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Ezra Taft Benson Chapter 19: Leadership starts out with an excellent picture of 3 of the last 4 Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What powerful examples these men have been of excellent leadership. I'm looking forward to studying Howard W. Hunter next year as well. No matter how many times we lead, what leadership positions we hold, or how long we have been a leader; we can always learn more. That's why I love that humility is the first characteristic mentioned in section 2. It's also a striking contrast to many leaders in the world today. Many leaders presume it is they who are the driving force behind all the success they enjoy while as we serve in leadership positions in the church, we can have confidence in knowing that it is the Lord that leads this work and the Spirit that helps give success. I can't help but think about all the "Undercover Boss" episodes and how much those leaders learned by being among those they led instead of being in the office all the time.
"The very foundations of the world were laid by delegated authority." What a powerful tool effective delegation can be! I love how President Benson pointed out, "There were to be no spectators in [Christ's] church. All were to be involved in helping build the kingdom. And as they built the kingdom, they built themselves." Delegation not only helps the leader but helps each one of us as we are called upon to assist in the work. "Jesus aimed to exalt the individual" and delegation was one of the most powerful tools he did this. We need to delegate for ourselves and for others. I appreciate that President Benson points out, however, that delegation needs to be considered with the aid of the Spirit first. That's when delegation works well- when it is right, not when it is simply convenient.
As one who has made my share of mistakes while leading, I appreciate the above quote. As long as we are trying our best and relying on the Lord, there can be no failure. We should still, of course, right our mistakes but the Lord will guide us in His direction and as we listen, all will work out.
- Use the art of delegation as you plan this lesson. Ask someone to do a special musical number; assign out some of the questions beforehand; ask someone to help you lead the class in a great discussion; plan ahead for group discussion leaders. At the end of your lesson point out what you did and how it helped you. Ask your class how your delegation benefited them as well.
- Divide up into groups giving each a leadership trait mentioned in section 2. Have the groups discuss the principles then come up with a leader example they know now or in the scriptures. Have everyone share their example and how he represents that trait.
- There are times in our lives when we lead and others when we follow. Talk about what a good follower needs to have as well (I think the same traits of an effective leader apply here). The Red Headed Hostess as well as SugarDoodle have great handouts to go along with a sustaining your church leaders discussion.
- Start your lesson by listing all the ways we are leaders: Parents, teachers, church leaders, neighbors, home/visiting teachers....
- Need more ideas? Come join our Private Facebook Group where every Tuesday before the lesson, we start a discussion of the chapter and share ideas. This is different than our Facebook Page.
- I recorded a Periscope about more ideas for teaching this lesson last Friday. Thanks to those of you that joined live! If you are stuck, watch the replay of my video here. If you want me to keep doing these videos, let me know in the comments!
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Discover new ideas on incorporating music into your lesson in the post: 10 Ways to Use Music in Your Lesson.
"Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy"- Hymn #335 (Men's Choir)
"Come Along, Come Along"- Hymn #244
"Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd"- Hymn #221
"God of Power, God of Right"- Hymn #20
"Help Me Teach with Inspiration"- Hymn #281
"School Thy Feelings"- Hymn #336 (Men's Choir)
"The Priesthood of Our Lord"- Hymn #320 (Men)
"The Time Is Far Spent"- Hymn #266
"Ye Who Are Called to Labor"- Hymn #321 (Men)
Questions to Ponder
- How much influence do you think a leader's righteous example has? Do you think a negative example has less, the same, or more influence?
- How have you been influenced through your leaders' righteous examples?
- How can you further develop the characteristics mentioned in section 2?
- Why do you think people respond to leadership that has these characteristics?
- In what ways does delegation help build up the kingdom of God?
- How have responsibilities that have been delegated to you blessed your life?
- How does your attitude and actions change as you remember that you are doing the Lord's work and working with His children?
- What experiences have you had as an instrument in the Lord's hands?
Watch: A Quorum President (also known as Dayton's Legs) about 3 minutes
"Tending the Flock: Teaching Leadership Skills to Youth" with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder M. Russell Ballard
"Some Scriptural Lessons on Leadership" by Brother Spencer J. Condie
"To the Bishops of the Church" by President Gordon B. Hinckley
"Follow the Leadership of the Church" by President Harold B. Lee
"Recognizing Righteous Leadership" by Elder Paul E. Koelliker