council representative assigned to oversee the Aaronic Priesthood. Both the high council representative and the stake Young Men president report regularly to a member of the stake presidency regarding Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood matters.
Some adult leaders at the local level may not be aware that an Area Seventy is directed to implement an LDS-BSA Relationships committee within each BSA local council. This committee is made up of members of stake presidencies within the council and is either chaired by the Area Seventy or a designated stake president. The purpose of the LDS-BSA Relationships committee is to build relationships between the Boy Scout executives and LDS leaders within the council. They coordinate activities and address the needs of both the Church and the BSA within the council.
The BSA local council and district provide numerous tools, resources, materials, training opportunities, and other programs to help adults become effective Scouting leaders.
Perhaps one of the least tapped support sources are the parents and family members of the young men. In an upcoming message I will explain how to engage and utilize these valuable resources. I also will share examples of how to identify the vast resources available within your “ward family”.
My last message in this series will offer guidance on how to engage and encourage priesthood leaders and parents who may not have yet embraced Scouting as the Lord’s program for his precious young men. I will offer suggestions on how you can help “those in authority” to catch the vision of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As you can see, if each of these support roles is carried out as the Lord intended, you have a plethora of support to make your Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood calling much easier. I humbly invite you to read each of my messages in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully these messages will provide you with the comfort of knowing you are not alone as you endeavor to implement your Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood programs the way the Lord has designed.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you fully understand your Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood role? Are you fulfilling your role as the Lord intended?
- Are you supported in your calling by those in authority over you? If not, have you tried to engage that support through inspired and loving intervention?
- Have you solicited guidance and training from your stake Young Men presidency?
- Are you fully utilizing the parents and family members of your young men, as well as the many resources available from your “ward family”?
- Are you sharing the burden so you don’t have to carry the full load of your Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood program alone?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, . . . and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” (Mosiah 24:14).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.